Rose apples are spongy, watery and tasteless fruits available during the summer months in Southern parts of India and in west Bengal. They give relief from thirst in the scorching heat just like ice apples. They have a distinct rose flavor, probably the reason they are called rose apples. These fruits are full of nutrition. They are tropical fruits and are also known as wax apple, water jambu, malabar rose and gulab jam fruit amongst many other names. They are bell shaped in pink, white and red colours. When crisp and firm they are considered to be ripe. These apples are crisp, watery and with a unique taste. They are eaten raw and used in various recipes.
An alkaloid called jambolin is found in the bark and roots of rose apple tree which is beneficial in lowering blood sugar levels. Rose apples are low in calories and high in anti-oxidants. They contain protein, fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, sodium, potassium and iron. They have no saturated fats and sugar. They have two seasons—May to July and Nov. to Dec.
- Diabetes: They are good for those suffering from diabetes owing to their anti-hyperglycemic properties. They act as a block against conversion of starch into sugar. An alkaloid called jambolin is found in the roots and bark of rose apple tree. This jambolin is helpful in lowering blood sugar levels in the body especially when pancreas is not working as in the case of diabetic.
- The seeds too have jambolin that can be dried and turned into powder. This powder can be added to water and drink three to four times a day to help reduce sugar in urine.
- Cancer: These fruits protect men from prostate cancer and women from breast cancer. Doctors suggest it including low fat and nutritious fruits and vegetables in diet to help prevent such cancers.
- Lowers cholesterol: Rose apples are rich in fiber and Vitamin C, which are proven to reduce cholesterol levels in the body.
- Stomach-related problems: The roots and seeds are used to treat dysentery and diarrhea.
- The fruit is good for the eyes and are known to prevent cataract. Rose apples are known as tonic for brain and liver. The leaf decoction is applied to sore eyes to give relief from irritation.
- Powdered leaves are applied on the body of a small pox affected person to give a cooling effect.
- The paste of the leaves is applied on the skin to get relief from itching.
- The leaf decoction is also used as diuretic and expectorant and treated for rheumatism.
- The high tannin content of rose apple bark extract gives its anti-biotic properties. It can also be made to use perfumes and ointments.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna