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The Jamun plant was introduced in St-Martin some time in the second half of the 1960's, likely from Miami/Florida, the first Jamun tree appeared in Cole Bay and from there has spread all over the Island.
Most people call it Blackberry but this can be mistaken with our indigenous Blackberry tree, of which berries are also edible. Very few of our indigenous Blackberry can be found on the Island
today. I'm sure that 95% to 100% of St-Martiners from my generation down ignore the fact that we have or did had our indigenous Blackberry that is of the same myrtaceae family as the Jamun
Properties of this recently introduced Jamun plant in St-Martin remain very much unknown to the people of St-Martin. Oblivious of the extraordinary properties of the berries, they are considered in St-Martin as a “messy plague” by most people with a tree in their yard, when ever the fruits season comes around. Little do they know that Jamun berries are sold at a high price in many countries where their properties are known, mainly in India, Indonesia, Suriname, and Florida (USA).
The Jamun berry has an unusual taste, but while taking the health factors into consideration, this little berry could blow you away.
The Jamun plant is considered in India and many other countries to be a power house of the health. Mostly famous to be a diabetic fighter (Lowering the sugar level).
The complete Jamun tree is used for treating various disorders of the body organs. The bark, the leaves, the fruits and seeds are widely used from time immortal for the treatment of various diseases.
The blossoms of the tree are an important source of honey.
For these reasons I will like to share with you all a condensed combination of what I happen learn in my researches on this extraordinary Jamun tree on the different Internet sites:
Synonym: Syzygium Jambolanum – Eugenia Cumini – Eugenia Jambolana
Common name: Java Plum – Jambul – Jamun – Black plum – Faux pistachier – Indian Blackberry – Jambol –
Doowet – Jambolan – Jaman
Reproduction: by seeds
Type of Plant: The Jamun is an evergreen tropical tree 50 to 100 feet tall, it always remains laden with green oblong opposite leaves that are smooth, glossy; they have a turpentine smell. Although a tropical tree, it easily grows in sub-tropical climates.
The bark is scaly gray and the trunk forks into multiple trunks about 3 – 5' from the ground.
Origin: This evergreen plant is originally from India and Indonesia
Flowering: Jamun trees blossom once a year from March to May months, the flowers are fragrant white in branched clusters at stem tips.
Fruit: The fruit is oblong to ovoid shape, pink when nearing maturity and purplish-black when ripe. It is a juicy edible berry. In India Jamun berry is referred as a fruit of god, it is believe that Lord Rama used to eat this fruit when he spend his time in the forest for 14 years.
NUTRITIONAL & MEDICINAL PROPERTIES:
Jamun is considered as the most effective traditional medicine, the fruit, the bark, the seeds, the leaves are commonly used for treatments of various disorders of the body. Many research studies have shown that it is one of the best medicine for treatment of diabetes. The connection between Jamun and diabetes is well known, it is a part of home remedy to reduce increased blood sugar levels.
1 – THE JAMUN BERRY:
The Jamun berry has great nutritional values, it is a good source of minerals and vitamins that play an important role in the various functions of our body. These berries are reported to be quite useful for the heart and liver dysfunctions.
The minerals include: Iron, Calcium, Phosphorus, sodium, Potassium, Zinc, Magnesium, Manganese, (antioxidants) and carotene,
The vitamins include: Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin B (Folic acids/Vitamin B9)
The astringency taste of the fruit is dues to the presence of tannins and gallic acids. The purple color of the berry is is a fruit pigment called anthocyanin.
The berries dues to their acidity nature are usually eating with a sprinkling of salt.
The berry carries incredible amounts of nutrients consisting of antioxidants like tannic acids and oxalic acids. It is considered as a boon for diabetics as the enzyme called “Jamboline” helps to control the blood sugar levels.
Some alkaloids are also present in the fruit, which give it a little bitter flavor.
The sugar present in the berry is in form of Glucose and Fructose, with no trace of sucrose, and provides fewer calories as compared to other fruits,
The Jamun berry is a good tonic, helps in providing hydration on consumption and is an incredible coolant for the body.
The ripe berry is a liver stimulant, it is a digestive, light on the stomach, it also works as a carminative. It is good for diabetes, liver and heart toning. Effective in blood purifying and is also effective in the treatment of skin eruption like freckles
Vinegar made from Jamun fruits is administered in case of the enlargement of spleen, chronic diarrhea and urine retention. As a carminative with mild astringent effect, it is effective in the treatment of stomatitis and diuretic, it gives a soothing effect in the digestive system. It is also effective in treating diarrhea and dysentery.
