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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Batuan Fruit (Garcinia morella)

Botanical Name: Garcinia morella
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Family: Clusiaceae
Genus: Garcinia
Species: G. morella

Synonyms:
*Garcinia gaudichaudii
*Mangostana morella Gaertn.
*Garcinia elliptica Wall.
*Garcinia gutta Wt.

Common names:
*Assamese: K?zi Thekera
*English: gamboge (Sri Lanka), gamboge (India)
*Tamil: iravasinni, makki
*Malayalam: iravi, chigiri
*Kannada: ardala, devana huli, jirigehuli, murina huli, ponpuli, ‘dirakala hannu’
*Sinhalese: kokatiya, gokatiya, goraka
*Visayan languages: batuan

Habitat: Batuan trees are native to the south eastern region of Asia and these trees are found copiously in forests that are located in low altitudes, mostly in Vietnam and the Philippines. Grows in India,Sreelanka. Grows in lowland to lower montane forest, sometimes on limestone, at elevations up to 1,500 metres

Description:
Garcinia morella is an evergreen tree, grows to a height of 18 m , bark 3-10 mm thick, brownish-grey or brown to dark brown, smooth; blaze dark yellow; exudation dark yellow or orange yellow, sticky; branchlets quadrangular, glabrous. Leaves simple, opposite, decussate, estipulate; petiole 6-15 mm, stout, glabrous, grooved above, thickened, very shortly ligulate at base; lamina 6-16 x 2.5-9 cm, elliptic-obovate or elliptic-oblanceolate, base acute or cuneate, apex obtuse, obtusely acuminate or caudate-acuminate, margin entire, glabrous, coriaceous; lateral nerves 8-16 pairs, pinnate, arched towards the margin forming intramarginal nerve, slender, prominent, intercostae reticulate, faint. Flowers polygamodioecious, reddish, sessile; male flowers: 2-4 in axillary fascicles or on old wood; sepals 4 orbicular, decussate, outer pairs smaller than the inner, glabrous; petals 4, little larger than sepals, orbicular, veined, concave; stamens 10-12, monadelphous, the filaments combined in to a subquadrangular central column, anthers red, orbicular, plurilocular; pistillode absent; female flowers: axillary, solitary, larger than male flowers; staminodes 10-12 in a ring round the ovary, connate at the base; ovary superior, greenish, globose, smooth, 4-celled, ovule one in each cell; stigma peltate, sessile, irregularly lobed, tubercled, persistent, margin dentate. Fruit a berry, 1.5-2.5 cm long, subglobose, or globose, smooth, yellowish or light pink, surrounded at the base by persistent sepals, crowned by flat tuberculate round stigmas, pulp sweet, acidic; seeds 2-4, kidney shaped, laterally compressed, dark brown, testa muriculate.

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Propagation:
Seed – the seed of most members of the genus can be slow to germinate, even if sown fresh, often taking 6 months or more.

Edible Uses:
Ripe fruits can be eaten but they are very acidic. Just like other garcinia varieties such as kokum (which is prevalent in the Indian west coast) or garcinia pedunculata, the fruit can be preserved by slicing into thin pieces and then drying under sun. It can be made into pickles. Bodos cook the unripe fruit as vegetable with fish. A chutney can be made by boiling the fruit. In Assam, dried and preserved slices are added to black green pulses to make a popular slightly acidic curry. In Malnad region of Karnataka, Tirtahalli and Chikkamagalore this is widely used in name of ‘odduli’, especially in fish recipes. Odduli is prepared by boiling the fruit to get a thick black liquid which can be stored for years without adding preservatives.

Medicinal Uses: Dried up fruit slices are valued as a traditional remedy for dysentery. In Ayurveda the fruits are used in the treatment of dysentery, gastritis, etc. and is said to have anti inflammatory properties. When the bark is cut it exudes a yellow resin called gamboge that is used in food, paints and medicines. It can be used as a rootstock for the mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana).

.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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garcinia_morella
https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/12281
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Garcinia+merguensis

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Bignay (Antidesma bunius)

Botanical Name: Antidesma bunius
Family: Phyllanthaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Antidesma
Species: A. bunius

Common Names: Bignay, Bugnay or Bignai, Chinese-laurel, Queensland-cherry, Salamander-tree, Wild cherry, and Currant tre

Habitat: Bignay is native to Southeast Asia and northern Australia. Now growing in E. Asia – China, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, northern Australia to the Pacific Islands.

