Medicinal Plants

3 Amazing Health Benefits of Elephant Apple

Elephant Apple benefits are attributed to its cardioprotective and antioxidant properties. In ayurveda, it is considered as an ideal food for heart patients. It has cleansing action in the oral cavity. This action helps in reducing bad breath. Plant bark decoction has similar and better results in the management of bad breath.

In low dosage, it also acts as an absorbent and binds the stools. It is heavier to digest and aggravates Kapha Dosha and Pitta Dosha in the body. Therefore, its regular intake is not suggestible. However, it pacifies Vata Dosha and good for people with Vata type diseases.

Elephant Apple Fruit
Elephant Apple Fruit

Sometimes, it is considered appetizer and digestive. However, it has no appetizer action. Instead, it is heavier to digest. Native people use it in Chutneys, which exerts appetizer action due to the presence of other herbs and spices.

In a higher dosage, it might impair digestion due to its heavier and sliminess nature. Some people with weak digestion may experience diarrhea after heavy consumption of elephant apple. These are dose-dependent effects of elephant apple.

What is Elephant Apple?

Elephant Apple Unripe
Elephant Apple

Elephant Apple is a fruit obtained from the Dillenia indica tree. It is also known as Chalta in Hindi. It belongs to the Dilleniaceae family and Dillenia L. genus. The fruits, bark, and flowers of Dillenia indica plant are used in ayurveda for various therapeutic benefits. It is mostly eaten by wild elephants, so it is named as elephant apple.

Synonyms & Vernacular Names

Common Name Elephant Apple, Chalta
Botanical Name Dillenia indica
English Elephant Apple
Hindi Chalta, Bhavya, Karambel, Avartaki
Bengali Chalta
Elephant Apple Plant Leaves
Elephant Apple Plant Leaves

Medicinal Parts

In most instances, elephant apple fruits are used as food and medicine. Its elephant apple tree bark and leaves act as astringent and more effective as antidiarrheal than fruit. Fruits act opposite in higher dosage. Instead of stopping diarrhea, fruit leads to indigestion related diarrhea.

  • Fruits.
  • Bark.
  • Leaves.
Elephant Apple Tree Leaf
Elephant Apple Tree Leaf

Edible Parts: Native people eat fruits in the form of jams and pickles. The fruits are less consumable directly. It is also added to chutneys to enhance their taste. For therapeutic purposes, fruit pulp and its juice are recommended.

Chemical Composition

Elephant apple contains dillenetin, Sitosterol and Stigmaterol. It is a good source of flavonoids, tannins, Proanthocyanidins and Triterpenoids. These chemical constituents of elephant apple attribute to its antioxidant properties. (1, 2)

Elephant Apple
Elephant Apple

Ayurvedic Properties

Rasa (Taste) Madhura (Sweet), Amal (Sour)B& Kashaya (Astringent)
Guna (Main Quality) Guru (Heavy), Pichchila (sticky, cloudy or sliminess),
Virya (Potency) Sheeta (Cold)
Vipaka (Resultant) Katu (Pungent), Madhura (Sweet)
Organs Effect Heart

Dosha Karma

Aggravates Kapha Dosha and Pitta Dosha
Pacifies Vata Dosha.

Medicinal Properties

The fruit pulp of Elephant apple has the following medicinal properties:

  • Antioxidant.
  • Cardioprotective.
  • Absorbent (in low dosage).
  • CNS Depressant.
  • Anti-Inflammatory.
  • Antihyperlipidemic.
  • Antidiabetic.
  • Anti-leukemic.
  • Antimicrobial.
  • Anxiolytic.
  • Cytotoxic. (2)
  • Improves taste.

Its bark and leaves are astringent and bind the stools.

Elephant Apple Indications

Elephant apples are beneficial in the following diseases:

  1. Heart diseases (as an ideal food).
  2. Halitosis (bad breath).
  3. Diabetes.
  4. Hyperlipidemia.
Elephant Apple
Elephant Apple

Elephant Apple Benefits

Let’s discuss the health benefits of elephant apple in details:

Improves Taste & Reduce Bad Breath

According to ayurveda, elephant apple cleanses the oral cavity, which helps to improve taste and reduce bad breath and bad taste. These actions might be due to its antimicrobial action. It might stop and kill the bacteria present in the oral cavity.

Gargling with bark decoction of elephant apple tree also exerts similar benefits.

Elephant Apple
Elephant Apple

Cardiac Tonic

In ayurveda, sweet and sour taste is considered as a cardiac tonic. It also applies to elephant apple used as a cardiac tonic. It improves cardiac function, reduces low-grade inflammation in cardiac structures and cleanses the blood vessels. Its cleansing effect helps to reduce plaque formation in the blood vessels, which ultimately helps to prevent the narrowing of the blood vessels. This effect helps in the following heart diseases:

  1. Coronary Artery Disease.
  2. Atherosclerosis – narrowing of arteries.
  3. Hyperlipidemia – high cholesterol or triglycerides.

Binds Loose Stool

The fruit pulp of elephant apple acts as an absorbent. However, this effect is more visible when you eat it in a low dosage. Its effects might be similar to Psyllium Husk. It also absorbs water content from the alimentary tract and forms bulk. So, it binds the stool and helps in reducing the frequency of loose stools in diarrhea.

It is best in low dosage because of its heavy to digest nature. Sometimes, diarrhea cause itself include poor digestion of foods. In such cases, the elephant apple is not a suitable remedy.

Elephant Apple Ripe
Elephant Apple Ripe

Dosage

The classical ayurvedic dosage of Fruit Pulp of Elephant Apple is as follows:

Children 800 mg per Kg of body weight
Adults 50 – 100 grams
Pregnancy ?
Lactation ?
Maximum Possible Dosage 200 grams per day

How to Take

Anupan (Adjuvant) NA
Dosage Frequency  Once or Twice a week
Medication Time NA

Safety Profile

Elephant apple is LIKELY SAFE and WELL-TOLERATED when consumed as per the digestive capacity of a person. In heavier dosage, it might lead to some side effects.

Side Effects of Elephant apple

The most common side effect of elephant apple is indigestion induces diarrhea. Its heavier consumption causes indigestion. Poor digestibility results in diarrhea.

Note: However, it has absorbent action like Psyllium Husk, but it appears in a low dosage. The low dosage means less than 100 grams a day.

Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

The safety profile of elephant apple is not well-established for pregnant women and lactating mothers.

Contraindications

Elephant apple is not suitable in the following conditions:

  • Thrombophilia.
  • Indigestion.
  • Weak digestion.

Dr. Jagdev Singh

Dr. Jagdev Singh (B.A.M.S., M. Sc. in Medicinal Plants) is an Ayurvedic Practitioner and Herbalist. He has successfully treated thousands of patients with Ayurveda (including Herbal Ayurvedic Medicine and Ayurvedic Diet). Ayur Times is an initiative of his efforts to bring quality information on Indian Medicine with the highest level of relevancy and scientific evidence.

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