Dried kokum (Punarpuli)
The kokum is native to the western coastal regions of southern India and is rarely seen beyond this area. Even in India it is used only in the regional cuisines of Gujarat Maharashrta and several southern states where large glasses of kokum sherbet are downed during parched summer months. In this region the sweltering heat demands refrigerant (cooling) ingredients in food and drink. Kokum is well known to counteract the heat.
As mentioned in the introduction, kokum’s refrigerant properties are well known. It is useful as an infusion, or by direct application, in skin ailments such as rashes caused by allergies. Kokum butter is an emollient helpful in the treatment of burns, scalds and chaffed skin. The fruits are steeped in sugar syrup to make amrutkokum which is drunk to relieve sunstroke.
Kokum is used in case of flatulence. The fruit is useful for treatment of piles, dysentery, tumours, pains and heart complaints. Its juice is effective against allergies due to insect bites, sun exposure related symptoms as well as acidity. It also has shown anti-carcinogenic properties.