It grows in wet evergreen forest, dipterocarp forest and teak forest; on river banks, at forest edges, along roadsides; in bamboo thickets; in semi-cultivated and cultivated areas; in shady or open habitats; usually in secondary but also in primary vegetation.

Description:
Bignay is a dioecious, evergreen and perennial tree growing upto 15 to 30 meters in height with trunk diameter of 20 to 85 cm. The tree has yellow brown bark, terete branchlets which are glabrous to densely ferrugineous to pubescent. Leaves are leathery, oval shaped, evergreen which measures 20 cm long and 7 cm wide. Leaves are distichous having petiole furrowed. It is short and glabrous to ferrugineous to pubescent. It possesses pubescent, linearlanceolate and caduceus stipules. Lamina of leaf is oblong to elliptic, apex acuminate, base obtuse or rounded to shallowly cordate, glabrous and glossy green above. An inflorescence is staminate, axillary measuring 6 to 15 cm long and consists of 3 to 8 branches having deltoid to elliptic and pubescent bracts. Staminate flowers are sessile measuring 3 to 4 mm by 3 mm. Pistillate inflorescence are axillary, simple or four branched and measures 4 to 17 cm long. Pistillate flowers measures 2.5 to 3 by 1.5 mm. Pedicles are pubescent to glabrous and is about 0.5 to 2 mm long. Calyx is cupular and measures 1-1.5 by 1.5 mm. An ovary is glabrous to very sparsely pilose and ellipsoid. Fruits are glabrous, ovoid or globose in shape and are about 5 to 11 mm by 4 to 7 mm. Fruit is green which later on turns into yellow, pink, red or bluish to violet when fully ripened. It consists of hard kernel in straw colored, compressed, oval, ridged or fluted and is about 6 to 8 mm by 4.5 to 5.5 mm.

The flowers have a strong, somewhat unpleasant scent. The staminate flowers are arranged in small bunches and the pistillate flowers grow on long racemes which will become the long strands of fruit. The fruits are spherical and just under a centimetre wide, hanging singly or paired in long, heavy bunches. They are white when immature and gradually turn red, then black.

Each bunch of fruits ripens unevenly, so the fruits in a bunch are all different colors. The skin of the fruit has red juice, while the white pulp has colorless juice. The fruit contains a light-colored seed. The fruit has a sour taste similar to that of the cranberry when immature, and a tart but sweet taste when ripe. This tree is cultivated across its native range and the fruits are most often used for making wine and tea and is also used to make jams and jellies. It is often grown as a backyard fruit tree in Java.

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Cultivation:
Bignay grows best in the hot, humid tropical lowlands. It thrives at elevations up to 1,200 metres in Java. The tree is not strictly tropical for it has proved to be hardy up to central Florida. Plants can tolerate occasional light frosts.
Grows best in a sunny position or light shade in a fertile, moisture-retentive soil. Plants can succeed in a variety of soil conditions. Prefers a pH in the range 6 – 7, tolerating 5.5 -8. Wind-protection is desirable when the trees are young.
An abundant and invasive species in the Philippines.
Trees can start producing fruit in 5 – 6 years from seed, or as little as 2 – 3 years from grafted plants.
The heavy fragrance of the flowers, especially the male, is very obnoxious to some people.
Plants are dioecious – there are separate male and female forms. However, female forms fruit freely even when there is no male present for pollination. One male tree should be planted for every 10 to 12 females to provide cross-pollination.

Propagation:
Seed – Whenever the seeds are used, they need about one month of after-ripening and can then be sown under shade without pre-treatment. Fresh seeds need pre-treatment with sulphuric acid for 15 min followed by soaking in water for 24 hours. The viability is about 3 – 70%. Depulped and dried fruits of A.bunius may be stored for 2 – 5 years in airtight containers without a serious decrease in seed viability.
Vegetative propagation is preferred because seedlings are of uncertain sex and they do not commence cropping for a number of years.
Greenwood cuttings.
Air layering. Plants can begin producing when three years old.
Grafting.

Edible Uses:
Fruits are used to make Bignay tea. It is also used for preparing jams, vines, syrups and other foods due to its nourishing and reinvigorating flavor.

