Sitaphal is a herb fruit tree belonging to the Annonaceae family with the scientific name Annona squamosa. It, also named custard apple, sugar-apple, or sweetsop, is a tropical native fruit of South and Central America but is now widely cultivated in many tropical regions around the World, including India, Australia, and the Philippines. The fruit is oval or heart-shaped, with a green, scaly skin that is hard and bumpy. The flesh of the fruit is smooth and creamy, and is white or light yellow, with black seeds scattered throughout.
It s a popular fruit in India and known by Sitaphal & different regional names in various parts of the country.
Some of the most common Indian regional names for it are:
1. Sharifa or Sitaphal (in Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, and Gujarati)
2. Seetha pazham (in Tamil)
3. Ata (in Bengali)
4. Seetha phalam (in Telugu)
5. Katha (in Oriya)
7. Sharifa (in Punjabi and Urdu)
8. Lakshmana phala (in Kannada)
10. Sitaphala (in Sanskrit)
These regional names reflect the vogue of this fruit in different parts of India, where it often consume fresh, used in desserts, or made into juice or smoothies.
Sitaphal is highly nutritious and is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It is also low in calories, making it an immaculate fruit for weight loss.
The fruit is often eaten fresh and can be utilized to make juice, smoothies, and desserts. In various cultures, Sitaphal is also used for medicinal purposes, as it is believed to have several health benefits, including boosting the immune system, aiding digestion, and promoting heart health.
Overall, Sitaphal is a tasty and healthy fruit that can deliver many benefits when included as part of a proportional diet.
Sitaphal, like all fruits, contains numerous natural chemical compounds that contribute to its flavor, aroma, and nutritional value. Some of the chemical compounds discovered in Sitaphal contain:
1. Annonaceous acetogenins: These are natural compounds found in Sitaphal that have been shown to have anti-tumor properties and may be beneficial in the treatment of cancer.
2. Alkaloids: Sitaphal contains alkaloids, such as reticuline and anonaine, which are known to retain sedative properties and may have the potential as a natural remedy for anxiety and sleep disorders.
3. Flavonoids: These are natural compounds found in many fruits and vegetables, including Sitaphal, that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help to defend against chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
4. Carotenoids: Sitaphal is rich in carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, which is transformed into vitamin A in the body and is important for keeping healthy vision and skin.
5. Fiber: It is a suitable source of dietary fiber, which helps to support digestive health and can also assist to lower cholesterol levels and diminish the risk of heart disease.
In General, Sitaphal contains a combination of natural chemical compounds that contribute to its nutritional and health benefits. While some compounds may have potential therapeutic uses, it is essential to consume Sitaphal in moderation as part of
a balanced diet.
Used Parts of Sitaphal Tree
The parts of the Sitaphal tree that commonly uses for medicinal purposes are its leaves, bark, roots, and fruit. These parts of the plant have a range of organic compounds that have potential medicinal effects.
1. Leaves: The leaves of the Sitaphal tree are generally used in traditional therapy for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. They may be applied topically to treat skin conditions, or brewed into a tea to help decrease pain and inflammation.
2. Bark: The bark of the tree is also operated in traditional medicine for its astringent and anti-diabetic properties. It may be boiled in water to make a decoction, which can be ingested as a tea or used as a mouthwash to treat oral health problems.
3. Roots: The roots of the Sitaphal tree are employed in conventional treatment for their antipyretic and antihelmintic properties. They may be boiled in water to make a decoction, which can be drunk to help lessen fever or used to treat parasitic infections.
4. Fruits: Sitaphal is a nutritive fruit that can provide many health benefits when consumed as part of a balanced diet.
So, the leaves, bark, roots, and fruits of the Sitaphal tree have likely health benefits and can be taken at home.
Health Benefits of Sitaphal Fruit
Sitaphal is a tropical fruit that is highly nutritious, and delicious, and provides many health advantages. Some of the benefits of Sitaphala enclose:
1. Rich in antioxidants: It is rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, which helps in fighting against the free radicals that can provoke cell damage and lead to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease.
2. Anti-inflammatory: Sitaphal possesses natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which may help to decrease inflammation in the body and decline the risk of chronic diseases like arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.
3. Boosts immune system: Sitaphal is a good source of vitamin C, which is essential for a healthy immune system. Consuming Sitaphal may help to reduce the risk of infections and enhance overall immunity.
4. Anti-cancer: Sitaphal contains natural compounds named acetogenins, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Consuming Sitaphal may aid to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, such as breast and prostate cancer.
5. Good for digestion: Sitaphal is high in dietary fiber, which helps to boost healthy digestion and control constipation. Fiber also aids to regulate blood sugar levels and may support reducing the risk of diabetes. Fiber also helps to reduce the risk of colon cancer.
6. Supports in weight loss: Sitaphala is low in calories and high in fiber, which makes it an excellent fruit for weight loss. It keeps you full for longer and reduces the urge to eat more.
7. Promotes heart health: Sitaphal is rich in potassium, a mineral that is significant for maintaining healthful blood pressure levels. Consuming it may help to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing high blood pressure.
8. Elevates healthy skin: It is rich in vitamin A and antioxidants, which are influential in maintaining healthy skin. Consuming Sitaphal may help to lower the signs of aging and nurture healthy skin.
9. Improves eye health: Sitaphala is a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for preserving healthy vision and preventing age-related eye diseases.
10. Provides energy: It is a good source of carbohydrates, which provides energy and helps to keep you active throughout the day.
So, The use of Sitaphala can provide numerous health blessings when consumed regularly.
However, some people may experience side effects when consuming Sitaphal, particularly if they have an allergy or intolerance to the fruit. Some possible side effects of Sitaphal include:
1. Allergic reactions: Some people may be allergic to Sitaphal, which can cause symptoms such as hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
2. Digestive issues: Eating too much Sitaphal can cause digestive issues such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea, mainly if the fruit is not ripe.
3. Interaction with medications: It may interact with certain medications, significantly those that are processed in the liver. If you are taking medication, it is best to confer with your doctor before consuming Sitaphal.
4. High in sugar: Sitaphal is naturally high in sugar, and consuming too much can contribute to weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes and other health issues.
5. Toxicity: In rare cases, the seeds of Sitaphal may retain toxins that can cause vomiting and other symptoms.
So, Sitaphal is a safe and nutritious fruit that can provide many health miracles. If you experience any adverse reactions after consuming Sitaphal, it is best to stop eating it and consult with a healthcare provider.
Know How to ripen raw Sitaphal fruit!
Here are some ways to ripen Sitaphal at home:
1. Paper Bag Method: Place unripe Sitaphal in a paper bag with an apple or banana. These fruits give off ethylene gas which helps in ripening the Sitaphal. Close the paper bag and keep it in a warm, dry place for a few days until the fruit ripens.
2. Newspaper Method: Wrap the unripe Sitaphal in newspaper and keep it in a warm, dry place. The newspaper will help to trap the ethylene gas produced by the fruit and accelerate the ripening process.
3. Rice Method: Place unripe Sitaphal in a container filled with rice. The rice permits to absorption of excess moisture from the fruit, which can quicken up the ripening process.
4. Sunlight Method: Place unripe Sitaphal in a warm, sunny spot for a few days. The heat and light will help to ripen the fruit. However, be careful not to expose the fruit to too much direct sunlight, as this can cause the fruit to become too smooth and mushy.
Once the Sitaphal has ripened, store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. So, It is essential to consume ripe Sitaphal as soon as possible, as it can spoil quickly.
Interesting Facts about Custard Apple
However, using wisely various parts of the Sitaphal tree, including its leaves, bark, fruits, and roots, have been used in home remedies for their potential therapeutic properties. Here are some facts about Sugar Apples:
1. Appearance: The Sitaphal fruit is a large, round, or heart-shaped fruit with a green, scaly exterior. The inside is loaded with creamy white flesh and black seeds.
2. Nutritional Value: It is a good source of vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and dietary fiber.
3. Traditional Medicinal Uses: The leaves, bark, fruits, and roots of the Sitaphal tree have been utilized in traditional remedies to treat a range of ailments, including aches, inflammation, diabetes, and parasitic infections.
4. Active Compounds: Sitaphal has natural compounds called acetogenins, which have been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Other blends in the fruit, including alkaloids and flavonoids, may have anti-inflammatory and antidiabetic effects.
5. Culinary Uses: It is a prevalent fruit for eating fresh or used in desserts and smoothies. In some societies, the seeds are roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
6. Harvesting: Sitaphal is commonly harvested when it is still unripe and allowed to ripen off the tree. The fruit is picked by hand or with a long pole with a basket attached to the end.
Widespread, Sitaphal is a versatile fruit that is not only delicious but also has potential health usefulness when consumed in moderation.
The theory behind the Sitaphal name!
There is no clear explanation as to why the custard apple is called Sitaphal. However, there are a few theories as to the origin of the name.
One hypothesis suggests that the name may have derived from the Hindu epic Ramayana, in which the character Sita (Lord Ram’s Wife) is said to have consumed the fruit. Sitaphal or Sitafal is the Hindi name for custard apple, and it is possible that the fruit was named after the character in the story.
Another thesis suggests that the name may have come from the Urdu language, in which Sitaphal means “cooling fruit.” Custard apple is comprehended for its cooling properties, and it is possible that the name was derived from this characteristic.
It is also possible that the name Sitaphal is simply a regional variation of the name sugar apple, which is the more common name for the fruit in English-speaking countries.
In any case, whether it is called custard apple or Sitaphal, this fruit is a scrumptious and nourishing addition to any diet.
Season of Sitaphal
The season for Sitaphal varies relying on the location and climate. In India, the season for Sitaphal commonly starts in August and lasts until November or December, with the peak season occurring in September and October.
Regardless, the specific timing of the season can vary by area and even within the same province due to factors such as weather conditions and agricultural practices. In some places, Sitaphal may be available as early as July or as late as January.
Note that Sitaphal, is a highly perishable fruit, and its availability may be limited to local markets or specialty stores in some locations. If you are interested in buying Sitaphal, it is best to check with your local market or grocery mart to see if it is in season and available in your area.