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Great For The Eyes & Anti-Inflammatory. Here Are The Health Benefits Of The Kaitha Fruit!

The Kaitha fruit, often confused with Bel, is packed with multiple health benefits! Kaitha fruit chutney lends itself well as an accompaniment to North Indian savouries like Kachoris, Samosas, Aloo Tikki & Chaat.

The Kaitha fruit, often confused with Bel, is packed with multiple health benefits! Kaitha fruit chutney lends itself well as an accompaniment to North Indian savouries like Kachoris, Samosas, Aloo Tikki & Chaat.

Kaitha fruit also known as the Elephant Apple has an  elephantine abundance of nutritional goodness!

Ayurveda also credits the Kaitha fruit with umpteen beneficial actions!

Kaitha fruit- The Elephant Apple aka The Monkey Fruit. Nope it’s not the Bel!

Kaitha trees were at one time a common part of the North Indian landscape. The fruits were fed to elephants and so earned the sobriquet- Elephant Apple.

This is not to say that they were not eaten by humans. The British gave them the name of Monkey Fruit because they are a favourite food of monkeys too !

The Bel fruit is often confused with kaitha. However they are just as different from each other as chalk from cheese. Unlike the Bel, Kaitha is much larger in size, it has a white shell as compared to the brown shell of the Bel. It is mostly sharply sour, the Bel is normally sweet.

Kaitha- The fruit blessed with an elephantine amount of goodness!

Farmers in arid areas of Gujarat and Rajasthan believe that if a Kaitha tree is overladen with fruit, it is a foreboding of scanty monsoons. So, if you are looking for a good monsoon, it would be a great idea to wish that the Kaitha trees do not fruit too much!

The Kaitha ( Botanical name– Limonia acidissima) grows on a sturdy tree that grows in arid or low rainfall areas. It is commonly found in semi- arid zones of our country in rural and forested areas. As is the case with most trees, it has all but disappeared from urban and semi- urban India.

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High antioxidant content

The Kaitha fruit is very sour, and like most sour fruits, it is super rich in Ascorbic acid ( Vitamin C ). The Kaitha is very rich in proteins (13.8 gms in about 150 gms of dried pulp). It is also rich in complex carbohydrates and low in lipids. The fruit pulp has rich antioxidant activity due to a high content of Vitamin C, tannins and saponins (alkaloids).

Kaitha fruit is Anti- Inflammatory

By virtue of being abundant in phytochemicals like Ascorbic acid, flavonoids and trace elements like Zinc, Selenium and Molybdenum, the fruit is highly beneficial in controlling the inflammatory triggers in our body.

Inflammatory reactions in the human body have been linked to a wide swathe of illnesses right from the Flu (could it be a preventive for covid 19… this merits research I believe), allergies and even type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Ayurveda credits Kaitha with umpteen beneficial actions.

  1. Good for eyes-  The juice of the kaitha tree leaf is very beneficial in eye ailments. It has a cooling vritti and thus is recommended to cool eyes affected with heat stroke. It’s also good for eye strain due to other reasons.
  2. Kaitha leaf juice is good for throat ailments. The alkaloid content of the juice creates an inhospitable environment for viruses and bacteria, thereby aiding in treating sore throat and accompanying flu conditions.
  3. The high mucin content of Kaitha fruit pulp is good for healing of the gastrointestinal lining. Therefore kaitha preserves like murabbas ( a sweet preserve), chutneys( a sweet and sour preserve) and sherbets ( a cooling drink) are recommended to patients recovering from digestive ailments and to those suffering from IBS and general dyspepsia ( indigestion).
  4. Kaitha fruit pulp is also beneficial for people suffering from haemorrhoids due to its astringent properties ( it being rich in tannins)
  5. Kaitha leaf is good for stopping incessant hiccups due to an allergen trigger because it is abundant in antihistamines (a class of chemicals that trigger allergies.

Recipes with Kaitha fruit

Kaitha chutney lends itself well as an accompaniment to North Indian savouries like Kachoris, Samosas, Aloo Tikki & Chaat. The pulp can be sweetened with natural sweeteners like jaggery to make healthy preserves and also used in sherbets.

The elephantine abundance of nutritional goodness is probably the reason nature wired an intelligent animal like the elephant to make it a part of its diet! Not to mention our simian cousins!

In summary, Kaitha is truly deserving of its name!

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