The fruit can be eaten raw or cooked and used in jellies, preserves etc. When fully ripe, the thin but tough-skinned fruit is juicy and slightly sweet. The fruit is likened by some people to cranberries and is eaten mainly by children. The fruit staines the fingers and mouth. The round fruit is up to 8mm in diameter with a relatively large seed, it is used mainly for jams and jellies, though it needs extra pectin added for it to jell properly. The fruit is carried in redcurrant-like clusters of 20 – 40 near the shoot tips. Some tasters detect a bitter or unpleasant aftertaste, unnoticeable to others. If the extracted bignay juice is kept under refrigeration for a day or so, there is settling of a somewhat astringent sediment, which can be discarded, thus improving the flavour.

Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or steamed and used as a side dish with rice. A slightly sour flavour, the leaves turn brown when cooked but retain their texture well. They can be cooked with other foods in order to impart their sour flavour

Medicinal Uses: Bignay fruit is helpful to lower cholesterol, weight loss and maintain healthy heart. The leaves are sudorific and employed in treating snakebite in Asia. The leaves and roots are used as medicine for traumatic injury.

Agroforestry Uses:
A natural pioneer species, often common in the early stages of secondary forest succession and also invading marginal grassland. The tree has occasionally been employed in reforestation projects. This species seems to be an excellent choice as a pioneer for establishing a woodland, preferably used within its native range because of its tendency to invade habitats.

Other Uses
The bark yields a strong fibre for rope and cordage. The timber has been experimentally pulped for making cardboard.

The timber is reddish and hard. If soaked in water, it becomes heavy and hard. Valued for general building, even though it is not very durable in contact with the soil and is also subject to attacks from termites.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antidesma_bunius
https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/bignay/
http://tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Antidesma+bunius

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Herbs & Plants

St.Jhon’s wort

Botanical Name: Hypericum perforatum
Family: Hypericaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales
Genus: Hypericum
Section: Hypericum sect. Hypericum
Species: H. perforatum

Common Names: St.Jhon’s wort, Saint John’s wort.St. John’s wort, Hypericum (from the scientific name),Goatweed, Klamath weed, Tipton weed
The common name “St John’s wort” may be used to refer to any species of the genus Hypericum. Therefore, Hypericum perforatum is sometimes called “common St John’s wort” or “perforate St John’s wort” to differentiate it.

St John’s wort is named as such because it commonly flowers, blossoms and is harvested at the time of the summer solstice in late June, around St John’s Feast Day on 24 June. The herb would be hung on house and stall doors on St John’s Feast day to ward off evil spirits and to safeguard against harm and sickness to man and live-stock. The genus name Hypericum is possibly derived from the Greek words hyper (above) and eikon (picture), in reference to the tradition of hanging plants over religious icons in the home during St John’s Day.
Habitat:
Hypericum perforatum is native to temperate parts of Europe and Asia, but has spread to temperate regions worldwide as a cosmopolitan invasive weed. It was introduced to North America from Europe. The flower occurs in prairies, pastures, and disturbed fields. It prefers sandy soils.

Description:
Perforate St John’s wort is a herbaceous perennial plant with extensive, creeping rhizomes. Its reddish stems are erect and branched in the upper section, and can grow up to 1 m (3 ft 3 in) high. The stems are woody near their base and may appear jointed from leaf scars. The branches are typically clustered about a depressed base. It has opposite and stalkless leaves that are narrow and oblong in shape and 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) long. Leaves borne on the branches subtend the shortened branchlets. The leaves are yellow-green in color, with scattered translucent dots of glandular tissue. The dots are conspicuous when held up to the light, giving the leaves the “perforated” appearance to which the plant’s Latin name refers. The flowers measure up to 2.5 cm (0.98 in) across, have five petals and sepals, and are colored bright yellow with conspicuous black dots. The flowers appear in broad helicoid cymes at the ends of the upper branches, between late spring and early to mid summer. The cymes are leafy and bear many flowers. The pointed sepals have black glandular dots. The many stamens are united at the base into three bundles. The pollen grains are ellipsoidal. The black and lustrous seeds are rough, netted with coarse grooves.

When flower buds (not the flowers themselves) or seed pods are crushed, a reddish/purple liquid is produced.

