Tangy’ble kokum

Kokum lends a natural tangy taste to food, is a good preservative, and has a host of healing properties

There is so much spoken about spices and condiments like cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, and tamarind, but we hardly hear about kokum.

Kokum is a very good antioxidant [combats free radicals]. It is also rich in citric acid, hydroxicitric acid [HCA], malic acid, polyphenols and acetic acid. The seeds have between 23 – 25 per cent oil, which solidifies on room temperature and becomes like butter—kokum butter, which also has healing properties.

Kokum cures

Here are some of the health benefits of kokum.

  • Kokum has excellent antioxidant properties, which helps combat diseases like cancer and tuberculosis.
  • The hydroxicitric acid [HCA] that is present in kokum is used in lowering cholesterol.
  • It has been shown to be a good anti-obesity agent, as it suppresses synthesis of fatty acids, lipogenesis [conversion of sugar to fatty acids] and facilitates weight loss.
  • Its powder and decoction is used to prevent dehydration and loss of nutrients. It improves digestion and appetite; reduces constipation and provides relief from piles and fissures.
  • Traditional ayurvedic medicines use this fruit in infusions to treat skin ailments such as rashes, burns, and skin allergies. It is also known as a tonic for heart and liver in ayurveda.
  • Kokum mixed with sugar and the concoction [aagal] made from the same is a tasty drink, which is refreshing. It is also an excellent remedy for sunstroke/dehydration.
  • The bark and the seeds of the fruit are used in ayurvedic medicines for making powders or pastes.
  • The butter/oil from the seeds, which is similar to cocoa butter is used in making creams and moisturisers.
  • It helps prevent gastric disorders like constipation, diarrhoea, or gas trouble, aids digestion and builds appetite.
  • Kokum is commonly used during the canning process. It helps to increase the shelf-life of the product and also adds a particular flavour due to its tangy nature.

Kokum in our diet

dried kokumKokum can be added to dals, vegetables or curries, as a healthy replacement to tamarind or lemon, due to its high antioxidant properties. It is also very colourful when added as strips to salads or raitas and gives a little tangy flavour along with the reddish purple colour.

Kokum also helps to reduce the fish odour: 3 – 4 pieces of kokum are enough to make the curry flavoursome. Using it in pickles and chutneys adds sourness and increases its shelf-life.

The best part about kokum is that it is free of side-effects. Due to its astringent properties, avoid kokum if you suffer from arthritis or gout or joint pain, though.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. […] a very white butter which has a fairly mild odor, suitable for cosmetics and toiletries. Kokum Butter exhibits excellent emollient properties and high oxidative stability, which can assist emulsi…. With its relatively higher melt point, it melts slightly at skin temperatures making it ideal for […]

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