Wax Apple

Syzygium samarangense

Herbs gallery - Wax Apple

Common names

  • Bell Fruit
  • Cloud Apple
  • Jamaican Apple
  • Java Apple
  • Mountain Apple
  • Royal Apple
  • Water Apple
  • Wax Apple
  • Wax Jambu

Wax apple (scientific name Syzygium samarangense) is native to the tropical regions of the world and grows up to a height of up to 12 meters. This tree bears evergreen leaves measuring 10 cm to 25 cm in length and anything between 5 cm and 10 cm broad. The flowers of wax apple tree are white and measure about 2.5 cm across. Each flower has four petals and several stamens.

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The edible fruits of wax apple are bell-shaped and their color varies from white to light green or green or red to crimson and purple, and from dark purple to black. The fruits of the wild plants measure about 4 cm to 6 cm in length. The flowers of wax apple and even the fruits that follow are not just confined to the leaf axils, but they may appear on any part of the tree's trunk and branches. The wax apple tree is regarded as a heavy bearer and each tree may yield as many as 700 fruits annually.

Ripened wax apple fruits become puffed externally, having a somewhat concave shape in the center of the bell's base. Wax apple fruits that are healthy have a slight polish. Notwithstanding their name, the ripened wax apple fruits only have a resemblance to apples, particularly the color of their skin. However, the taste of wax apple is completely different from that of regular apples. They also do not have apple's aroma or density.

Wax apples taste somewhat like snow pears, while the fruit's liquid to flesh ratio can be compared to that of watermelon. However, different from both apple and watermelon, the flesh of wax apple is very loosely woven. The seeds of this fruit are located in the middle in a cotton-candy type mesh, which can also be eaten, but it is tasteless. The color of wax apple's juice varies from one cultivar to another. The color may vary from purple to being completely colorless.

Parts used

Fruits, leaves, roots.

Uses

Wax apple fruits have different applications. They are used for therapeutic as well as culinary purpose and you can also consume the ripened fruits raw out-of-the-hand. In traditional medicine, these fruits are used to treat several diseases. The fruits possess astringent, anti-microbial, diuretic, carminative, and anti-scorbutic properties.

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While the leaves, fruits and seeds of wax apple are used to reduce fever, the roots of this herb possess diuretic properties.

Consuming wax apple fruits during summer is particularly helpful, because they not only satiate thirst, but also keep the body well hydrated. These fruits also help to avoid sunstroke and help us to get rid of all the negative consequences of dehydration. They are comforting for the stomach as well as the intestines when you eat them with a pinch of salt. In traditional Chinese medicine, the flowers of wax apple are employed to cure diarrhea and fever. The flowers of this herb possess astringent properties.

There are several other health benefits of consuming wax apple fruits. They are employed to cure high blood pressure (hypertension), in addition to several inflammatory conditions like sore throat.

Vescalagin, a chemical compound found in wax apple, has anti-hyper triglyceridemic and anti-hyperglycemic activities, which are helpful in bringing down the blood sugar as well as triglyceride levels.

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It has been seen that jambu (wax apples are often referred to by this name as they contain an alkaloid called jambosine) has anti-fungal and antibiotic activities against Candida, Staphylococcus aureus, and mycobacterium smegmatis.

It has been found that an extract obtained from the leaves of wax apple has immune-modulatory effects. In addition, the wax apple fruit has been employed in the form of an anticonvulsant as well as a sedative. The antimicrobial property of the fruit is effective in treating the herpes virus. It also acts to inhibit the release of histamine.

As the rose-hued wax apple fruits contain high levels of dietary fiber, they are helpful in ensuring the health of our digestive system and, at the same time, are effective in preventing constipation.

An alkaloid, known as jambosine, is found in the barks and roots of the wax apple tree. Many of the health benefits offered by this tree, especially its fruits, are attributed to this alkaloid, which is very useful for people suffering from diabetes. This compound possesses the aptitude to lower the level of blood sugar. This attribute of wax apple is significant considering the fact that the pancreas of diabetic patients does not function normally. While scientists are still studying the health benefits of jambosine, it is worth mentioning here that the glycemic index of wax apples is very low, making it one among the small number of fruits, counting apples and grapefruits, which are beneficial for people with diabetes.

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The fruits of wax apple are beneficial for all, not just people with diabetes. These fruits are said to be beneficial for the health of our liver, blood and brains. Some people also use the leaves and seeds of this herb therapeutically to treat asthma and fever. You may also use the juice of wax apple as a substitute for pharmaceutical diuretics. On the other hand, the seeds of this fruit may be employed to cure diarrhea.

While wax apples offer several health benefits, they should be consumed cautiously. Eating too many wax apple fruits may result in itchiness or inflammation of the throat, thereby causing coughing. It is ideal to eat just three to four wax apple fruits in a day.

Aside from being beneficial for people with diabetes, wax apple fruits are useful for everyone as they contain several nutrients. Including these palatable fruits in our daily diet enhances its nutritional value. Intake of vinegar prepared from wax apple may be effective in putting off kidney stone formation. At the same time, these fruits are helpful for the digestive process, in addition to lowering the cholesterol levels.

Culinary uses

Aside from their therapeutic uses, wax apple fruits are also used for culinary purposes. People inhabiting the several islands in the Indian Ocean often use wax apple fruits in salads. They also use the fruit in delicately sautéed dishes.

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Wax apples are also common in India's East Godavari district located in Andhra Pradesh. These plants are mostly found growing in the arid lands of Rajanagaram mandal, areas surrounding the G. Donthamuru village. In the local dialect, Telugu, wax apple fruits are referred to as kammari kayalu. In addition to Andhra Pradesh, you can also find wax apple trees in India's Kerala, where the fruit is known as Chambakka or Champakka. While people usually consume ripened wax apples raw in the form of a fruit, sometimes they are also utilized for making pickles.

Wax apple fruits are also utilized for making vinegar as well as wine. The juice extracted from the ripened fruits is used for making jelly, jam, different types of sauces and a variety of beverages. Aside from consuming ripe wax apple fruits raw, you can also use them in the form of salad dressings. Alternatively, you can also dip the fruits in fairly sweet and spicy sauces.

However, these pink-hued fruits are more succulent as well as tasty when you eat them raw out-of-hand. In fact, they are more suited for this purpose. People in Malaya eat the unripe greenish wax apple fruits raw with a pinch of salt. Sometimes they also cook the unripe fruits like a sauce. In addition, these fruits are mixed with real apples to prepare a stew.

Habitat and cultivation

Wax apple (Syzygium samarangense) plants belong to the family Myrtaceae. This species has its origin in an area which comprises the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Sunda Islands and Peninsula. However, in ancient times, this species was introduced to many other regions, as a result of which this plant is now cultivated extensively in the tropical regions across the world. You can cultivate these plants for aesthetic purposes as well as commercially.

Constituents

Wax apple fruits contain several nutrients, which offer us various health benefits. For instance, these fruits supply us with vitamin C, protein, and dietary fiber. In addition, they are also a natural resource for some essential minerals like calcium and iron. The best thing about wax apple fruits is that they do not contain any sugar or saturated fat. On the other hand, wax apple fruits also contain very small amounts of sodium. The roots and barks of this tree contain an alkaloid known as jambosine. Moreover, these fruits also contain elevated amounts of polyphenols and flavonoids.

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