Jamun (Syzygium cuminii), or black plum, is known by other names like Malabar plum, Portuguese plum, and Java plum. Belonging to the Myrtaceae family, black plum is an evergreen tree that can grow up to twelve feet wide and one hundred feet tall. Its bottle green leaves, which measure from three to six inches, are shiny, broad, long, and have a smooth feel.
The tree bears one and a half inch long green, oval fruit that turns purple when ripe and dark blue when fully mature. The seed, which is one to two centimeters long, has a bitter taste. The tree flowers from April to June and bears fruit from June to July.
Other terms used in India include: jambul (Hindi), kala jam (Bengali), jamalu (Punjabi), neredu chettu (Telugu), saval naval (Tamil), naval (Malayalam), and nerale (Kannada).
History and Cultivation of Black Plum
It is believed that black plum has been consumed since Neolithic times, when man consumed wild plums, nuts, and wild berries. In India, the fruit is revered as the ‘fruit of gods’ and is significant in Hindu mythology. Lord Rama, during his fourteen years in exile from Ayodhya, is believed to have consumed plums and berries, including black plum.
Black plum is native to Asia and grows in countries like Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. In 1911, the tree was introduced in Florida, U.S.A. The tree, which is both cultivated and grows freely in the wild, thrives alongside roads, in forests, and in backyards.
The parts used for medicinal purposes are the fruit, stem bark, leaf, and seed. Black plum extract can be made into juice (a dosage of 10-20 ml) or powder extract (a divided daily dose of 3-6 grams).
Benefits of Black Plum
Jamun is a vital Ayurvedic herb. However, precautions must be taken when eating the fruit, which should not be eaten on an empty stomach. Milk should also not be consumed after eating the fruit. They should also not be consumed to excess, as black plum can cause fevers and body aches.
Among other things, black plum is useful for controlling diabetics’ blood sugar levels. Aside from being a treatment for diabetes, the fruit’s health benefits include:
- Increases hemoglobin
- Reduces salivation
- Prevents fatigue and thirst due to physical strain (when mixed with honey)
- Promotes heart health
- Has antiseptic activity
- Relieves ulcers
- Treats skin disorders and boils
- Reduces acidity
- Treats anemia
- Removes sexual weakness
- Increases memory
- Promotes oral health
- Used to promote fair skin and beauty
Diabetes treatment The seeds are effective, as they contain jambosine (an alkaloid) and glycoside jamboline, which prevent starch’s conversion into sugar and, thus, control and regulate blood sugar levels. The seeds also contain phenols, flavonoids, calcium, and protein. The black plum seeds also contain iron, carotene, folic acid, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium.
Increases hemoglobin Jamun has vitamin C and iron, which help increase the body’s hemoglobin count. The iron also acts as a blood-purifying agent. As the blood is cleansed, it also translates externally into clear skin. Because of the high iron content, people suffering from jaundice and anemia should take black plum. Women during menstruation also lose blood, which makes the fruit useful for them as well.
Promotes heart health About one hundred grams of black plum contains fifty-five milligrams of potassium. Due to the high potassium content, black plum can help prevent or regulate heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Regular consumption of the fruit helps prevent arterial hardening.
Relieves ulcers Chewing and eating the leaves can help treat digestive disorders, as well as ulcers and diarrhea. The leaves are also significant in Ayurveda and help in preventing liver diseases like fibrosis and necrosis. Due to polyphenol (a phytochemical and bio-chemical substance), black plum can also be anti-carcinogenic. When taken along with black salt and roasted cumin powder, black plum relieves acidity.
Promotes oral health The leaves are antibacterial and used to strengthen gums and teeth. The leaves are also astringent, which makes them effective at treating throat issues. The bark’s decoction is used as a mouthwash, which helps to treat oral ulceration. Gargling of this decoction also helps to prevent gingivitis (bleeding gums). The powder, which is obtained through drying and burning the leaves, helps to control gum bleeding and infection.
The taste (rasa) of jamun is astringent, sweet, and sour. It has a dry quality and is light to digest. After digestion, the taste turns pungent. As it has a cooling energy, black plum’s effect on the tridoshas is that it can increase vata, but balance pitta and kapha.
In all, black plum is always mainly associated with diabetes. As it is also styptic and astringent, black plum can help relieve diarrhea, quickly heal wounds, and stops menorrhagia.