Jamun The Indian Black Berry
Jamun is considered to be the native of India and grows throughout the country. It is called by different names such as Jamboola, Java plum, Jambolan, Black Plum, Indian black berry etc. It grows abundantly during the rainy season.
Jamun is a purple colour oblong shaped fruit available during the summer months in India. Children can be seen flocking under the tree to collect the fruits. One can even buy them from the roadside vendors tossed with salt and given in leaves or piece of paper. Jamuns have blackish purple skin. They are white inside with a purple seed.They have got an astringent after taste that will keep reminding you of the flavour and you will eat up ending more than what you intended to. Due to its colouring properties it changes the colour of the tongue to purple.
The entire Jamun tree is well recognised in India for its medicinal value. It is used in Ayurveda and Unani medicine for treating various diseases. The bark, leaves, fruits and seeds of the tree are all used.
Jamun fruit is regarded as the traditional medicine that helps control the diabetes due to its effect on pancreas. It is a part of home remedy to reduce increased blood sugar levels. For this the seeds are dried and grinded to make powder. This powder is taken with water to bring down sugar levels in diabetic patients.
Natural acids in the Jamun play an important role in the secretion of digestive enzymes and stimulating the liver function. Jamun is an effective remedy for bleeding piles.
The bark of the Jamun tree has astringent, carminative, diuretic and digestive properties. It is also good for throat, bronchitis, excessive thirst, asthma, dysentery, impurities of the blood and ulcers. The decoction of the bark and dried seed is very effective in curing diarrhea, dysentery and dyspepsia. The decoction of the bark is used for gargle or as mouth wash for the astrigent effect on mouth ulcerations, spongy gums and stomatitis.
The leaves have anti-bacterial properties. They are burnt and the ash is used for cleansing teeth and strengthening gums. The paste of the leaves is very effective in drying and healing the wounds. They are also used to treat ulcerative colitis. Jamun powder has the power to reduce skin blemishes.
The fruit is a good tonic and has cooling effect. The ripe black plum is liver stimulant. It is digestive and is light on stomach.
The fruit is also used to prepare beverages which serve the purpose of providing hydration and maintaining cool of the body during scorching summer months.The fruit is used to prepare vinegar which is a good carminative. It is administerd in cases of enlargement of spleen, chronic diarrhea and urin retention. The fruit contain very high amount vitamin A and C which make it a very good anti-oxidant. For ringworm treatment water diluted juice is used as lotion. The juice of the plum is effective in treating dycentry and diarrhea.
The seeds are very effective for treating diarrhea. They are dried and powdered and mixed with mango seed powder and jaggery for treating diarrhea.
Jamun seed has gastro-protective properties mainly through promotion of mucosal defensive factors. Jamun also has anti-cancer and antiviral potential.
Apart from health benefits, the Jamun tree is useful in many other ways. The foliage serves as fodder, for cattle, especially during the drought. The twigs form good datoon (tooth brush). The twig is also used as a rough painting brush for lettering addresses on ones gunny packs while moving household items from one place to another.
Jamun wood is used for posts, beams and rafters for general structure while constructing a house. It is also good for cart parts and well curves, for it lasts well under water applications.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna