AFRICAN STAR APPLE
Yaaay, Its african star apple season!. I Saw the bright yellow delight today in the fridge at home and I simply couldn’t contain myself. I sprang one open and dug my teeth into the white, gummy creamy liquid and relished every second of it. Suckling on the seeds and stripping them of their fibrous clothing. The African star apple is a fruit native to Nigeria and some other African countries. The igbos of the South-Eastern Nigeria call it “udala” while the Yorubas in the West fondly know it as “agbalumo”. This yummy udala is not just a gift to the mouth, it is also a delight to the body. Check it out.
Whats the Buzz?
African star apples serve as a good source of calcium, with each serving providing 10% of the amount you require each day. Calcium lends strength to your bones and teeth, and it may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as cramping and abdominal bloating. The African star apple also contains 5% of the daily recommended value per serving of vitamin C and vitamin A. Additionally, one serving of star apples serves up 2 % of the iron required per day.
For the Diabetics:
The African star apples may have particular benefits for diabetics. Research published in the September 2009 edition of the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology indicates that the leaves of udala may reduce glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin serves. Take note, however, that consuming star apple leaves appear to have a toxic affect when eaten in large quantities. “More research is needed to determine the effectiveness of star apple leaves to control diabetes in humans”, according to Professor Ignatius Onimawo, a Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry.
Medicinal Properties of Agbalumo:
Previous studies indicate that the roots, barks and leaves of agbalumo have been employed in folk medicine for the treatment of diseases. The bark is used for the treatment of yellow fever and malaria, while the leaf is used as an emollient and for the treatment of skin eruption, stomach ache and diarrhea. The cotyledons from the seeds of Agbalumo are used as ointments in the treatment of vaginal and dermatological infections in Western Nigeria.
Researchers state that: “Biological actions are primarily due to the presence of phytochemicals in a very complicated concert of synergistic or antagonistic activities. Mixtures of such chemicals show a broad spectrum of biological effects and pharmacological properties”. The African star apple has these phytochemicals in abundance as noted earlier.
- Methanolic extract of the cotyledons from the seeds of the African Star Apple led to the isolation of eleagnine, tetrahydro-2-methylharman and skatole. Eleagnine was found to be the main compound responsible for its antimicrobial activity. The antimicrobial properties of the plant could be attributed to the presence of tannin, anthraquinone and cardiac glycosides. Eleagnine was further shown to exhibit anti-nociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities.
- Studies have demonstrated that the leaf extract of udala may not cause any adverse effect on the biochemical and haematological indices of toxicity. Moreover, the extract was found to possess anti-platelet and hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar) properties and might be employed in the management of myocardial infarction (heart attack) and diabetes mellitus, respectively. Further investigation is needed to establish the anti-platelet property of the extract.
Now you have enough reason to convince yourself to indulge in the Christmas delight. But don’t forget to be careful as the juice could leave nasty residue on the lips. Also, it’s juice stains white fabric virtually irredeemably.