Gooseberries for health
Rich in Vitamin C, gooseberries are a great help in health and cosmetic sector. Following are a few sweet-and-sour facts about them.
NOBODY LIKES playing the gooseberry, but everybody likes it pickled, almost, that is one gooseberry a day... is legendary stuff now for health freaks.
The gooseberry tree grows wild and is usually found in forests. But today, when everything is exploited to pay dividends, the gooseberry tree is cultivated in many parts of India, Sri Lanka, China and Malaysia.
Its history, in fact, is quite absorbing. It was first cultivated in the 16th century and became popular in the 19th century. The fruits are usually ripened by September to December. The fruit is sour but the after taste is sweet (like the advice of elders, as the Malayalam saying goes) especially if a glass of water is taken after eating gooseberry. Didn't grandma tell you that?
It is known by many names like `amla' in Hindi, `usirikaya' in Telugu, `nellikka' in Malayalam and Tamil, `amlaki' in Bengali, `anvla' in Marathi and `anla' in Oriya.
The gooseberry is scientifically known as emblica officinalis or phyllanthus emlica. The fruit is usually ignored by many, but it is the richest source of Vitamin C. In fact, it contains more Vitamin C than orange, lime, guava or sweet lime. About 100 gms of the edible fruit contains about 600 mg of Vitamin C. The fruit also contains low levels of sodium and a good amount of potassium which makes it suitable for hypertensive patients.
Gooseberries contain a chemical substance, which prevents the oxidation of the vitamin in it. So in dry conditions also, it has the highest Vitamin C content.
Freshly prepared juice of gooseberries, if taken daily during the season, is good to prevent cold and improve the resistance capacity of the individual and it helps to remove the toxins from the body.
Gooseberries have been successfully used in the treatment of human scurvy. This acidic fruit has cooling, diuretic and laxative effect on the body.
Gooseberry is one of the three ingredients in `triphala', a compound in indigenous medicine.
The gooseberry is the main element in `chyavanaprasam', an ayurvedic preparation supposed to be used by Chyavana Maharshi for vigour, vitality and longevity. The fruit can be preserved by drying the pieces or in the powdered form. The dried fruit will lose 20 per cent of its vitamin in 375 days when kept in a refrigerator and about two-thirds when stored at ordinary temperature.
Generally, the fruit is used for pickles, chutneys, and as preserves. Gooseberries are used for preparation of hair oils as it provides cooling effect and for the growth of hair.
Fermented liquor prepared from this fruit, along with some spices and jaggery and sugar, is used for jaundice, dyspepsia and cough. This juice is a very good thirst reliever. During summer season, iced gooseberries liquor is highly refreshing for the whole body. It rejuvenates the body.
Nutritive value per 100 gms of amla = Protein - 0.5 gms, Fat - 0.1 gms, Minerals - 0.5 gms, Fibre - 3.4 gms, Carbohydrates - 13.7 gms, Energy - 58 kcal, Calcium - 50 mg, Phosphorus - 20 mg, Vitamin C - 600 mg, Sodium - 5 mg, Potassium - 225 mg, Oxalic acid - 296 mgs, Carotene - 9 mg (Source: ICMR 1989 Ms)
The preparation of fermented gooseberry drink requires proper planning and execution.
During the season, fresh and selected gooseberries can be collected. It should be cleaned and put it in a porcelain jar alternately with required sugar or jaggery in layers to fill three fourth of the jar, with some cinnamon and clove added to it on the top. It should be covered tight and kept for a period of a minimum of two months. After the specified period, it can be squeezed and the juice can be separated and filtered and stored.
The concentrated juice can be diluted with water and ice cubes.
Bitter but sweet
1. It has got the highest Vitamin C content. About 100 gms of the edible fruit contains about 600 mg of Vitamin C.
2. The fruit is acidic, cooling, diuretic and laxative.
3. Fermented drink prepared from this fruit along with some spices and jaggery is used for jaundice, dyspepsia and cough.
4. Juice of gooseberry, if taken daily, will prevent cold and infections.
5. It helps to remove the toxins from the body.
6. Since it is low in sodium and high in potassium, it is good for hypertensive patients.
(Consultant nutritionist and dietician, email@example.com)
MUMTAZ KHALID ISMAIL
Send this article to Friends by