• Jash

Do you know Milk fruit?

After reading the title few may think, what kind of fruit it is? Whether it is filled with milk or what? The answer is no, this fruit belongs to the family Sapotaceae. Scientifically known as (Chrysophyllum cainito L.) and it is a tropical tree, which is normally grown as an ornamental or orchard tree. It has numerous common names including cainito, caimito, star apple, purple star apple, golden leaf tree, abiaba, pomme de lait, estrella, milk fruit and aguay.

And do you know why it is also called as star apple? It’s because, seed of milk fruit is in the center which has the appearance of an asterisk when cut transversely, giving the fruit its common English name “star apple.” This tree species is commonly found in Mexico, Argentina, Peru, the Pacific side of Guatemala, and Vietnam, India, China, Malaysia, and other countries where the altitude is low to medium.

We may have this underutilized fruit in and around us but, we literally fail to identify it with our own eyes. Why I am saying this because, I too had a tree in my estate but after joining to horticulture only I started to recognize it.

So, how to identify milk tree?

It is very easy to identify. Tree leaf will be slightly leathery to touch, glossy on the upper surface and coated with silky, golden-brown pubescence beneath. From faraway tree looks golden brown as leaves will be rolled up. The tree has a number of brown-hairy branchlets, with white, gummy latex present inside and the fruit rind is rich in latex.

Want to know its nutrient status? here it is....

Water content 78.4–85.7%

Calories 67.2kcal

Protein 0.72–2.33g

Carbohydrates 14.65g

Total sugars 8.45–10.39g

Fiber 0.55–3.30g

Calcium 7.4–17.3mg

Phosphorus 15.9–22.0mg

Iron 30–0.68mg

Carotene 0.004–0.039mg

Thiamin 0.018–0.08mg

Riboflavin 0.013–0.04mg

Niacin 0.935–1.340mg

Ascorbic acid 3.0–15.2mg

Tryptophan 4mg

Methionine 2mg

Lysine 22mg

Milk fruit possesses strong antioxidant properties either in vitro or in vivo. Extracts from the leaves, stem bark, fruits, peel, pulp, or seed of milk fruit are promising candidates in traditional medicine for curing diabetes and fighting against bacterial, fungal, and viral infections. The leaf extract alone or in a complex formula exhibits anti-inflammatory responses by reducing hypersensitivity, acts as inflammatory markers, and has antinociceptive effects. The leaf extract also increases wound healing speed and assists in regulating fat uptake. In addition, the fruit shows anticancer activity against osteosarcoma. So, we can say that, the aerial parts of milk fruit have strong beneficial biological effects on human health.

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