The largest tree-borne fruit in the world, jackfruit (artocarpus heterophyllus) is grown on a species of tree in the mulberry family. The evergreen trees are large, often reaching a height of above 20 m. The jackfruits can sometimes weigh over 75 lbs. however, the average sized fruits are 1-2 feet long, and 9-12" wide. The exterior of the fruit is green-yellow, with small spiky knobs, while the flesh is custard yellow, with a banana-like flavor. The leaves are oblong, oval or elliptic, usually 4 to 6 inches in length and leathery, glossy and deep green in color.
There are two varieties of jackfruits: one that is small, fibrous, soft, and mushy and the carpels are sweet, with a texture like that of a raw oyster. The other variety is crisp and crunchy, but not very sweet. Jackfruits are believed to have originated in the rain forests of the Western Ghats in India. They are vegetated in other parts of India, South-east Asia, East Indies, Philippines, Brazil and Surinam also. Jackfruit is known as kanthal in Bangla, panasa in Sanskrit, katahal in Hindi, pala in Tamil and chakka in Malayalam
Uses & Benefits of Jackfruit
- The leaves of jackfruit tree are useful for curing fever, boils and skin diseases. When heated, they prove useful in curing wounds.
- The latex of the fruit is helpful in treating dysopia, opthalmities and pharyngitis.
- The latex can also be mixed with vinegar to heal abscesses, snakebites and glandular swellings.
- The wood of jackfruit tree is widely used in manufacturing musical instruments, furniture, doors, windows and roof constructions.
- The seed starch is useful in relieving biliousness, while the roasted seeds are regarded as aphrodisiac.
- To heal ulcers, the ash of jackfruit leaves is burnt with corn and coconut shells and used either alone or mixed with coconut oil.
- The root of jackfruit tree forms the remedy for skin diseases, fever and diarrhea.
- The heartwood of the tree is used by Buddhist forest monastics in Southeast Asia, for dying the robes of the monks to light brown color.
- In China, the pulp and seeds of jackfruit are considered as a cooling and nutritious tonic. The fruit is useful in overcoming the influence of alcohol on a person’s body system.
- The wood of jackfruit tree has sedative properties, due to which its pith can result in abortion.
- Jackfruit can increase coagulation.
- People who are allergic to birch pollen can show signs of allergy towards jackfruit.