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Medicinal Uses:
Common St John’s wort has long been used in herbalism and folk medicine. It was thought to have medical properties in classical antiquity and was a standard component of theriacs, from the Mithridate of Aulus Cornelius Celsus’ De Medicina (ca. 30 CE) to the Venice treacle of d’Amsterdammer Apotheek in 1686. Folk usages included oily extract (“St John’s oil”) and Hypericum snaps. Hypericum perforatum is a common species and is grown commercially for use in herbalism and traditional medicine.

The red, oily extract of H. perforatum has been used in the treatment of wounds for millennia, including by the Knights Hospitaller, the Order of St John, after battles in the Crusades, which is most likely where the name came from. Both hypericin and hyperforin are under study for their potential antibiotic properties.

People have been using St. John’s wort for centuries. Today, the popular herb is often used to ease the symptoms of depression.

Health Benefits:
St. John’s wort is widely believed to boost mood and provide some relief from depression, but it’s not exactly clear how it works.

Researchers suspect that ingredients in the herb (hypericin and hyperforin) may increase levels of certain brain chemicals, like serotonin. People with depression often have low levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters.1?

One reason people may wish to try the natural remedy for depression (as opposed to antidepressants that can increase serotonin) is that St. John’s wort tends to have fewer side effects than medications.2?

The herb is also being explored for the following health concerns:

Anxiety :
*Menopause-related symptoms
*Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
*Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
*Smoking cessation

An oil made from St. John’s wort has also been used topically for wound healing and a variety of other skin conditions such as eczema and hemorrhoids.

Depression:
Although the benefit of St. John’s wort is still being explored, research suggests the herb can be more effective than a placebo in alleviating mild-to-moderate depression.

Major Depression:
The most comprehensive research on St. John’s wort and major depression includes a 2018 report published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic

Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous to livestock. The primary phytochemical constituents of St John’s wort are hyperforin and hypericin.

St John’s wort may cause allergic reactions, and can interact in dangerous, sometimes life-threatening ways with a variety of prescribed medicines. St John’s wort is generally well tolerated, but may cause gastrointestinal discomfort (such as nausea, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and diarrhea), dizziness, confusion, fatigue, sedation, dry mouth, restlessness, and headache.

The organ systems associated with adverse drug reactions to St John’s wort and fluoxetine (an SSRI) have a similar incidence profile; most of these reactions involve the central nervous system. St John’s wort also decreases the levels of estrogens, such as estradiol, by accelerating its metabolism, and should not be taken by women on contraceptive pills. St John’s wort may cause photosensitivity. This can lead to visual sensitivity to visible and ultraviolet light and to sunburns in situations that would not normally cause them.

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.

Resources
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypericum_perforatum
https://www.verywellmind.com/st-johns-wort-a2-89959

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Breadfruit

Botanical Name: Artocarpus altilis
Family: Moraceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Artocarpus
Species: A. altilis

Synonyms:
*Artocarpus altilis var. non-seminiferus (Duss) Fournet)
*Artocarpus altilis var. seminiferus (Duss) Fournet
*Artocarpus communis J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.

Common Names: Breadfruit

Breadfruit has hundreds of varieties and thousands of common names varying according to its geographic distribution, and is cultivated in some 90 countries.

Habitat:
Breadfruit is an equatorial lowland species. It grows best below elevations of 650 metres (2,130 ft), but is found at elevations of 1,550 metres (5,090 ft). Preferred soils are neutral to alkaline (pH of 6.1–7.4) and either sand, sandy loam, loam or sandy clay loam. Breadfruit is able to grow in coral sands and saline soils. The breadfruit is ultra-tropical, requiring a temperature range of 16–38 °C (61–100 °F) and an annual rainfall of 200–250 cm (80–100 in)

Breadfruit originating in New Guinea, the Maluku Islands, and the Philippines. It was initially spread to Oceania via the Austronesian expansion. It was further spread to other tropical regions of the world during the Colonial Era. British and French navigators introduced a few Polynesian seedless varieties to Caribbean islands during the late 18th century. Today it is grown in some 90 countries throughout South and Southeast Asia, the Pacific Ocean, the Caribbean, Central America and Africa.

Description:

Breadfruit trees grow to a height of 26 m (85 ft). The large and thick leaves are deeply cut into pinnate lobes. All parts of the tree yield latex, which is useful for boat caulking.

