The tree is spiny with feather like leaves and reddish flowers. Its leaves are not only aromatic but also possess some astringent and carminative properties. The gum that the stem exudes has a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes.
Wood apple is a whitish spherical fruit, with a hard woody pericarp and aromatic pulp. The surface of the fruits and branches is very rough and covered with a white bloom. The ripe fruit is refreshing, aromatic, digestive and a tonic.
Wood apple is rich in oxalic, malic citric acid and a concentrated tannic acid. The leaves yield an essential oil. Wood apple consists of moisture 64.2 percent, protein 7.1 percent, fat 3.7 percent, minerals 1.9 percent, fiber 5.0 percent and carbohydrates 18.1 percent per 100 grams. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, iron, phosphorus, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and vitamin.
Botanical Name: Feronia limonida
Indian Name: Kaith
Below are some of the medicinal properties of wood apple:
- A mixture of the ripe pulp of the fruit, cardamom, honey, and cumin seeds taken regularly in the morning tones up sagging breasts. It is also useful in preventing cancer of the breast and uterus and helps cure sterility due to a deficiency of the hormone progesterone. About 90 grams of the sap of the fresh bark, 2 corn of pepper, a few drops of pure cow's ghee and a dessertspoon of honey, prevents any post-partum complications. It is taken twice daily immediately after childbirth.
- Mashed seedless pulp of the raw fruit is useful in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and piles. The pulp of the ripe fruit, mixed with cardamom, honey and cumin seeds is effective for indigestion, diarrhea and piles. The gum is also beneficial in oozing from the stem when cut or broken can be beneficially used in bowel affections. It also relieves tenesmus, that is, powerful straining to relieve the bowels.
- Juice of the tender leaves, given with milk and sugar, is highly beneficial in bowel complaints of children. A powder of the leaves can also be taken in 2 to 4 grams doses for the same complaints. The pulp of the ripe fruit can also be used beneficially in the treatment of stomach disorders of children. It should be given in 30 to 60 grams doses.
- Powder of the leaves, dried in shade, with an equal quantity of sugar candy is effective in spermatorrhea, or involuntary ejaculation, premature ejaculation and functional impotency. One teaspoon of this powder is taken with cold water thrice daily in these disorders. About 20 grams of gum, dissolved in cow's milk and mixed with sugar, is also effective in spermatorrhea and premature ejaculation. It can be taken thrice daily.
- About 30 ml of fresh leaf juice, mixed with cumin, is useful in the treatment of urtecaria – an allegic disease marked by painful red round weal on the skin. It should be taken twice daily.
- The bark of the tree is useful remedy for biliousness. It can be taken either in the powdered or decoction form. The juice of the leaves can also be applied to the skin eruptions caused by biliousness.
- Wood apple in the form of chutney or sherbet is beneficial in treating hiccups. It is made with salt and tamarind.