Botanical Name:Garcinia indica Linn.
Species: G. indica
Plant Description and Cultivation
Kokum is a tropical evergreen tree, related to the mangosteens. A slender tree with sloping branches, it reaches heights of 15m (50 ft). The thin bark is lined and the leaves oblong. The dark purple fruit is round, about 4 cm (1 1/2 in) in diameter with 5 – 8 seeds. The fruits are picked when ripe, the rind is then removed and soaked in the juice of the pulp and then sun-dried. The kokum is difficult to cultivate, usually growing as solitary trees in a tropical forest environment.
The tree is also ornamental, with a dense canopy of green leaves and red-tinged tender emerging leaves. It is indigenous to the Western Ghats region of India, along the western coast. It is found in forest lands, riversides, and wasteland, and also gets cultivated on a small scale. It does not require irrigation, spraying or fertilizers.
These plants prefer evergreen forests, but some also thrive in relatively low-rainfall areas. Kokum is known by various names across India –including Garcinia indica , Bindin, Biran, Bhirand, Bhinda, Katambi, Panarpuli, Ratamba or Amsol. In the English language, it is known by various names, such as mangosteen, wild mangosteen, or red mango.
The genus Garcinia belonging to the family Clusiaceae includes some 200 species found in the Old World tropics, specially Asia and Africa. Out of the 35 species found in India, 17 are endemic. Of these, seven are endemic to the Western Ghats region (lying along western coastal India), six in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and four in the North-Eastern region of India.
Kokum is a fruit tree, of culinary, pharmaceutical, and industrial uses.
Recently, industries have started extracting Hydroxy Citric Acid (HCA) from the rind of the fruit. HCA is claimed to have fat-reducing properties for the human body. Scientists in India suggests that since this fruit reduced fat, cools the body, purifies the blood and fights cholesterol. Wines and liquores made from it could attract the health-conscious.
Medicinal Uses:Phthisis and skin diseases. External application of oil acclerates healing of ulcers & fissures of lips.
Kokum is dark purple to black, sticky and with curled edges. The fruit is often halved and dried, so that the dried seeds are visible in their chambers like a citrus fruit. It is usually available as a dried rind, resembling a thick plum skin. When added to food it imparts a pink to purple colour and sweet/sour taste.
Bouquet: a slightly sweet and sour aroma.
Flavour: a refreshing sour taste, slightly astringent
Called “kokum” or “bin’na” in parts of western India, the Garcinia indica seed contains 23-26% oil, which remains solid at room temperature and is used in the preparations of chocolates, medicines and cosmetics. It is used as a slightly bitter spice in recipes from Maharashtra(in India) and as a souring agent and substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from Coorg. It is also used in Konkani cuisine, in Gujarat, and some cuisines of South India.
Kokum butter is obtained from the Indian tree Garcinia indica. It is used in skin care products because of its ability to soften skin and heal ulcerations and fissures of lips, hands and soles of feet. Kokum butter helps reduce degeneration of the skin cells and restores elasticity. Use kokum butter is soaps, balms, belly balms, foot care products and other emollient skin treatments.
Kokum has the same souring qualities as tamarind, especially enhancing coconut-based curries or vegetable dishes like potatoes, okra or lentils. Kokum is especially used with fish curries, three or four skins being enough to season an average dish. It is also included in chutneys and pickles. The skins are not usually chopped but are added whole to the dish. Seasoning should be checked as they are quite salty. Beware of biting on a stone as a few are often left in the skins.
Chemical composition / key active constituents
The tree is valued for its dried rind which is rich in acids and possesses marked antiseptic properties.It contains tartaric acid reducing sugars and phosphoric acid (as calcium triphosphate). It Lmits the synthesis of fatty acids in the muscles and liver lipogenesis (production of fat) by inhibiting the enzyme ATP-citrate lyase.The fruits contain 30% acid (calculated as Citric acid) essen- tially (-)-hydroxy-citric acid. Camboginol & camboginare also identified. The resin possesses purgative properties.
There are various products available for obesity and fat control they are generally stimulants which have side effect on central nervous system. HCA on the other hand, works via peripheral mechanism to promote weight loss and assist the bodyâ€™s natural cycle in the liver and elsewhere, there by influencing the metabolism of calories. HCA works by:-
ATP citrate lyase converts, excess calories from food into Fat for storage. HCA binds to enzyme ATP-citrate lyase making it ineffective. If ATP citrate lyase is not present the fat production in body is stopped. No more extra fat storage in body & when body need energy the stored fat gets burned. The calories which are diverted from fat storage got to end some where so glycogen are product and this gets stored in skeletal muscles and the liver.
Appetite Suppressant: A reduction in appetite is never the most import part of fat loss, but certainly can make things easier. In numerous studies, HCA has been shown to reduce the appetite of animal consuming it. HCAâ€™S control of appetite seems to be the result of all the stored glycogen, which is produced. That is when glycogen rises, glucoreceptors in the liver
are stimulated. As regulator, these glucoreceptors send signal to brain via the ragus nerve.Against a very natural way to alter physiology and promote weight loss.
Attributed Medicinal Properties
Called “kokum” or “bin’na” in parts of western India, the Garcinia indica seed contains 23-26% oil, which remains solid at room temperature and is used in the preparations of chocolates, medicines and cosmetics. It is used as a slightly bitter spice in recipes from Maharashtra and as a souring agent and substitute for tamarind in curries and other dishes from Coorg. It is also used in Konkani cuisine, in Gujarat, and some cuisines of South India
As mentioned in the introduction, kokumâ€™s refrigerant properties are well known. It is useful as an infusion, or by direct application, in skin ailments such as rashes caused by allergies. Kokum butter is an emollient helpful in the treatment of burns, scalds and chaffed skin. The fruits are steeped in sugar syrup to make amrutkokum which is drunk to relieve sunstroke.
It decreases the rate of dietary carbohydrate conversion to fat and cholesterol
while increasing glycogen production.
It suppresses appetite thus reducing food consumption
It also potentially increases caloric burning there by elevating the bodyâ€™s
production of heat. It is natureâ€™s answer to weight loss.
Generally, everybody can use HCA in the amount of 1000 mg./3 times a day and about 1 hour before meal.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
- The Priciest Grocery Store Produce (thestreet.com)