Ayurvedic Home Remedies: Health Benefits of Ice Apple (a.k.a. Palm Fruit)

One fascinating aspect of Mother Nature is her myriad ways of taking care of the living beings that inhabit the earth.  During the summer season we can see plenty of cucumber, water melon, tender coconut, ice apple etc everywhere that help human beings combat the ill effects of the soaring temperature of a hot summer.

Freshly cut Ice Apple cluster
Ice apple, also known as palm fruit or Nungu in Tamil is a delicious jelly like fruit that beats all the others for its cooling effect on a hot summer day.  This seasonal nungu is the tender fruit of the palmyra tree.  This tree is found in plenty in the villages of South India lining the paddy fields.  It is the official tree of the Tamil Nadu State.  It is a native to South and Southeast Asia.  You can also find these trees in Pakistan, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Java and other Southeast Asian countries.

During summer you can find clusters of palmyra fruit in the tree hanging down below the palm leaves.  They have a thick violet black husk.  The top greenish covering is cut to reveal the three sockets in which the fruit is located.  The jelly has a tender brownish-yellow skin.  Watery fluid is found inside the jelly which has excellent cooling properties.

Ice Apple with skin
The fruits of the palmyra palm grow in clusters. The tender, pale white, translucent jelly like fruit is seasonal and can be found in plenty in summer.  Ice apple is rich in vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, thiamin, riboflavin etc.  Children love ice apple for its taste and softness.  Pregnant women can overcome constipation and related difficulties with the help of ice apple.  Dieters who are on a weight loss regimen can take ice apple.  It does not contain fat or carbohydrates.

Seasonal problems like prickly heat affect children and grownups alike in summer.  Ice apple is an excellent remedy for prickly heat.  This has been my personal experience.  In my childhood days I was prone to prickly heat of the summer.  Come the month of April and my chest and back would be covered with prickly heat.  My mom used to coat me with a thin layer of ice apple jelly.  The soothing effect of the ice apple provided an immediate relief to that nasty itch.  This application was continued for two to three days and the prickly heat boils would vanish in no time.

Ice Apple skin removed
To reap maximum benefit out of ice apple it should be consumed along with its tender pink, brownish skin.  Though taking the fruit with the skin may taste a bit sour it can heal stomach ulcers.  So take a few fruits along with the skin for your benefit.  The jelly part is cut to pieces and added to milk and honey.  This preparation cools the body and helps tackle the hot summer.  People suffering from chicken pox can take ice apple regularly to bring down the intensity of the disease condition as well as aid rapid healing.

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