Saturday, December 16, 2017

Super fruits – 7th edition


Super FruitsThis time we’re focusing on one fruit that smells particularly bad but is reputed to have great medicinal properties, as well as a nut which isn’t really a nut.




Noni fruit

Believed to be originally from Southeast Asia, the Noni tree grows today in most of the world’s tropical regions. The fruit looks and smells unappealing, but based on the findings of preliminary scientific studies, the noni fruit is reputed to have numerous health benefits. Historically, noni was used to make a red or yellow dye for clothing. It was also used as medicine, usually applied to the skin.

 noni fruit

The fruit
The fruit starts off green, turns to yellow and then white. When ripe it has a pungent aroma. It has a bitter, unpleasant taste and is not eaten in the Dominican Republic but noni juice is available in some supermarkets and from home cultivators.

noni fruit

How to eat it
Most people recommend ingesting Noni fruit in the form of juice, adding lemon juice to mask the pungent taste.  

noni fruit juice

The good stuff inside
Noni Fruit contains a whole list of vitamins, iron, potassium and many other good things. It is known for its antibacterial, antifungal, anti-histamine, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activity.

People orally ingest noni against colic, convulsions, cough, diabetes, painful urination, fever, liver disease, constipation, vaginal discharge during pregnancy, malarial fever, and nausea. It is also said to stimulate menstrual flow. Issues such as smallpox, enlarged spleen, swelling, asthma, arthritis and other bone and joint problems, cancer, cataracts, colds, depression, digestive problems, and gastric ulcers can also be alleviated through ingestion.   Noni is sometimes also applied to the skin as a moisturizer and to reduce signs of aging.

WebMD however warns that the effectiveness of noni for these uses has not been proven.

Other parts of the Noni tree
The leaves are used for arthritis by wrapping around the affected joint; for headache by applying to the forehead; and for burns, sores, and wounds by direct application. A mixture of leaves and fruit is applied to abscesses, and preparations of the root are used on stonefish and sting-ray wounds.

noni fruit tree

Cashew or Cajuil
Originally from North East Brazil, this is tree now grows in most tropical regions.  The large fruit that grow on the tree have external seeds, which are subsequently roasted to create the well-known and very tasty cashew nut. The fruit is inedible. The seed has to be roasted otherwise it’s poisonous.

Cashew nut tree

How to eat it
Processed seeds are safe to eat. Don’t try to eat a raw cashew.

Cashew nut

The good stuff inside
Cashews are very high in calories and are packed with soluble dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and numerous health-promoting phyto-chemicals that help protect from diseases and cancers.

They are also an abundant source of essential minerals. Minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium are concentrated in these nuts. A handful of cashew nuts a day in the diet would provide enough of these minerals and can help prevent deficiency diseases.

Cashew nut

Other uses
The cashew nutshell is mostly composed of acids, and the liquid extracted as a byproduct when processing cashew nuts, has been used effectively against tooth abscesses. The same liquid is also used for anti-termite treatment of timber. In Guyana, the bark is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal.  Seeds are sometimes also ground into powders used as an anti-venom for snake bites. The nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.

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