From time immemorial, this wood apple has been in use in our country. There is a reference of this fruit in our traditional Sangam literature, ‘Natrinai’ wherein it is mentioned that this can be mixed with curd in the pot for more deliciousness. This has many medicinal values. It has ritual significance too – during Vinayaka Chadhurthi, it is also one of the favourite fruits offered to Lord Ganesha. Similarly, Lord Siva prefers five most important elements including the leaves of this wood apple.
This is the designated tree of Visakam star. It is believed that because of the adverse rays of this star, some married couples are not fortunate enough to beget children and they are advised to relax under the shade of this wood apple tree to get them relieved of the ill-effects.
Besides the above, people who suffer from gastric problems, infection, cough, asthma, allergy, diabetes, anxiety-syndrome and uterus-related issues can benefit if they relax under the shade of wood apple tree.
The botanical name of this wood apple tree is Feronia Elephantum. In ayurvedic science, it is mentioned that those who plant this tree will be spared from hell after their departure. However, not many people come forward to plant this tree like others for no specific reason and hence it has become little rare in the flora world. This tree can be seen more in the forest regions apart from house gardens and temples. This will grow under any condition of soil and water and will grow up to 30 ft. easily. Leaves will be found in clusters with good odour. The fruits will be perfect round in shape and the inner skin will have the colour of the tree and the seeds will be white in colour.
The trees other names are kadipagai,kabitham, pitham,kavitham, vilavu, thandhasadam and velli. The various parts of this wood apple tree like tender leaves, leaves, fruit, tree barks, shell of the fruit and the gum have tremendous medicinal values. Some will spread horizontally and they are called nila vila. Some will grow as small trees and they are called siddhi vila and some will grow into big trees which are called peru vila in the field.
The taste of the wood apple before it ripes will be astringent. Once it ripes, the taste will be a combination of sour and astringent. The fruit can be mixed with palm jaggery or sugar and consumed. It will improve appetite, blood secretion, arrests vomiting and controls diarrhea. It will strengthen intestine and increase sperm counts. It will control acidity and the headache on account of that. It will shrink nerves and also removes sputum
We can heat the wood apple, take out pulp and then mix it with chilli, onion, coriander, toor dhal and salt. The resultant paste can be taken with rice which will be delicious for the taste buds.
The pulp can be mixed with honey and Indian long pepper powder and eaten in order to control hiccups and breathlessness.
The fruit generally cures mouth ulcer, excess secretion of saliva and gum-related diseases.
It will improve appetite.
Post-delivery women can take it as porridge to strengthen inner organs.
Wood apple, even before ripening, can be used. We can boil the fruits in a pot and take out the pulp, mix it with curd and if taken continuously for three days in the morning, it will cure purging and diarrhoea.
Similarly, in the same above process, the pulp can be mixed with tamarind, salt and coriander to make it like a paste. This can be taken along with rice for a week to cure acidity. The porridge form will cure piles related problems also
The outer shell can be ground and powdered and a lime size of it can be taken with hot water daily in the morning for 21 days by men who want to do away with their sex urge. If done continuously for 21 days, it will dilute the semen and make them hate not only sex urge but also women on the ground of sex.
The offspring of wood apple can be taken like equivalent to a lime size and crushed with milk and sugar cubes for oral consumption so that it would take care of lack of appetite, cough with phlegm, loss of weight, acidity and body heat.
The powder of the leaves (10 gm) with butter milk can cure purging, if taken thrice daily.
If the same is taken for two days, the stomach ache will be cured completely.
The tender leaves of wood apple and citrus medica, curry leaves and lime leaves can equally dried and powdered in mixie. 100 gms of this powder can be mixed with 10 gm.each of pepper, nutmeg and again mixed with dried and powdered 100 gm. kadalai paruppu and 20 gm.salt. This resultant powder can be taken with rice daily so that acidity will be cured; will improve appetite and prevent vomiting sensation, unnecessary secretion of water in the mouth etc. It will add strength to the body, in general.
The wood apple tree gum can be dried and powdered. Women can eat this a bit with butter both in the morning and evening in order to cure their problems like white discharge, excess bleeding during menstruation, ulcers in their inner organs etc. There is a caution to be observed that while taking this as a medicine, salt should be avoided in the food.
Thus the wonders of wood apple are countless!
(This article written by Maria Belsin has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)