The trees are monoecious, with male and female flowers growing on the same tree. The male flowers emerge first, followed shortly afterward by the female flowers. The latter grow into capitula, which are capable of pollination just three days later. Pollination occurs mainly by fruit bats, but cultivated varieties produce fruit without pollination. The compound, false fruit develops from the swollen perianth, and originates from 1,500-2,000 flowers visible on the skin of the fruit as hexagon-like disks.

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Breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 or more grapefruit-sized fruits per season, requiring limited care. In the South Pacific, the trees yield 50 to 150 fruits per year, usually round, oval or oblong weighing 0.25–6 kg. Productivity varies between wet and dry areas. Studies in Barbados indicate a reasonable potential of 16–32 short tons per hectare (6.5–12.9 short ton/acre). The ovoid fruit has a rough surface, and each fruit is divided into many achenes, each achene surrounded by a fleshy perianth and growing on a fleshy receptacle. Most selectively bred cultivars have seedless fruit, whereas seeded varieties are grown mainly for their edible seeds. Breadfruit is usually propagated using root cuttings.

Breadfruit is closely related to the breadnut, from which it might have been naturally selected. It is noticeably similar in appearance to its relative of the same genus, the jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus).

The closely related Artocarpus camansi can be distinguished from A. altilis by having spinier fruits with numerous seeds. Artocarpus mariannensis can be distinguished by having dark green elongated fruits with darker yellow flesh, as well as entire or shallowly lobed leaves.

Nutrition:
Breadfruit is 71% water, 27% carbohydrates, 1% protein and negligible in fat (see table). In a 100 gram amount, raw breadfruit is a rich source (35% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin C, and a moderate source (10% DV each) of thiamin and potassium, with no other nutrients in significant content.

Edible Uses:
Breadfruit is a staple food in many tropical regions. Most breadfruit varieties produce fruit throughout the year. Both ripe and unripe fruit have culinary uses; unripe breadfruit is cooked before consumption. Before being eaten, the fruit are roasted, baked, fried or boiled. When cooked, the taste of moderately ripe breadfruit is described as potato-like, or similar to freshly baked bread.

One breadfruit tree can produce 450 pounds (200 kg) each season. Because breadfruit trees usually produce large crops at certain times of the year, preservation of harvested fruit is an issue. One traditional preservation technique is to bury peeled and washed fruits in a leaf-lined pit where they ferment over several weeks and produce a sour, sticky paste. So stored, the product may endure a year or more, and some pits are reported to have produced edible contents more than 20 years later.[13] Fermented breadfruit mash goes by many names such as mahr, ma, masi, furo, and bwiru, among others.

Breadfruit can be eaten once cooked, or can be further processed into a variety of other foods. A common product is a mixture of cooked or fermented breadfruit mash mixed with coconut milk baked in banana leaves. Whole fruits can be cooked in an open fire, then cored and filled with other foods, such as coconut milk, sugar and butter, cooked meats, or other fruits. The filled fruit can be cooked further so the flavor of the filling permeates the flesh of the breadfruit.

Breadfruit is found in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, where it is called sukun. It is commonly made into fritters and eaten as snacks. Breadfruit fritters are sold as local street food.

In Sri Lanka, it is cooked as a curry using coconut milk and spices (which becomes a side dish) or boiled. Boiled breadfruit is a famous main meal. It is often consumed with scraped coconut or coconut sambol, made of scraped coconut, red chili powder and salt mixed with a dash of lime juice. A traditional sweet snack made of finely sliced, sun-dried breadfruit chips deep-fried in coconut oil and dipped in heated treacle or sugar syrup is known as rata del petti. In India, fritters of breadfruit, called jeev kadge phodi in Konkani or kadachakka varuthath in Malayalam are a local delicacy in coastal Karnataka and Kerala. In Seychelles, it was traditionally eaten as a substitute for rice, as an accompaniment to the mains. It would either be consumed boiled (friyapen bwi) or grilled (friyapen griye), where it would be put whole in the wood fire used for cooking the main meal and then taken out when ready. It is also eaten as a dessert, called ladob friyapen, where it is boiled in coconut milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt. In the South Indian state of Kerala and coastal Karnataka, especially near Mangalore, where it is widely grown and cooked, it is known as kada chakka or “sheema chakka”

In Belize, the Mayan people call it masapan. In Puerto Rico, breadfruit is called panapen or pana, for short. In some inland regions it is also called mapén. Pana is often served boiled with a mixture of sauteed bacalao (salted cod fish), olive oil and onions. It is also served as tostones or mofongo. A popular dessert is also made with sweet ripe breadfruit: flan de pana (breadfruit custard). In the Dominican Republic, it is called buen pan or “good bread”. In Barbados, breadfruit is boiled with salted meat and mashed with butter to make breadfruit coucou. It is usually eaten with saucy meat dishes. In Jamaica, breadfruit is boiled in soups or roasted on stove top, in the oven or on wood coal. It is usually eaten with the national dish ackee and salt fish. The ripe fruit is used in salads or fried as a side dish.