The fruit pulp contains resin, gallic acid and tannin, used with sesame oil is effective in higher fevers. If jamun fruits are taken with okra its blood sugar lowering action is intensified
Water diluted juice is used as a lotion in the treatment of ringworm.
The pulp is also dried with common salt and preserved as digestive powder.
Studies also show that the Jamun berry has anti-cancer and anti-viral potentials, possible due to several bioactive phyto-chemicals including polyphenol contained in the purple pigment of the fruit skin, called anthocyanin and is protective in liver diseases and prevention of liver damage (necrosis – fibrosis)
Research confirms that polyphenol compounds help in preventing of several chronic disease like: Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
The Jamun fruit is effective in peptic ulcer, it helps to promote the mucosal defensive factors and antioxidants status and decreases lipid peroxide. It has hypoglycemia, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-HIV and anti-diarrheal effects.
Fruit consumption may also provide benefits during chemotherapy and radiation.
WHAT MAKE JAMUN USEFUL FOR DIABETES?
Researches were conducted in laboratories and it was found that Jamun contains an element called glycosides which doesn't let starch to get converted into sugar.
NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES (per100g of Jamun berries):
Calcium (15mg), Potassium (55mg), Magnesium (35mg), Phosphorus (15mg), Sodium (26,2 mg), Iron (1 – 2 mg), Vitamin C (18mg), Carotene (48mg), Folic acids (3mg), 62 Kcal. Energy.
2- THE SEED OF THE BERRY:
The seeds of Jamun berries are an effective home remedy commonly used in traditional methods of medicine from time immortal to control diabetes.
The seed of the fruit is rich in protein carbohydrates ( energy-producing compound) and also traces of calcium. The seeds are also rich in alkaloids which have the hypoglycemic effects (reduction in blood sugar)
Jamun seeds when taken regularly has good effect in the control of diabetes, it does not allow the sugar molecules to accumulate in the body.
The seeds are dried and grounded to powder. It is then taken with normal water after being strained to bring down sugar levels in diabetic patients. Taken 3 – 4 times every day, it tones up the liver basically pancreas which is responsible for producing the insulin, the most important hormones which helps to control the sugar level in the blood stream.
WHAT IS INSULIN?
Insulin is an important hormone that is produced by a small clump of pancreatic cells.
In some cases the pancreas does not produce insulin, in result of that blood levels in the blood stream just goes high.
In other cases, it has been found that insulin produced by the cells remains unused in result of that sugar level in the blood also goes high. In this case, the powder of Jamun seeds activate the cells that help to restore the hormonal activity of the pancreas to maintain the insulin action that control the sugar level in the diabetes.
OTHER PROPERTIES OF THE SEED
The Jamun seed has also gastro-protective properties.
For diarrhea the dried powder of Jamun seeds is mixed with mango seeds powder and honey. A small amount of this mixture should be used twice daily to get relief from diarrhea.
The paste of seeds mashed with water is best for treating ACNE. Jamun seeds powder also helps in clearing skin blemishes left by ACNE and black heads.
Drug Research Institute, Lucknow, show that alcoholic extracts of the seeds, reduce blood sugar levels and glucosuria in diabetic patients (fresh seeds are better than the dried ones to serve this purpose)
A quarter teaspoon of the powdered seeds with one tea spoon of honey could be consumed for fifty days and significant changes in sugar levels can be noticed.
3- THE BARK
The bark of Jamun has astringent, anti-inflammatory, carminative, diuretic, digestive ant constipating properties.
The bark is good for the treatment of thirst ( a diabetic condition mostly), the sore of throat, bronchitis, dysentery, asthma, ulcer and anemia, it also purifies the blood.
The powder of Jamun bark is applied extremely to effectively control bleeding.
A decoction of the bark and powdered seeds is believed to be very useful in the treatment of diarrhea, dysentery and dyspepsia.
A decoction of bark is used in cases of asthma and bronchitis and is gargled or used as a mouthwash for the astringent effect of mouth ulcerations, spongy gums and stomatitis.
It is found that oral administration from the bark and seeds boost insulin levels in diabetics.
4 – THE LEAVES:
Leaves of the Jamun are said to be a natural antibiotic in the nature. The leaves have antibacterial properties and are also used for strengthening teeth and gums.
The leaves are used to treat ulcerative colitis and also as part of herbal tonic preparation in traditional medicine system.
