Herbs & Plants

Prunus insititia

Botanical Name : Prunus insititia – L.
Family  Rosaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Rosales
Genus: Prunus
Subgenus: Prunus
Section: Prunus
Species: P. domestica
Subspecies: P. domestica subsp. insititia

Synonyms:     Bully-bloom (for the flowers). Bullies, Bolas, Bullions and Wild Damson (for the fruit).
(French) Sibarelles.

Common Name :  Damson or damson plum,Prunus domestica subsp

Habitat:  Common in England in thickets, woods and hedges, though more rare in Scotland and probably not wild north of the Forth and Clyde. Common in South-East Europe and in Northern and Central Asia.

Prunus insititia is a tall shrub, sometimes developing into a small tree about 15 feet high. Resembles the Blackthorn or Sloe (Prunus spinosa), but is less thorny and has straight, not crooked branches, covered by brown, not black bark, only a few of the old ones terminating in spines, the younger ones downy. It has also larger leaves than the Blackthorn, downy underneath, alternate, finely-toothed, on short, downy foot-stalks, and flowers, white like those of the Blackthorn, but larger, with broader petals, borne in less crowded clusters and not on the naked branches, but expanding just after the leaves have begun to unfold.

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The globular, fleshy fruit, marked with a faint suture, has generally a black skin, covered with a thin bluish bloom, and is similar to the Sloe, but larger, often an inch across, and drooping from its weight, not erect as the Sloe. Occasionally yellow varieties are found.

Seed – requires 2 – 3 months cold stratification and is best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as early in the year as possible[200]. Protect the seed from mice etc. The seed can be rather slow, sometimes taking 18 months to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Grow them on in a greenhouse or cold frame for their first winter and plant them out in late spring or early summer of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel, July/August in a frame. Softwood cuttings from strongly growing plants in spring to early summer in a frame. Layering in spring.

Edible Uses:      
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed.

Fruit – raw or cooked. More acid than a plum but it is very acceptable raw when fully ripe, especially after being touched by frost. The fruit is about 3cm in diameter and contains one large seed. Seed – raw or cooked. Do not eat the seed if it is too bitter – see the notes above on toxicity.

Constituents:  The volatile oil expressed from the seeds contains benzaldehyde and hydrocyanic acid. These substances are also present in the young leaves and flowers.

Medicinal Uses:
Febrifuge;  Purgative;  Styptic.

The bark of the root and branches is febrifuge and considerably styptic. An infusion of the flowers has been used as a mild purgative for children. Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, all members of the genus contain amygdalin and prunasin, substances which break down in water to form hydrocyanic acid (cyanide or prussic acid). In small amounts this exceedingly poisonous compound stimulates respiration, improves digestion and gives a sense of well-being.

Other Uses  
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Shelterbelt.

A green dye can be obtained from the leaves. A dark grey to green dye can be obtained from the fruit. Trees are fairly wind resistant and can be grown as a shelterbelt hedge.

Requires a well-drained moisture retentive soil. Succeeds in light shade but fruits better in a sunny position. Thrives in a loamy soil, doing well on limestone. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers some chalk in the soil but apt to become chlorotic if too much is present. Occasionally cultivated for its edible fruit, there are some named varieties. It has been derived in cultivation from the bullace, differing in having a sweeter fruit. Damsons can be grown successfully against a north facing wall. Most members of this genus are shallow-rooted and will produce suckers if the roots are damaged. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.

Known Hazards :  Although no specific mention has been seen for this species, it belongs to a genus where most, if not all members of the genus produce hydrogen cyanide, a poison that gives almonds their characteristic flavour. This toxin is found mainly in the leaves and seed and is readily detected by its bitter taste. It is usually present in too small a quantity to do any harm but any very bitter seed or fruit should not be eaten. In small quantities, hydrogen cyanide has been shown to stimulate respiration and improve digestion, it is also claimed to be of benefit in the treatment of cancer. In excess, however, it can cause respiratory failure and even death.

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


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Herbs & Plants

Kalo Jam (Eugenia Jambolana )

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Botanical Name:Eugenia Jambolana
Family: Myrtaceae
Genus: Syzygium
Species: S. cumini
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Myrtales

Syn. Syzygium jambolanum, Eugenia cumini

Common Names:Kalo jaml(in bengali), jambul/jambhul/jambu/jambula/jamboola, Java plum, jamun, jaam/kalojaam, jamblang, jambolan, black plum, Damson plum, Duhat plum, Jambolan plum or Portuguese plum. Malabar plum may also refer to other species of Syzygium. This fruit is called Jamun in Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi, Neredu Pandu in Telugu, Naaval Pazham in Tamil, Naaval Pazham in Malayalam, Nerale Hannu in Kannada, Jam in Bengali, Jamukoli in Oriya and Jambu in Gujarat. In the Philippines, common names include duhat in the Tagalog-speaking regions, lomboy in the Cebuano-speaking areas and inobog in Maguindanao.  It is called Dhanbu in Maldives and Dhuwet/Juwet in Javanese. Among its names in Portuguese are jamelão, jambolão, jalão, joão-bolão, manjelão, azeitona-preta, baga-de-freira, brinco-de-viúva and guapê, always with lower case, the early four derived from the Konkani name jambulan. They are called rotra in the Malagasy language (Madagascar).

Kalo Jam  is  native to Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Indonesia.

