Some nutritional and medicinal plants

health Sep 16, 2021

Sapota (Achras Sapota)

Sapota is a tropical fruit, and it is native to Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Now, it is grown in large quantities in our country for its fruit value. A gum-like substance is obtained from its latex which is used for the preparation of chewing gum.
Useful parts of Sapota Plant are bark, seed and fruit. Fruit is a storehouse of nutrients, vitamins, minerals, glucose, tannins and calories.  It is also used as an appetizer.
Bark is also nutritional and used as a tonic.

Sapodilla Fruits. They're twins.
Photo by Utsman Media / Unsplash

Medicinal uses:

Sapota is preventive against nausea, fever, hepatic disorders, hypertension, and diseases arising out of malnutrition.
The anti-inflammatory properties of Sapota juice prevent health problems like gastritis and bowel disorders and also help in removing waste from the belly. Regular consumption of Sapota juice provides essential nutrients required for a healthy hair.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per 100 grams
Calories 83

Total Fat                      1.1 g
Cholesterol                 0 mg
Sodium                        12 mg
Potassium                    193 mg
Total Carbohydrate       20 g
Dietary fibre                   5 g
Protein                           0.4 g
Vitamin A          1%
Vitamin C          24%
Calcium         2%
Iron                       4%
Magnesium        3%

Custard Apple (Annona squamosa)

The custard apple is believed to be a native of the West Indies but it was carried in early times through Central America to southern Mexico. At present, its cultivation is widespread. Custard apple also called Sugar-apple is rich in energy, and serves as a stimulant, coolant, expectorant and haematinic. The iron present in it is useful in treating anaemia. The kernel of the fruit is toxic.

Fresh sugar apple or Custard apple growing almost ripe on tree in the back garden at Indonesia. Tropical fruit custard apple on nature green background.
Photo by Muhamad Farihin / Unsplash

Medicinal uses:

The parts of this plant used medicinally are leaf, bark, root, seed and fruit.
Decoction of Custard apple leaves is a good remedy for cold, for clear urination and killing lice. Antioxidants of its leaves help prevent cancer.
Bark decoction of it controls diarrhoea.
Bark can be used to treat toothache and pain in gums.
Root decoction is used to reduce fever. Root is used to treat dysentery.
Its seeds are used for wound healing.
Fruit is a good appetizer. It lowers risk of diabetes. Antihyperglycemic (blood glucose-lowering) effect of it will prevent the condition of diabetic persons from getting worse.
Phytochemicals like tannins and flavonoids lower heart disease risk.
The paste of the flesh is used to treat boils, abscesses and ulcers.
The chances of rheumatism and other forms of arthritis are reduced due to the regular intake of custard apples.
Vitamin B6, of it helps reduce sore tongue, convulsion and depression.
Fruit intake helps people who are underweight to increase their body weight. Obese people are advised to avoid eating custard apple as it helps to gain weight.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per 100 grams
Calories    94

Total Fat --      0.3 g

Cholesterol---   0 mg
Sodium----          9 mg
Potassium   ---- 247 mg
Iron    ---           0.42 mg
Calcium -----     17.6 mg
Phosphorous   -- 14.7mg
Total Carbohydrate 24 g
Dietary fibre    -----    4.4 g
Protein        --        2.1 g
Vitamin ---           60%
Vitamin B-6---  10%
Calcium --- 2%
Iron --              3%
Magnesium -- 5%

Jack fruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus)

Jackfruit is an exotic tropical fruit and it is the national fruit of Bangladesh and the state fruit of the Indian states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Jackfruit is the largest tree fruit in the world. The wood of the tree is used for the production of musical instruments. The fruit is often used as a meat substitute due to its texture. The taste of the fruit is similar to a combination of fruits, including apples, pineapples, mangoes and bananas.
The flesh of the jackfruit is starchy, fibrous and is a source of dietary fibre.

Photo by Vinod Kumar / Unsplash

Medicinal uses:

Parts of medicinal use are ripe fruit, seeds and leaves.
Various parts of the plant medicinally used to treat smallpox, flatulence, indigestion, anorexia, swellings and infection.
Jackfruit extract improves blood sugar levels.  
Eating it may slow the aging of the skin.
Ripe fruit is eaten raw and seeds are fried and eaten. Jackfruit seeds can be taken directly to prevent constipation.
Fruit is rich in magnesium, which helps reduce the risk of many diseases, such as heart disease, osteoporosis, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per 100 grams
Calories -- 95
Total Fat --           0.6 g
Cholesterol ---      0 mg
Total Carbohydrate - 23 g
Protein - --           1.7 g
Dietary fibre -----      1.5 g
Vitamin A         2%
Vitamin C        22%
Vitamin B-6       15%
Calcium       2%
Iron                       1%
Magnesium       7%

Papaya (Carica papaya)

It is a tropical exotic fruit that was previously a rare fruit, native to Mexico and northern South America. But, now available in most tropical regions of the world.
The latex derived from the raw papaya fruit is used as a meat tenderizer and is also used in the manufacturing of certain chewing gums, several cosmetic, skin, and beauty products.
Unripe papaya is used as a vegetable.

Photo by Happy Patel / Unsplash

Medicinal uses:

The part of this plant that is medicinally useful is fruit.
The latex of unripe fruit is used to treat bleeding piles, dysentery, herpes and tape worms.
Whole unripe fruit is used to treat jaundice and gastric ulcers.
Ripen fruit cures flatulence.
Papaya is important for eye health, because of the presence of an antioxidant Zeaxanthin, which filters out harmful blue light rays. It also reduces the effect of macular degeneration which is an age-related illness.
Papaya juice contains an enzyme papain similar to the pepsin enzyme produced by the human gut and it helps in digestion. It also helps in treating constipation.
Medically, papain containing ointment is used externally to remove the roughened skin from wounds. It also exhibits pain relieving properties and is used in spinal injections to ease the discomfort of slipped discs. It regulates menstruation.

Nutritional Facts

Amount per 100 grams
Calories 43

Total Fat -   0.3 g
Cholesterol    -    0 mg
Sodium         8 mg
Potassium          182 mg
Total Carbohydrate   11 g
Dietary fibre        1.7 g
Protein              0.5 g
Vitamin A           19%
Vitamin C 101%
Vitamin B-6 10%
Calcium 2%
Iron               1%
Magnesium 5%


A. Sandhya

M.Sc Zoology

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