Cocona is known to have important medical properties. South American tribesmen used it to reduce high blood pressure, treat diabetes and cure headache. It was also employed as a treatment for burns and as a counter for venom and scabies. The plant's fruit is rich in nutrients but low on sugar, which makes it ideal for diabetes patients. It is especially rich in vitamin B5 and iron but is also a source of phosphorous and calcium. It contains bioactive compounds such as riboflavin, carotene and thiamine. Like many other fruits, it has a high content of soluble fibers while being low on calories. In traditional medicine, cocona is considered good for liver and kidney diseases and able to decrease the levels of uric acid and cholesterol. Cocona juice can cure burns, snakebite and poison.
The cocona fruit has a vivid orange color and is valuable because of its large size, similar to an oversized avocado. Its strong acidic taste makes it a popular ingredient in the cuisine of the Amazonian natives. The Indians who inhabit the South American jungles usually harvest the cocona fruit from the wild and eat it fresh after peeling it. However, it can also be included in salads or added to a variety of meat or fish dishes. It can be pickled or turned into candy and can be processed into jelly, paste or jam. With added sugar, it is an ingredient in pies and sauces. Cocona fruit can also be made into a delicious cold juice, sweetened with sugar. The special aroma of the cocona fruit makes it popular with many people, who are attracted by the exotic taste. It is easily paired with many other foods and combines the tomato-like taste of the flesh with the acidity of the pulp. Most commonly, it can be found as juice, sauce, ice cream or other types of sweets and desserts. It is a great choice for juices in particular, since it has both a very high proportion of water (close to 90%) and a valuable mix of vitamins and minerals.
Cocona does not tolerate frost and grows best when fully exposed to sun. It requires very good drainage but can otherwise thrive in soils rich in sand, clay or even limestone. Propagation is easily done in two ways. It grows well from seeds, and every fruit has at least 800 of them, sometimes up to 2000. It also propagates readily from cuttings taken from any existing plant. Seeds should be placed in a mixture of pot soil and sand, about half an inch deep, in rows spaced about 8 inches. Around 4-5 seeds can be planted in one container in order to get one or two vigorous plants. The time of germination is variable and can take between two and 8 weeks. The fertilizer of choice is 10-8-10 NPK and it should be applied six times per year, in doses between 1.8 and 2.5 ounces for every plant. The only exception is when the soil has a high content of phosphorous, when 10-20-10 fertilizer is the best. The first fruits appear half a year after seeding. The plant can fertilize itself but bees and other insects will be attracted by the nectar anyway, which can result in hybrids. After pollination, it takes 8 weeks for the fruit to be ready for harvest. One plant produces between 22 and 40 pounds of cocona fruits.