The tree was introduced to Florida, USA in 1911 by the USDA, and is also now commonly grown in Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. In Brazil, where it was introduced from India during Portuguese colonization, it has dispersed spontaneously in the wild in some places, as its fruits are eagerly sought by various native birds such as thrushes, tanagers and the Great Kiskadee. This species is considered an invasive in Hawaii, USA. It is also illegal to grow, plant or transplant in Sanibel, Florida.

Kalo Jam  is an evergreen tropical tree in the flowering plant. It is  a slow growing species, it can reach heights of up to 30 m and can live more than 100 years. Its dense foliage provides shade and is grown just for its ornamental value. At the base of the tree, the bark is rough and dark grey, becoming lighter grey and smoother higher up. The wood is water resistant. Because of this it is used in railway sleepers and to install motors in wells. It is sometimes used to make cheap furniture and village dwellings though it is relatively hard to work on.
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The leaves which are an aroma similar to turpentine, are pinkish when young, changing to a leathery, glossy dark green with a yellow midrib as they mature. The leaves are used as food for livestock, as they have good nutritional value.

Kala Jambul trees start flowering from March to April. The flowers of are fragrant and small, about 5 mm in diameter. The fruits develop by May or June and resemble large berries. The fruit is oblong, ovoid, starts green and turns pink to shining crimson black as it matures. A variant of the tree produces white coloured fruit. The fruit has a combination of sweet, mildly sour and astringent flavour and tends to colour the tongue purple.

The seed is also used in various alternative healing systems like Ayurveda (to control diabetes, for example.), Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments.

The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C.

Syzygium cumini has been spread overseas from India by Indian emigrants and at present is common in former tropical British colonies.

Edible Uses:
The black ripen fruits are delicious to eat and highlt nutritius.

Medicinal Uses:
* Diabetes
Properties: * Carminative * Hypoglycemic
Constituents:  oleanolic acid,

The seed, leaf, bark, and fruit are used to make medicine.

Kalo Jam is widely used in folk medicine for diabetes.

It is also used for digestion disorders including gas (flatulence), bowel spasms, stomach problems, and severe diarrhea (dysentery).

Another use is treatment of lung problems such as bronchitis and asthma.

Some people use Kalo Jam  as an aphrodisiac to increase interest in sexual activity, and as a tonic.

In combination with other herbs, jambolan seed is used for constipation, diseases of the pancreas, stomach problems, nervous disorders, depression, and exhaustion.

Jambolan is sometimes applied directly to the mouth and throat to reduce pain due to swelling (inflammation). It is also applied directly to the skin for skin ulcers and inflammation of the skin.

The fruit and seeds of the Kalo Jam  tree have long been used in Eastern traditional medicine, and are gaining more interest here in the West for the treatment of diabetes. Practitioners of Ayurveda in India value jambul for lowering blood sugar and researchers are investigating its potential as a male contraceptive. Jambul is used in Unani and Chinese medicine for digestive ailments. The leaves and bark are used for controlling blood pressure and gingivitis. Wine and vinegar are also made from the fruit. It has a high source in vitamin A and vitamin C.

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Other Uses:
Cultural and religious significance

According to Hindu tradition, Rama subsisted on the fruit in the forest for 14 years during his exile from Ayodhya.   Because of this, many Hindus regard S. cumini as a ‘fruit of the gods,’ especially in Gujarat, India, where it is known locally as jamboon.

Lord Krishna has been described as having skin the color of S. cumini. In Hindu mythology several protagonists have been described as having the color of S. cumini.

In Maharashtra, S. cumini (locally known as j?mbh?? Marathi :??????) leaves are used in marriage pandal decorations. There is famous Marathi song “Jambhul pikalya zada khali…”. The seeds are used in tisanes for diabetes

Andhra Pradesh:
This tree is called Neredu   in Telugu. Besides the fruits, wood from Neredu tree is used in Andhra Pradesh to make bullock cart wheels and other agricultural equipment. Culturally, beautiful eyes are compared to this fruit. In the great epic of India Mahabharatha Sri Krishnas'[Lord Vishnu] body color is compared to this fruit as well.

Tamil Nadu:
There is a very famous legend that is associated with Auvaiyar (also Auvayar) in Tamil Nadu , a prominent female poets/ethicist/political activist of Sangam period (Tamil literature), and Naval Pazham(Jambu) in Tamil Nadu. Auvaiyar, believing to have achieved everything that is to be achieved, said to have been pondering over her retirement from Tamil literary work while resting under Naval Pazham tree. But she was met with and was wittily jousted by a disguised Lord Murugan (regarded as one of the guardian deities of Tamil language), who later revealed himself and made her realize that there is still a lot more to be done and learnt. Following this awakening, Auvaiyar is believed to have undertaken a fresh set of literary works, targeted at children.

In Malayalam the tree is called njaval and its fruit are njavalpazham. The fruit is particularly plentiful in Kollam.

In Kannada the tree is called Nerale mara and its fruit are Nerale Hannu Nerale hannu is widely used by diabetes patients as they thought it cures the same. The bears like this fruit. This tree is found liberally every where in village areas of Karnataka.

Known Hazards:
Kalo Jam seed and bark contains chemicals that might lower blood sugar, but extracts from jambolan leaf and fruit don’t seem to affect blood sugar. Jambolan also contains chemicals that might protect against oxidation damage, as well as chemicals that reduce swelling. so it is adviced  to Monitor blood sugar levels carefully – do not change insulin dosage without the guidance of a physician.

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