Botanical Name:Sandoricum koetjape
Species: S. koetjape
Common Names: Santol or Cotton fruit
Habitat: Santol is native to the Malesian floristic region, but have been introduced to Indochina, Sri Lanka, India, northern Australia, Mauritius, and Seychelles. It is commonly cultivated throughout these regions and the fruits are seasonally abundant in the local and international markets.
The santol is a fast-growing, straight-trunked, pale-barked tree 50 to 150 ft (15-45 m) tall, branched close to the ground and buttressed when old. Young branchlets are densely brown-hairy. The evergreen, or very briefly deciduous, spirally-arranged leaves are compound, with 3 leaflets, elliptic to oblong-ovate, 4 to 10 in (20-25 cm) long, blunt at the base and pointed at the apex. The greenish, yellowish, or pinkish-yellow, 5-petalled flowers, about 3/8 in (1 cm) long are borne on the young branchlets in loose, stalked panicles 6 to 12 in (15-30 cm) in length. The fruit (technically a capsule) is globose or oblate, with wrinkles extending a short distance from the base; 1 1/2 to 3 in (4-7.5 cm) wide; yellowish to golden, sometimes blushed with pink. The downy rind may be thin or thick and contains a thin, milky juice. It is edible, as is the white, translucent, juicy pulp (aril), sweet, subacid or sour, surrounding the 3 to 5 brown, inedible seeds which are up to 3/4 in (2 cm) long, tightly clinging or sometimes free from the pulp.
There are two general types of santol: the Yellow (formerly S. indicum or S. nervosum); and the Red (formerly S. koetjape). The leaflets of the Yellow, to 6 in (15 cm) long, turn yellow when old; the flowers are pinkish-yellow in panicles to 6 in (15 cm) long; the fruit has a thin rind and the pulp is 1/4 to 1/2 in (0.6-1.25 cm) thick around the seeds and typically sweet. The fruit may not fan when ripe. Only the Yellow is now found wild in Malayan forests.
The leaflets of the Red, to 12 in (30 cm) long, velvety beneath, turn red when old; the flowers are greenish or ivory, in panicles to 12 in (30 cm) long; the fruit has a thick rind, frequently to 1/2 in (1.25 cm); there is less pulp around the seeds, and it is sour. The fruit falls when ripe.
However, Corner says that these distinctions are not always clear-cut except as to the dying leaf color, and the fruit may not correspond to the classifications. There are sweet and acid strains of both the Yellow and Red types and much variation in rind thickness.
Sandoricum is a tree of humid tropical regions that grows from sea level to an elevation of 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. It grows better in deep and organic grounds, and with rainfall distributed throughout the year, although it also tolerates long, dry periods. The distance of planting from each other is 20 to 25 feet (6.1 to 7.6 m). It requires fertilization two times a year so it can grow better. Normally, seed trees produce fruit after 5 or 7 years of age, though some cultivars need only 3 or 4. The santol is a very productive tree. A mature tree can produce between 18,000 and 24,000 fruits per year. In Puerto Rico it produces in the months of August and September
The fruit is usually consumed raw without peeling. In India, it is eaten with spices. With the seeds removed, it is made into jam or jelly. Pared and quartered, it is cooked in sirup and preserved in jars. Young fruits are candied in Malaysia by paring, removing the seeds, boiling in water, then boiling a second time with sugar. In the Philippines, santols are peeled chemically by dipping in hot water for 2 minutes or more, then into a lye solution at 200º F (93.33º C) for 3 to 5 minutes. Subsequent washing in cool water removes the outer skin. Then the fruits are cut open, seeded and commercially preserved in sirup. Santol marmalade in glass jars is exported from the Philippines to Oriental food dealers in the United States and probably elsewhere. Very ripe fruits are naturally vinous and are fermented with rice to make an alcoholic drink.
The preserved pulp is employed medicinally as an astringent, as is the quince in Europe. Crushed leaves are poulticed on itching skin.
In cases of fever in the Philippines, fresh leaves are placed on the body to cause sweating and the leaf decoction is used to bathe the patient. The bitter bark, containing the slightly toxic sandoricum acid, an unnamed, toxic alkaloid, and a steroidal sapogenin, is applied on ringworm and also enters into a potion given a woman after childbirth. The aromatic, astringent root also serves the latter purpose, and is a potent remedy for diarrhea. An infusion of the fresh or dried root, or the bark, may be taken to relieve colic and stitch in the side. The root is a stomachic and antispasmodic and prized as a tonic. It may be crushed in a blend of vinegar and water which is then given as a carminative and remedy for diarrhea and dysentery. Mixed with the bark of Carapa obovata Blume, it is much used in Java to combat leucorrhea.
Wood: The sapwood is gray, merging into the heartwood which is reddish-brown when dry, imparting the color to water. It is fairly hard, moderately heavy, close-grained and polishes well, but is not always of good quality. It is not durable in contact with moisture and is subject to borers. However, it is plentiful, easy to saw and work, and accordingly popular. If carefully seasoned, it can be employed for house-posts, interior construction, light-framing, barrels, cabinetwork, boats, carts, sandals, butcher’s blocks, household utensils and carvings. When burned, the wood emits an aromatic scent.
The dried heartwood yields 2 triterpenes–katonic acid and indicic acid–and an acidic resin.
In the Philippines, the bark is used in tanning fishing lines.
Doctors in Thailand and the Philippines have warned about the risk of intestinal obstruction and perforation from swallowing the whole seeds of Sandoricum koetjape. One source claims there are about 200 cases annually in the Philippines. The “Bangkok” santol, a larger variety, may be responsible for more severe cases of abdominal surgery. Common symptoms are abdominal pain with peritonitis that requires surgery to remove the seeds. In one retrospective review, 6 of 30 patients with Sandorica seed-induced colon perforation died within 28 days following the development of septic shock.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.