Kokum - an underexploited fruit boon for Karnataka
Kokum (Garcinia indica Choisy) is one of the native underexploited tree spices. It is found in Western Ghats of India and some parts of north-eastern India. In spite of its incredible medicinal and nutritive properties, it is generally not cultivated systematically on orchard scale. It is mostly confined to kitchen garden or as a mixed crop in plantations of coconut and arecanut, as roadside plant or in forest. It is commonly known as kokum (Hindi), kokum butter tree, Goa butter tree and mangosteen oil tree. It is a tropical evergreen tree, related to the mangosteens. It flourishes well up to an elevation of about 800 m a.s.l., requiring warm and humid tropical climate. Ripe fruits are harvested during April-May. Fruit rind is widely used in refreshing drinks and curries. The fruit is anti-helminthic, appetizer, cardio-tonic, useful against piles and dysentery. Hydroxyl citric acid (HCA) extracted from kokum is used against obesity, which is available in the form of tablets. The fruit is rich in anti-oxidants that bind with free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to body cells. The anthocyanin pigments obtained from it are used as natural colouring agents for food preservation. From kokum many processed products can be prepared viz., kokum syrup (amrit kokum), kokum amsul, kokum agal (salted juice), R.T.S., kokum butter, kokum rind powder, kokum honey, etc., are prepared. Advanced processed products like HCA, garcinol, wine and purified pigments would create more domestic and international demand for kokum. There has been immense scope for kokum cultivation in 11 districts of Karnataka and in most areas of Uttara Kannada. Until recently, the fruits and seeds of this species had importance only at the household level. Now, it has importance at the commercial market. With the availability of a vast area of suitable forests and private lands and sufficient planting material an efficient approach towards propagation and cultivation of kokum should be emphasized for generation of employment and income to the community.
Sharath, A.A., Hipparagi, K., Das, K., Roy, D., Avani, P. and Kumbar, H. (2019). Kokum - an underexploited fruit boon for Karnataka. Acta Hortic. 1241, 23-30
kokum, Garcinia indica, HCA