Woodapple — increases appetite and reduces poison

by Namini Wijedasa
Woodapple (Limonia acidissima) is common in Sri Lanka but uncommon enough around the world for there to be barely anything about it’s medicinal values on the internet. According to Dr. Lakshmi Senaratne, chief scientist (Ayurveda) of the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute, the leaves, bark of stem, flowers, fruits and gum are used as medicine.

The raw fruit is not good for the throat, Senaratne said. "Although it kills poison, it causes a sore throat, often leads to constipation and increases vatha." But the raw fruit is given for diarrhoea. Another effective remedy for diarrhoea is the gum with bee’s honey.

The ripe variety, however, is recommended for a variety of illnesses and general well being. It increases appetite and reduces poison. "We often administer the juice of the ripe fruit after a rate bite," Senaratne said. "The victim should take it for about a week. It reduces the poison." For poison reduction, the juice of the ripe fruit with either coconut milk or cow’s milk is recommended.

The ripe fruit heals ulcers, reduces pitta and does not increase kapha. Senaratne also claimed that, taken over a prolonged period of time, it reduces the effects on the body of ageing.

Woodapple is heavy to digest and is cooling. The fruit contains citric acid but though it is sour, it is good for gastric patients. The raw fruit is sometimes dried in the shade and used instead of lime because of its sour taste.

Meanwhile, the juice of the leaf is good for abdominal pain in children. The seeds and the gum are used in treatment of diabetes. A decoction of the bark is effective for uterine disorders.

Woodapple is good for anorexic patients. It helps quench thirst and is used in abdominal distention and dysentery. Even for those passing blood with stools and excessive bleeding during menstruation, take the woodapple drink. For the last ailment, the leaf juice is also recommended.

The leaf juice is said to increase vision and is rubbed on the head before bathing. The same reduces dandruff, head lice and promotes hair growth. It can be applied often but is cooling. "Head lice drop off due to the effect of the leaves," Senaratne explained.

For oedema, make a bundle of leaves and foment. For anorexia and loss of appetite take woodapple, ginger, pepper and tippili (Piper longum) with bee’s honey. For vomiting, take woodapple juice with tippili and bee’s honey. For vomiting due to vitiated kapha (phlegm), take woodapple, ginger, pepper and tippili.

For haemorrhoids, take woodapple and beli juice drink.

For bleeding from the nose, fry the raw fruit and eat with ghee.

For hiccups, take ripe fruit juice with bee’s honey and tippili. Another good remedy is to burn the leaf powder and to inhale the fumes.

For polyurea (excessive urine), take raw fruit powder with bee’s honey. For leucoderma, take a bark decoction.

Women with excessive vaginal discharge should eat the ripe fruit often, Senaratne said.