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Spice Descriptions and Uses

Kokam Garcinia indica Choicy

Family : Clusiaceae

Cultivation

Kokam is a common tree in tropical rain forests of Western Ghats from Konkan southwards, in Mysore, Coorg and Wyanad.

Botany

Kokam is a slender evergreen tree with drooping branches. Leaves are ovate or oblong lanceolate, 6-10 cm long and 2.5-3.5 cm broad, dark green above and pale beneath; fruits globose or spherical (2.5-3.5 cm dia), dark purple when ripe enclosing 5-8 large seeds. It flowers in November-February and the fruits ripen in April-May. The fruit has an agreeable flavour and a sweetish taste.

Aroma and flavour

Kokam contains 10% malic acid and a little tartaric and citric acid. It is used as a garnish to give an acid flavour to curries and also for preparing cooling syrups during hot months. It is used chiefly in the form of 'kokam', prepared by drying the outer rind, soaking it repeatedly in the juice of the pulp and sun-drying.

Culinary, Medicinal and Other use

The fruit is antihelmintic acid and cardiotonic and useful in piles, dysentry, tumours, pains and heart complaints. The fruit juice is given in bilious affections. The root is astringent. An edible fat, known as 'kokam butter'. It is considered nutritive, demulcent, astringent and emollient. It is suitable for ointments, suppositories and other pharmaceutical purposes.