Medicinal Uses:
The medicinal use of breadfruit is abundant and unlimited. In Taiwan, it is believed that breadfruit leaves are very effective in lowering high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus, liver diseases and fever. Crushed breadfruit leaves are used to treat oral and ear infections whereas, breadfruit’s bark is used to treat headaches. Breadfruit leaf extracts also contains organic acids that possess relaxing, anti-convulsive and anti-anxiety properties. Roasted and powdered breadfruit leaves are used for the treatment of enlarged spleen.

Other Uses:
Breadfruit was widely used in a variety of ways among Pacific Islanders. Its lightweight wood (specific gravity of 0.27) is resistant to termites and shipworms, so it is used as timber for structures and outrigger canoes. Its wood pulp can also be used to make paper, called breadfruit tapa.[4] Native Hawaiians used its sticky latex to trap birds, whose feathers were made into cloaks. The wood of the breadfruit tree was one of the most valuable timbers in the construction of traditional houses in Samoan architecture.

Breadfruit contains phytochemicals having potential as an insect repellent. The parts of the fruits that are discarded can be used to feed livestock. The leaves of breadfruit trees can also be browsed by cattle.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breadfruit
https://www.ayurtimes.com/breadfruit-health-benefits/

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Fruits & Vegetables Herbs & Plants

Bilimbi

Botanical Name: Averrhoa bilimbi
Family: Oxalidaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Oxalidales
Genus: Averrhoa
Species: A. bilimbi

Synonyms:
*Averrhoa abtusangulata Stokes
*Averrhoa obtusangula Stokes

Common Names: Bilimbi, Cucumber tree, Tree sorrel,Bilincha,Blimbin, Mimbro,Kaling Pring

Habitat:
Possibly originated in Moluccas, Indonesia, the species is now cultivated and found throughout Indonesia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar (Burma) and Malaysia. It is also common in other Southeast Asian countries. In India, where it is usually found in gardens, the bilimbi has gone wild in the warmest regions of the country. It is also seen in coastal regions of South India.

Outside of Asia, the tree is cultivated in Zanzibar. In 1793, the bilimbi was introduced to Jamaica from Timor and after several years, was cultivated throughout Central and South America where it is known as mimbro. In Suriname this fruit is known as lange birambi. Introduced to Queensland at the end of the 19th century, it has been grown commercially in the region since that time. In Guyana, it is called Sourie, One finger, Bilimbi and Kamranga.

This is essentially a tropical tree, less resistant to cold than the carambola, growing best in rich and well-drained soil (but also stands limestone and sand). It prefers evenly distributed rainfall throughout the year, but with a 2- to 3-month dry season. Therefore, the species is not found, for example, in the wettest part of Malaysia. In Florida, where it is an occasional curiosity, the tree needs protection from wind and cold.

Description:
Averrhoa bilimbi is a small tropical tree native to Malaysia and Indonesia, reaching up to 15m in height. It is often multitrunked, quickly dividing into ramifications. Bilimbi leaves are alternate, pinnate, measuring approximately 30–60 cm in length. Each leaf contains 11-37 leaflets; ovate to oblong, 2–10 cm long and 1–2 cm wide and cluster at branch extremities. The leaves are quite similar to those of the Otaheite gooseberry. The tree is cauliflorous with 18–68 flowers in panicles that form on the trunk and other branches. The flowers are heterotristylous, borne in a pendulous panicle inflorescence. There flower is fragrant, corolla of 5 petals 10–30 mm long, yellowish green to reddish purple. The fruit is ellipsoidal, elongated, measuring about 4 – 10 cm and sometimes faintly 5-angled. The skin, smooth to slightly bumpy, thin and waxy turning from light green to yellowish-green when ripe. The flesh is crisp and the juice is sour and extremely acidic and therefore not typically consumed as fresh fruit by itself. Fruit is often preserved and used as a popular flavouring/seasoning and is a key ingredient in many Indonesian dishes such as sambal belimbing wuluh and asam sunti (see Culinary interest). A. bilimbi holds great value in complementary medicine (see Medical interest) as evidenced by the substantial amount of research on it. According to traditional Indonesian/Malaysian knowledge, the trunk and branches of tree require exposure to sunlight to initiate flowering/fruiting, which can be assisted by removing leaves from the inner canopy.

