Herbs


Kokam

Botanical Name: Garcinia indica

Family: Guttiferae

Hindi Name: Kokam

Kokam is native to India, and is found in the tropical rain forests of the Western Ghats and in the southern districts of Maharashtra. It grows well in the Konkan and Malabar regions of western India, which combine the advantages of good sunshine, adequate rainfall and rich soil.

Kokam is a slender evergreen with drooping branches, long or ovate leaves that are dark green above and pale beneath, round fruits that become dark purple when ripe and each enclose five to eight seeds.

The composition of the fresh kokam rind is as follows:

  • Protein: 1.9 %
  • Fibre: 14.3 %
  • Ash: 2.6 %
  • Tannins: 2.8 %
  • Pectin: 5.7 %
  • Starch: 1 %
  • Fat: 10 %
  • Hydroxy citric acid: 22.8 %
  • Ascorbic acid: 0.06 %

With an agreeable flavour, and a sweet and acidic taste, kokam is an Indian spice speciality for culinary and medical purposes. The fruit is demulcent, emollient and antiseptic. The bark and young leaves are astringent. The oil is emollient and soothing.

Among the major uses of kokam are garnish for curries, and in the preparation of cooling syrups. It is used as a natural colourant for acid foods, processed food products, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, preserves and instant foods. The fruit is useful in the treatment of piles, dysentery, tumours, pains and heart complaints.

Kokam butter is suitable for ointments and pharmaceutical purposes. It is applied locally to ulcerations and fissures of lips, hands, etc. The waste cake left after extraction of oil is used as manure. It is also used in candle and soap manufacture.

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