Bilimbi, scientifically termed Averrhoa bilimbi, is a popular fruit in several South-East Asian countries, used for infusing flavour to soups, dals and curries. Besides its refreshing aroma and zesty taste, the bilimbi fruit confers umpteen benefits for human health such as managing diabetes, treating hypertension, remedying haemorrhoids, strengthening bones and soothing cough and cold.
Bilimbi also being its Hindi name, the tree grows widely in warm tropical environments of South East Asia, in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Known by various other common names in English including cucumber tree, tree sorrel, bumbling plum, pickle fruit and belimbing, bilimbi is locally called “Vilumpi” in Malayalam, “Gommareku” in Telugu and “Vilumpi” in Malayalam and belongs to the carambola family.
Also Read: Carambola/Star Fruit: 5 Health Reasons Why You Should Include It In Your Daily Diet
Bilimbi is a short, perennial tree, with a maximum height of 10m, that survives for a long period of time in numerous types of soil conditions. The pale green leaves are alternately arranged, being densely packed at the top of branches, with many tiny leaflets. Upon blossoming, the bright, reddish-purple flowers eventually develop into yellow-green fruits with thin skin and a distinct tart taste. The fruits encompass small, brown, flattened seeds, bearing a crunchy texture when unripe that softens once it buds completely. Apart from the fruits, the seeds and flowers of the bilimbi tree also possess significant therapeutic values and are used in the preparation of many different herbal remedies.
The bilimbi fruit displays an impressive nutrient profile. In addition to the fundamental essential components namely carbohydrates, fibres, proteins, these tangy fruits contain profuse amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, flavonoids, tannins and terpenes. These nourishing components work in synergy, to offer amazing wellness incentives for overall health.
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Due to its noteworthy wholesome constituents as well as its superb merits for wellbeing, bilimbi fruits are today cultivated in hot regions across the globe, including the United States, Australia and South American nations. Read on, to gain further insight, into the countless health benefits of adding the bilimbi fruit to the diet.
Bilimbi Health Benefits:
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
Bilimbi fruits possess the valuable quality of controlling blood sugar levels, by monitoring insulin activity in the body. The rich content of flavonoids and dietary fibres in bilimbi fruit work to prevent sudden spikes in levels of blood glucose post meals, thereby aiding in keeping diabetes symptoms in check.
Helps Manage Hypertension
The treasure trove of antioxidants and proteins in bilimbi fruit makes it a wonderful natural remedy for lowering high blood pressure or hypertension. Consuming a decoction of bilimbi fruit boiled in hot water vastly helps to bring down elevated pressure in blood vessels, by widening the arteries, veins and capillaries and relaxing the cardiac muscles.
Effectively Treats Hemorrhoids
Bilimbi comprises potent anti-inflammatory elements namely tannins and terpenes. These help to lessen swelling in the veins of the anus and rectum, a condition known as haemorrhoids. Applying the fruit and leaf extract onto the affected region immensely reduces pain, inflammation and bleeding, rectifying haemorrhoids.
Cures Cough And Cold
The vast reserves of vitamin C in bilimbi confers splendid benefits for the functioning of the immune system. This, in turn, treats coughs and colds due to seasonal changes and allergies, bolstering the body’s defence mechanisms.
Also Read: 5 Home Remedies To Soothe Sore Throat And Cough
Fortifies Bone Health
Bilimbi is loaded with generous amounts of calcium, which enhances bone density and maintains the structural integrity of the skeleton in the body. Eating bilimbi extracts in the form of dried fruit, added to curries and dals or as pickles remarkably toughens bones, making them strong and robust.
Bilimbi is laden with vitamin C, oxalic acid and vitamin A, which confer excellent antioxidant traits for shielding dermal tissues from free radical damage and work wonders in enhancing skin health. Applying a paste of mashed bilimbi pulp along with honey on the face once a week visibly diminishes dark spots, scars, blemishes, lessens swelling, redness in acne, pimples, for soft, clear and glowing skin.
Eases Muscle Cramps
A storehouse of phytonutrients that possess powerful analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, bilimbi is an amazing natural remedy for reducing muscle pain and soothing cramps in the connective tissues. Massaging the arms, legs, body with a herbal paste of crushed bilimbi leaves provides instant relief from muscle strain, while drinking bilimbi juice heals pain, discomfort and stiffness in muscles and joints.
Side Effects Of Bilimbi:
Bilimbi is a nutrient-dense fruit and is safe for consumption when taken in moderate amounts as part of the daily diet. However, if lots of bilimbi fruits are eaten at once or regularly, then owing to their acidic content, it results in indigestion, heartburn and other gastrointestinal problems.
Moreover, bilimbi is inherently high in oxalic acid and hence, if ingested in large amounts, leads to deposition of calcium oxalate crystals in the kidneys and ultimately prompts acute renal failure (ARF). Thus, it must be kept in mind to always eat bilimbi fruits in measured quantities, so as to avoid any serious health complications.