Indian Almond Tree
Indian almond tree is commonly found in many parts of India. This tree is a medicinal plant known as Terminalia Catappa. Popularly these almonds are known as Bengal badam, patli badam or jungle badam. The almonds of this tree are thin and small as compared to the almonds found elsewhere. The fruits are green in the beginning and then turn to magenta colour on ripening. The thought of these nuts make me nostalgic as I remember eating a lot of these nuts in my ancestral house during my childhood. Extracting the seed used to be cumbersome job as the crushing of the fruit used to splash a lot of colour on our hands. Often eating the fruit and colouring the mouth red used to be a lot of fun. The leaves are collected to closely knit them into a pattal (sort of plate) with finely cut coconut sticks. It is considered healthy to eat food in this leaf. These leaves are in great demand by those who breed fishes in tanks and aquariums. If you happen to pass by this tree do not ignore the fruits lying on the ground. Often you may find the nuts with dry fibre around them. If you pick up and break open you will find the kernel inside it. So don’t hesitate, pick it up.
- Of the entire tree nuts, almonds are considered to be the healthiest and rank high in protein content. These almonds are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and many other health promoting phyto- chemicals. These nuts contain all the essential nutrients needed for optimum health and wellness. They contain Vitamin E which is a powerful lipid soluble anti-oxidant. This is required for maintaining cell membrane integrity of mucus membranes and skin by protecting from harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Almonds are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids which protect us from coronary heart diseases and strokes by favouring healthy blood lipid profile.
- These nuts contain all the important B complex group of vitamins like niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pentothenic acid, B6 and folates.
- They also contain minerals such as manganese, which is crucial in preventing heart attacks and hypertension. There are other nutrients that promote heart health and prevent weight gain. They even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Magnesium helps regulate blood sugar. Calcium, iron, zinc, and selenium potassium are also packed in these nuts with numerous health promoting properties.
- Not only the nuts, leaves, bark and fruits too promote various health benefits.
- The leaves of this tree are considered to have anti-septic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic properties. Keeping these leaves in an aquarium may lower the pH and metal content of the water. They are capable of killing the fungi and bacteria that cause disease to the fish. They heal the bruises of the fish hurt in the fighting and help build up their immunity.
- They contain several flavonoids such as kaempferol, tannins, punicalin etc., due to which the leaves are used in different herbal medicines for human consumption too.
- The juice extract of this leaf is used for several liver diseases and skin diseases like scabies, leprosy etc.
- The bark of this tree is powered and boiled to use for gargling and to wash mouth to get rid of several mouth problems. The bark extract is taken internally for fevers and to control diarrhea, dysentery etc.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna