Custard Apple

Annona reticulata

Herbs gallery - Custard Apple

Common names

  • Buddha Fruit
  • Bullock's Heart
  • Bull's Heart
  • Custard Apple
  • Ox Heart
  • Wild Sweetsop

A sweet fruit, custard apple (botanical name Annona reticulata) is grown in many places throughout the world. Custard apple is a compound fruit that measures anything between 3 1/4 inches and 6 1/2 inches (8 cm and 16 cm) across. This fruit may be uniformly heart-shaped, irregular or even lopsided. Sometimes, this fruit may be almost oblate or round having a shallow or deep dent at its base. The covering or skin of this fruit is quite thin and when ripe, it generally changes to yellowish or slightly brownish. Beneath the covering or the skin lies a dense, creamy-white layer of flesh that is granular and akin to that of custard. This succulent flesh encases small black solid seeds. Custard apple has a sweet and pleasant flavour. Apart from being flavourful, custard apple offers several nutritional and health benefits.

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Usually, the custard apple trees are quite large and branching. They produce large, green-hued sagging leaves that provide ample shade. These trees bear copious number of pale yellow blooms that are shaped like trumpets and emit a noxious, sweet smell, particularly later on in the afternoon at what time the male pollen sacs of the flowers open up. Only a small number of these flowers develop into fruits.

Although the custard apple is a popular fruit, very few people are aware of the benefits offered by the tree, which is not much attractive. Custard apple trees grow erect, while their crown is circular and usually distributing. The trunk of the tree is roughly 10 inches to 14 inches thicker. Usually, custard apple trees grow up to a height of anything between 4.5 meters and 10 meters. This is a deciduous tree whose leaves appear alternately on the branches and have varying shapes - oblong to lanceolate. Although the smell of the custard apple leaves is not pleasing, they are usually broad with visible veins.

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Custard apple trees generally have elongated wilting branches that may possibly touch the ground. These trees produce copious trumpet-shaped light yellowish flowers that emit a somewhat sweet fragrance during the night. Custard apple trees belong to the Annonaceae family. The fruits are very flavourful and may be used in various different ways. Some people enjoy eating the fruits from hand, while there are many others who prefer consuming them in ice creams or maybe even in the form of a tart.

Parts used

Fruit, bark, leaves, seeds.

Uses

People with hyper thyroidism will find custard apple to be a very beneficial fruit. It is also a good fruit for people who desire to add some body weight. Combining custard apple with some honey may actually help a person to get the essential calories.

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Custard apple is rich in vitamins like riboflavin and vitamin C. As a result consumption of this fruit facilitates fighting the detrimental free radicals and destroying them before they harm the healthy cells in our body. In addition, consumption of custard apple may be useful for the health of our eyes and maintain an excellent eye-sight.

When we talk about digestion, we refer to the mechanical and chemical break down of the ingested foods into smaller and simpler substances that can be easily assimilated by our body and subsequently transported into the bloodstream. In fact, digestion is a form of catabolism wherein the macro food particles are broken down into smaller and simpler substances.

Custard apple, which has a plainly sweet taste, can also be useful in promoting the functioning of our digestive system. In fact, many people believe that consuming fresh custard apple helps to get a soluble fiber naturally. In addition, consuming this fruit also improves digestion by making the stools soft. Custard apple also helps in peristalsis (the progressive contraction and relaxation of the muscles of the alimentary canal). This fruit contains the essential mineral magnesium, which may possibly facilitate continuous and problem-free relaxation of the muscles in the alimentary canal, thereby helping in curing stomach conditions like diarrhea and dysentery.

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Our heart is a muscular organ usually of the size of a closed fist. It is located just at the back and to some extent towards the left of the breastbone. This organ propels blood from the veins into the arteries - known as the cardiovascular system. The human heart has four distinct compartments.

As custard apple contains sufficient amounts of magnesium and potassium, this fruit is recommended for everyone. Magnesium works to relax the smooth muscles present in the heart's wall and also smooth any tweaking or cramping of these muscles, thereby preventing the chances of having strokes and heart attacks. On the other hand, presence of satisfactory amounts of potassium in custard apple helps to regulate the levels of blood pressure, thereby maintaining the normal cardiovascular function.

The condition known as rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease that results in continuous swelling at the main joints in our body. This condition is characterized by swelling of the tissues in the region of the joints and inflammation. However, rheumatoid arthritis may also develop from injuries to various internal organs. Generally, autoimmune diseases are health issues that occur when the tissues are assaulted by the body's own defence system. It may be noted here that the immune system of our body is a complicated arrangement of cells and antibodies formed to find out and destroy the free radicals and various microbes that intrude the body - bacterial infections in particular. In fact, people suffering from autoimmune disease have antibodies in their bloodstream that attack the tissues of their body, precisely where any swelling may occur. As autoimmune diseases possess the aptitude to assault many other organs of the body, generally rheumatoid arthritis is called an endemic disease.

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Medical experts assert that since custard apple contains rich amounts of magnesium, it may help to regulate the balance of water inside the body. When the water content in the body is controlled, it helps to get rid of acids by way of the joints. This, in turn, helps to alleviate the signs of arthritis and rheumatism.

It is really hard to precisely explain what exhaustion or fatigue is. This is primarily owing to the fact that majority of the people have their individual perception regarding exhaustion. It is true that all of us become exhausted at some point or the other. However, lack of adequate sleep - sound and good quality sleep - is the most common cause for exhaustion.

Apart from insufficient sleep, exhaustion may also occur due to several ailments. When a person is sick, he/ she requires more rest or sleep in order to promote the curative process. Lack of adequate sleep may affect the performance of an individual at work or in office. Moreover, an individual generally feels exhausted when he is enduring a low in his life.

It has been established that custard apple supplies us with plenty of energy. On the one hand, this fruit aids in combating fatigue and weakness. On the other hand, the presence of sufficient potassium in custard apple helps to get rid of muscle debility.

Healing is a natural process that corrects all anomalies and instabilities in our system to make certain that all signs as well as symptoms of stress or sickness are controlled properly. At times, the defence or curative mechanisms of our body are not sufficient to deal with various health issues confronted by our body. In such circumstances, we require help from other people or depend on outside help. While use of drugs may prove to be helpful for a brief while, in the long run they are harmful. Drugs may cure us temporarily, but it is essential that while we use curative means, we also ensure that they do not cause any side effects and are good for our overall health.

Precisely speaking, healing is a process that helps us to eliminate all imbalances and restore the normal equilibrium of the body and mind.

It is interesting to note that applying the fleshy part of custard apple topically to any wound or injury will not only help to speed up the healing process, but also prevent the area from being infected. Custard apple contains potent antioxidants similar to vitamin C and these help to combat free radicals inside our body and, at the same time, speed up the healing of wounds.

Anemia is one health condition that affects all our body parts and system. When one is suffering from this condition, the red blood count in his/ her bloodstream falls drastically. In fact, anemia affects the hemoglobin (a type of protein) in the bloodstream. Hemoglobin is used by the red blood cells to transport oxygen to all parts of our body, thereby helping the different organs and parts of our body to function normally and healthily. Dearth of red blood cells as well as hemoglobin in the bloodstream results in inadequate supply of oxygen to the tissues, affecting their normal functioning. At the same time, this creates a burden on the heart and the lungs to perform harder to supply additional oxygen to the body areas where there is need for it.

It has been found that custard apple possesses excellent expectorant properties. In addition, this fruit also serves as an effective coolant, catalyst and haematinic (an agent that helps to promote red blood cell and hemoglobin production). Custard apple is also effective for treating anemia.

The word cancer has its origin in the Latin phrase that means crab. The disease has been aptly named as it persistently sticks on to the patient and does not go. Cancer, in fact, identifies a latest development that occupies the tissues it encompasses. This disease metastases (spreads to other internal organs) and may even lead to the death of the patient eventually, provided the patient does not undertake timely treatment.

Often news of our family members and friends suffering from cancer distress us. Many a times, people confuse cancer to be a tumour. Actually, tumour and cancer are two different things. While a cancer is definitely a form of tumour, but all tumours are not cancerous growths. When we talk about tumour, we actually mean a mass. For instance, a mass of pus is one of the simplest definitions of tumour. On the other hand, cancer is a dreadful type of tumour. Therefore, while we are talking about cancer analysis, it is always better to have a clear idea regarding the two - tumour and cancer.

Apart from the fruit, the bark of custard apple tree also possesses therapeutic properties. The bark, which possesses astringent attributes, is used to prepare herbal supplements. It is believed that the leaves of the custard apple are effective for treating tumours as well as cancer. On the other hand, the bark is used to alleviate tooth ache and gum pain.

As discussed earlier, custard apples are packed with vitamin C, a potent and effective antioxidant that helps to protect our body from damages caused by free radicals. In addition, vitamin C also safeguards us from contacting contagious diseases, in addition to perking up the immune system. Vitamin C is reputed for its role as anti-viral and anti-cancer agent.

A paste prepared from the succulent flesh of custard apple may be employed for topical application on boils, abscesses and even ulcers.

Unripe custard apple fruits can be cleaned, dried and pulverized into a powdered form, which is effective for treating dysentery and diarrhea. Even the seeds of custard apple are known to possess abortifacient and insecticidal attributes.

Culinary uses

Custard apple is used in various different ways. Usually, people eat the fresh fruit in the form of a dessert or snack. The ripe fruit can be opened by pressing it between your hands. Then scoop out the soft, succulent, sweet flesh of the fruit using a spoon and enjoy the fruit.

Most people usually eat custard apple out of their hand. Alternatively, they also mix it with other fruits in a fruit salad. You may also use this fruit to prepare a typical fruit sorbet, make chutney, add the fresh fruit as a cake filling or even consume it in the form of a side dish like curries or a barbecue. You can prevent the cut fruit from turning brown if you squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on its fleshy part. Custard apple, similar to other different tropical fruits, has a preference for warm and moist climatic conditions.

In addition, in some areas, such as in Florida, people often use custard apple for ornamental purposes.

Habitat and cultivation

Annona reticulata or custard apple is native to the West Indies. This herb has a preference for warm and moist climatic conditions. Custard apple is generally propagated by its seeds. Occasionally, this species is also propagated by means of grafting, budding or inarching.

Constituents

Although many people may not be aware of it, custard apple is packed with vitamin C - a potent antioxidant that aids in combating the harmful free radicals. This fruit also contains vitamin A, which is beneficial for the health of our eyes, skin and hair. Custard apple is also rich in magnesium content. This essential mineral has an important role in unwinding the muscles as well as protecting us from developing heart diseases.

Apart from these nutrients, custard apple also contains vitamin B6 and potassium. It also contains copper in good amounts. You will understand the true worth of consuming custard apple when you come to know that it is an excellent natural resource of fiber that promotes digestion and bowel movements.

Collection and harvesting

Custard apple fruits are picked manually when their color starts changing from green to yellow.

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