SUGAR APPLE, Annona squamosa

SUGAR APPLE

Latin name:           Annona squamosa

English name: Sugar apple, Custard apple

Sanskrit name: Sitaphal

Indian name: Sitaphal, Sharifa

Medicinal parts used: Roots, Bark, Fruits, Leaves, Seeds

Sitaphal is a plant common in India. It is also found in Central America, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and West Indies. In Southeast Asia this tree is very common.

It is a deciduous tree that grows to a height of 3 to5 meters, with light-black, rough, longitudinally fissured bark. The leaves are elliptic-oblong, or oblong, lanceolate, rarely obovate and petiolate. The flowers are solitary or 2-3 fascicled, axillaries or leaf opposed. The fruits are 5-10 cms across, globose or cordate-ovoid with projecting areoles. The fruits are eaten fresh.

The seeds are acrid and poisonous. Bark, leaves and seeds contain the alkaloid, anonaine. Six other aporphine alkaloids have been isolated from the leaves and stems: corydine, roemerine, norcorydine, norisocarydine, isocorydine and glaucine. Aporphine, norlaureline and dienone may be present also.

Therapeutic use:

  • The roots of this plant are purgative in nature and the bark is a powerful astringent.
  • It enriches blood and it is used as expectorant.
  • Seeds are cooling and it lessens burning sensation too.
  • Leaves are known to heal ulcers and wounds.
  • Decoction obtained from the leaves is effective in cases of dysentery or severe diarrhoea.
  • The leaf decoction is also employed in baths to alleviate rheumatic pain.
  • Powder from the bark is very effective in stomach problems.
  • Sugar-apple fruit is high in calories, a good source of iron and considered as tonic.
  • It is used by some societies in India to prepare a hair tonic and seeds are also ground and applied to rid the hair of lice.
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