Wellness from Within
Native to the Western Ghats—both coastal and inland— kokum is a slender evergreen tree, with branches thick with leaves. The tree bears flowers from November to February, and come summer it bears round green fruit that ripens to a deep pink-purple colour, sour taste and a bundle of goodness, specially vitamin C. Kokum has cooling properties, which makes it an ideal ingredient for sol kadi, a pink soup-like preparation of coconut milk and kokum; kokum sherbet; and adding it to curries especially in the hot months. Kokum has many health benefits as it contains vitamin C. It contains the active ingredient garcinol that has antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties, is high on fibre, is low on sugar and has no cholesterol. “Centuries before the spice became a staple in Konkani cuisine, Ayurvedic physicians used it to treat sores and prevent infections, improve digestion, stop diarrhea and constipation, soothe the sore joints of rheumatoid arthritis, cure ear infections, and heal ulcers. It is also a folk remedy for fever and skin rashes,” writes Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, in Healing Spices. Recent research indicates that kokum aids weight loss.