The extract of tender leaves of Jamun and leaves of mango if taken together helps to stop vomiting in jaundice.
Extract of soft mango and Jamun leaves mixed in honey taken twice daily give relief from vomiting and its burning sensation.
Leave's juice is used for gingivitis (bleeding gums). The ash of burn leaves is good for gum and teeth.
Leaves and bark are used for gingivitis.
The leaves are used by women as a feminine as a vaginal-bath to shrink the vagina after given birth or getting rid of mucus and odors. This bath from the jamun leaves is also used at any time to shrink the vagina. This gives the ultimate in sexual pleasure for both partners
The paste of Jamun leaves is very good to dry the pus-filled wounds.
Extracts of the bark, seeds and leaves have been found to cause a marked prolonged decrease in blood sugar and glycouria (sugar in urine)
JAMUN BERRY COULD TREAT BREAST CANCER:
Caroline Killian, a University of Rhode Island undergraduate student with the assistance of URI Pharmacy Professor Navindra Seeram have possibly discovered a new, nontoxic and completely pain-free treatment for breast cancer.
Killian and Seeram tested extracts of the Jamun berry on two breast cancer cell lines. The first was the most common type of breast cancer and the second is a form called “Triple negative”. It is called this because the diagnosis and some treatment options of breast cancer require the presence or absence of three key indicators or receptors. The combination of these receptors usually tells the doctors what type of breast cancer they are dealing with.
But in the case of the “Triple negative” none of these indicators are identifiable, making diagnosis and treatment very difficult. The “triple negative” cell line is clinically characterized as more aggressive. It responds well to typical treatments such as mastectomy or chemotherapy but is more likely to recur.
In collaboration with Lynn Adams, breast Cancer researcher at City of Hope Hospital in California, Killian and Seeram were able to test the effects of the Jamun berry on the growth of these breast cancer cells in cell cultures. They found that these berries had a strong positive effect on both of the cancer cell lines. They found that the berry inhibits cell growth even of this particular aggressive type of breast tumor, for which there is limited therapy.
WHAT IS SO SPECIAL ABOUT THESE BERRIES?
In mashing up the berries, Killian and Seeram were able to extract the berries finest elements. It was found that the pigments of the berries inhibits cancer cell proliferation, which is important for cancer treatment. To put it simply, it is the passionate purple color of this berry that allows it to do the healing.
The fact that violet (Purple) has the shortest wavelengths of all the colors in the visible spectrum (around 400nm) means that it oscillates the fastest, and has the most energy of all colors we can see.
Killian said they don't know exactly why the purple pigment, in particular is responsible, but we do know that the pigments that are responsible for purple, blue and red found in plants have the same molecule called anthocyanin and they are medicinally active.
She pointed out berries in general have been observed to be particularly effective in targeting the reproductive organs, as the phyto-chemicals derived from the berries have been shown to inhibit growth in both prostate and breast cancers.
The Jamun berry will hopefully put an end to chemo treatments, for breast cancer patients at least said Killian since it successfully reacted with both the triple negative and other more common breast cancer forms in laboratory research, it is very possible the berries can provide a safer and viable treatment alternative.
5 – WINE - BEVERAGES - PRESERVES
The Jamun fruit can be processed into excellent quality fermented beverages such as wine, vinegar, cider and non-fermented sauces and beverages such as the pure juice, sherbet and squashes.
HOW TO MAKE THE JUICE?
Squish the ripe berries (With clean hands), add some hot water, leave it overnight and strain it in the morning and squeeze the pulp to get out all of the juice, refrigerate.
HOW TO MAKE WINE?
To make wine, Squish the ripe berries (with clean hands) in a class jar or a stainless steel pot, add hot water, leave it overnight, in the morning add sugar, cover making sure that it is not airtight to avoid explosion when it starts to ferment.
After 16 to 20 days fermentation, strain and squeeze the pulp to get out all the wine. Let it settle in a large class jar and separate daily the wine from its sediment until the wine gain its normal beautiful deep red color. When you are sure that fermentation is over, bottle and let age.
The wine takes 4 to 6 months to be completely fit for consumption but it can be consume after 2 to 3 months.
Remarque: Most home wine makers will add a little yeast to accelerate the fermentation and even some corn meal or soda crackers or bread. But in this case do not let it ferment for more than 15 days else the wine will turn to vinegar.
The Jamun fruit can also be processed into a distinct flavor of: Jams, jellies, syrups. Can also be used to make excellent sorbets.