The fact that we are surrounded by many edible medicinal plants is just phenomenal. However, it is saddening that we often at times fail to recognize and utilize these beneficial plants even when they are right in front of us.
To a larger extent, it is worthy to note that having a good knowledge of certain medicinal plants around us is not only essential for maintaining a friendly atmosphere but as well as for promoting good health. Besides, this saves us both the stress, time and cost of searching for expensive modes of treatment when we are surrounded by free gifts of nature.
So, even if this is your first time of hearing about the durian fruit or not, I urge you to read through this post so as to understand what you need to know about the durian fruit. Durian is botanically known as Durio zibethinus Murr and belongs to the family of Bombacaceae. It is regarded as the king of tropical fruit in Asia due to its thorny appearance and unique flesh that is very nutritious. The word durian is of the Malay-Indonesian origin, which basically means spike or duri.
Even though the durian fruit is not originally from Thailand, yet the country is presently one of the main exporters of this fruit. Durian is quite unique from other fruits due to its powerful odor, thorny outer covering and big size. The tree grows approximately up to 80 to 164 ft height depending on the species. The tree produces flowers and fruits once or twice annually depending on the cultivars and species. The flowers have feathery appearance with multiple nectars that release strong, buttery and sour odor. The durian flowers form in clusters of 3 to 30 on the tree branches and each of them has a calyx with four or six petals. The durian fruit can be roundish or oblong in shape and grows up to 30 cm long and 15 cm in diameter. Its color ranges from light green to brown with yellowish to red flesh.
The durian fruit usually contains seeds inside the flesh, which are enveloped by a light brown thin protective covering. This fruit releases quite a persistent strong powerful odor that can possibly linger on for many days once the fruit is cut open. Durian fruits contain lots of healthy compounds such as carotenoids, flavonoids and phenolics, which are very essential for the body. Moreover, they are highly sought after due to their antimicrobial, antidiabetic, antioxidant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-hyperlipidemic and anti-carcinogenic properties.
There are several species of the durian fruit and they include; D. kutejensis, D. zibethinus, D. testudinarum, D. oxleyanus, D. dulcis and D. graveolens
Durian is an excellent source of potassium, dietary fibers, vitamin C, minerals, vitamin A, fats, proteins, phosphorus, iron, carbohydrates. It is a rich source of bioactive compounds such as ascorbic acid, polyphenols, anthocyanins, quercetin, flavonoids, carotenoids, tannins and flavonols.
Benefits of Durian Fruit
1. Antipyretic Properties of Durian
Due to the antipyretic properties of the durian fruit, both the roots and leaves can be decocted and taken for preventing or reducing fever and cold. The leaves can be squeezed and the aqueous extracts applied on the head of someone suffering from fever. Moreover, the roots of Durio zibethinus with that of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Artocarpus integrifolia, Nephelium longan and Nephelium mutabile can be boiled together and consumed as a herbal medicine or applied over an affected body part to relieve soreness and inflammation.
2. Therapeutic Properties of Durian
Studies reveal that the durian fruit contains bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, polyphenols and carotenoids, which are all therapeutic agents. Due to the the therapeutic abilities of this fruit, it can be used for treating people suffering from diabetes mellitus by balancing the secretion of body insulin. Durian fruit can also be used for treating certain cardiovascular diseases.
3. Pharmacological properties of Durian
Both the roots, hulls, fruits and leaves of the durian tree contain pharmacological properties thus can be used for treating certain types of diseases such as jaundice, fever, phlegm, cold and skin problems. The tree parts can be decocted and used for producing herbal medicine that tackles the above listed health problems.
4. Anti-oxidizing Properties of Durian
Durian contains antioxidants thus can be used for eradicating free radicals that cause oxidative stress to the body. This also helps to reduce the risks of onset of coronary heart diseases and cancer attacks. Researchers agree that daily intake of the durian fruit is very vital for maintaining and promoting healthy body.
5. Improvement of Sexual Performance
The durian rinds ashes can be taken by women after giving birth so as to boost their sex urge as well as to improve their overall sexual performance. Durian seed decoction can also be used for producing herbal medicines that boost male sexual function due to the aphrodisiac properties of seeds. Basically, aphrodisiac is either a drink, food or anything that stimulates sexual desire of which durian falls into this category.
Culinary Uses of Durian
1. The durian fruit can be used for flavoring and producing food and bakery products such as milkshakes, Malay candy, mooncakes, cappuccino, ice kacang, dodol, rose biscuits, curry, lempuk, ice cream and yule logs. Burnt durian rinds ashes can be used as additives for preparing cakes.
2. Durian can also be used for making boder, which is a side dish prepared by mixing vinegar, salt and onions together.
3. The seeds are edible thus some people cook and eat them alone or served together with other main dishes such as Pulut Durian, which is a sticky type of rice cooked together with coconut milk. The durian seeds look sort of similar to chestnuts and they can be roasted, fried or boiled before eating. It is important to note that eating uncooked durian seeds are not safe as they contain harmful cyclopropene fatty acids.
4. Durian flesh can be dried and used for making durian chips (kripik durian).
5. The Sabah people of Malaysia fry the red durian with chilli peppers and onions, which is served as a side dish.
6. Fresh tender leaves and shoots of the durian fruit can be cooked as greens.
7. Indonesian people use the red durian for preparing freshwater fish soup known as sayur.
Side Effects of the Durian Fruit
1. The outer covering of the durian fruit is covered with sharp thorns that can pierce the skin and possibly draw out blood from someone's skin . Albeit, putting on protective coverings while collecting and handling this fruit is highly recommended.
2. Durian should not be eaten before or after drinking alcoholic beverages as it can cause severe health effects. Symptoms of consuming durian alongside alcohols include; indigestion, palpitation, drowsiness, vomiting, nausea and facial flushing.
3. Individuals suffering from high blood pressure are strongly advised not to eat the durian fruit.
4. Pregnant women are also recommended not to consume the durian fruit.
Having read through this post, it will be highly appreciated if you leave your opinion or ask related questions in the comment section. Every opinion counts!!!
This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.
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