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Full Version: Jambul fruit (aka ‘Jamun’) good for digestive system
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Ishrat Hyatt
Rich looking, dark purple ‘jamuns’ are now being sold on hand drawn trolleys, proof that the price has come down and there is an abundant supply available.

People, especially those not native to this part of the world, often ask what is the equivalent name of this fruit in English and nobody appears to know but the internet says Jamuns are commonly known as Java Plum, Black Plum, Jambul and Indian Blackberry, names which, frankly, I have never heard of and neither has anyone else!

The ‘jamun’ tree is a very common, large, evergreen, beautiful tree of the subcontinent, which tends to grow with an umbrella like, dense foliage that provides a pleasant, cool shade during summer.

Not many people know that when the ‘jamun’ tree flowers, a pleasant scent is emitted in their vicinity, but these flowers tend to attract flies and bees which ruin the atmosphere and make it somewhat dangerous to be near them during this time. ‘Jamuns’ appear in Pakistan in July just before or after the monsoon season has begun.

It is a healthy fruit with absolutely no trace of sucrose and therefore the only fruit with minimum calories and a rich source of vitamin A and C. The juice of the fruit is extremely soothing and has a cooling effect, helping in the proper functioning of the digestive system. The leaves of the tree also help in controlling the blood pressure and gingivitis.

Besides the fruit, hakims (herbal medicine practitioners) say the seed and also the leaves and bark of the tree are believed to have medicinal properties. Scientific research has shown that dried extracts of the seeds of the fruit given to diabetic patients on a regular basis showed a reduction in the level of their blood sugar, while a concoction made from the mixture of dried seeds and the bark is considered beneficial in the cure of diarrhoea and dysentery. The bark of the tree has high astringent properties and is therefore used for gargles and as a mouthwash. It is also used to treat ringworm and has blood-purifying properties. The leaves of the ‘jamun’ tree possess anti-bacterial properties and are used for making medicines for the strengthening of the teeth and gums and the bark can be used to formulate many herbal medicines. While the fruit is tasty as well as having health giving properties, the tree itself is useful in many ways because the foliage serves as fodder for cattle and villagers use the twigs, as tooth brushes and the raw fruit is used for making vinegar. The juice is also diuretic and gives a soothing effect on the human digestive system while the juice of ripe fruit is used for preparing sauces as well as beverages. Jamuns preserved with salt and dried are made into a digestive powder (chooran). The seeds are rich in protein and carbohydrates and contain traces of calcium and are used as cattle feed, a medicine against diabetes and as an antidote in a kind of soft-food poisoning. Diabetic patients can take ‘jamuns’ regularly during the season of its availability for temporary relief.

With all these benefits the ‘jamun’ tree has one huge drawback — it sheds leaves by the thousands during the spring and early summer — the shedding seems never ending — so it is not a good one to have in a small or average sized garden, while the ripe fruit also creates a mess when it falls on the ground, attracting ants and other insects.
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