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Neutricinal Value:

This nutritional value is obtained from every 100 g of the fruit

Calcium – 3.4mg

Phosphorous – 11.1 mg

Riboflavin – 0.026mg

Carotene – 0.035mg

Niacin – 0.302mg

Moisture – 95mg

Iron – 1.01mg

Calcium – 3.5mg

Thiamine – 0.010mg

Ash – 0.30-0.40mg

Fiber – 0.6mg

CLICK & SEE THE IMAGE OF FRUITS

Edible Uses:
In Indonesia, A. bilimbi, locally known as belimbing wuluh, is often used to give sour or an acidic flavor to food, substituting tamarind or tomato. In the north western province of Aceh, it is preserved by salting and sun-drying to make asam sunti, a kitchen seasoning to make a variety of Achenese dishes.

In the Philippines, where it is commonly found in backyards, the fruits are eaten either raw or dipped in rock salt. It can be either curried or added as a souring agent for common Filipino dishes such as sinigang, pinangat and paksiw. It is being sun-dried for preservation. It is also used to make salad mixed with tomatoes, chopped onions with soy sauce as dressing.

The uncooked bilimbi is prepared as relish and served with rice and beans in Costa Rica.

In the Far East, where the tree originated, it is sometimes added to curry.

In Malaysia, it also is made into a rather sweet jam.

In Kerala and Bhatkal, India, it is used for making pickles and to make fish curry, especially with Sardines, while around Karnataka, Maharashtra and Goa the fruit is commonly eaten raw with salt and spice. In Guyana and Mauritius, it is made into achars/pickles too.

In Seychelles, it is often used as an ingredient to give a tangy flavor to many Seychellois creole dishes, especially fish dishes. It is often used in grilled fish and also (almost always) in a shark meat dish, called satini reken. It is also cooked down with onion, tomato, and chili peppers to make a sauce. Sometimes they are cured with salt to be used when they are out of season.

Bilimbi juice (with a pH of about 4.47) is made into a cooling beverage. It can replace mango in making chutney. Additionally, the fruit can be preserved by pickling, which reduces its acidity.

Medicinal Uses:
*The leaves of bilimbi are used as a treatment for venereal disease.
*The leaf decoction is taken as a medicine to relieve from rectal inflammation.
*The fruit seems to be effective against coughs and thrush.
*It fights against cholestrol and is used as a tonic and laxative.
*The fruit is also known to control internal bleeding in the stomach.
*The leaves serve as a paste on itches, swelling, mumps or skin eruptions.
*Syrup made from Bilimbi is a cure for fever and inflammation.
*It is also used to stop rectal bleeding and alleviate internal hemorrhoids.

In the Philippines, the leaves serve as a paste on itches, swelling, rheumatism, mumps or skin eruptions. Elsewhere, they are used for bites of venomous creatures. A leaf infusion is used as an after-birth tonic, while the flower infusion is used for thrush, cold, and cough. Malaysians use fermented or fresh bilimbi leaves to treat venereal diseases. In French Guiana, syrup made from the fruit is used to treat inflammatory conditions. To date there is no scientific evidence to confirm effectiveness for such uses.

In some villages in the Thiruvananthapuram district of India, the fruit of the bilimbi was used in folk medicine to control obesity. This led to further studies on its antihyperlipidemic properties.

The fruit contains high levels of oxalate. Acute kidney failure due to tubular necrosis caused by oxalate has been recorded in several people who drank the concentrated juice on continuous days as treatment for high cholesterol.

Other uses:
In Malaysia, very acidic bilimbis are used to clean kris blades. In the Philippines, it is often used in rural places as an alternative stain remover.

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.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Averrhoa_bilimbi
https://www.fruitsinfo.com/bilimbi-tropical-fruit.php
https://www.onlyfoods.net/bilimbi.html