Monday, April 13, 2009

Otaheite gooseberry

The otaheite gooseberry fruits are shape oblate with 6 to 8 ribs; size about 1 to 2.5 cm wide; colored green to pale-yellow and turns to dark yellow when mature. The fruit is waxy, fleshy, crisp, juicy and highly acid. About four to six seeds are embedded in the center of the hard stone which is in middle of the fruit.

The fresh fruit can be eaten raw after removing the hard stone in it. When cooked with sugar, the fruit changes color to ruby red and from which a jelly is made, which can be then salted.

When the sliced raw flesh covered with sugar and let stand in the refrigerator for a day. The sugar content draws out the juice and modifies the acidity, which make the flesh and juice become a sauce.

Otaheite gooseberry are native to Madagascar, and then it was spread long ago by humans throughout much of India, southeast Asia, and some Pacific islands.

Medicinal uses

In India, the fruits are taken as liver tonic, to enrich the blood. The sirup is prescribed as a stomachic; and the seeds are cathartic. The leaves, with added pepper, are poulticed on sciatica, lumbago or rheumatism.

A decoction of the leaves is given as a sudorific. Because of the mucilaginous nature of the leaves, they are taken as a demulcent in cases of gonorrhea.

The root is drastically purgative and regarded as toxic in Malaya but is boiled and the steam inhaled to relieve coughs and headache. The root infusion is taken in very small doses to alleviate asthma. Externally, the root is used to treat psoriasis of the soles of feet.

The juice of the root bark, which contains saponin, gallic acid, tannin and a crystalline substance which may be lupeol, has been employed in criminal poisoning.

The acrid latex of various parts of the tree is emetic and purgative.