Chalta, an evergreen shrub that grows extensively in the wilderness of South-East Asia, in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, confers numerous excellent benefits for health such as preventing kidney ailments, slowing down ageing and lowering blood pressure. Chalta being its Hindi name, it is commonly called Elephant Apple, since the delicious chalta fruit is hugely popular amongst the local wild elephants, being widely consumed by them. Its scientific name is Dillenia indica.
In India, chalta plants thrive in the swampy forests of the Himalayas, northeastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, as well as in the woodlands across the country. The fruit that is large, oblong and greenish-yellow in colour, develops in the autumn and winter seasons between October and February. Both the ripe and unripe fruits are used in traditional northeastern cuisine, to prepare curries, pickles, jams, jellies and juices, due to their distinct sweet and sour taste, as well as their refreshing aroma.
Chalta is an eternally green shrub, with the trees often grow up to a height of 15 m. The reddish-brown barks hold strong branches with broad serrated leaves. The flowers bloom in summer, being bright white with many petals and sprout into the tangy chalta fruit in colder climates.
An expansive array of useful plant constituents are present in chalta fruits, making them a prominent source of vital nutrients. They are inherently rich in vitamin C, vitamin B complex, vitamin E, potassium, healthy fats, amino acids and proteins, besides being low in cholesterol. Moreover, chalta abounds in beneficial phytochemicals namely tannins, saponins, flavonoids, triterpenoids and phenolics, which supply powerful anticancer, antibacterial and antioxidant characteristics.
Due to its seasonal availability only in chilly weather and cultivation specifically in forested hilly terrain, the myriad wellness incentives that chalta fruits offer are little-known and until today, it remains an under-utilised plant in tackling malnutrition and many other illnesses. Browse through this article, to gain insight into the superb advantages that chalta fruits offer, for overall well-being.
Chalta Health Benefits:
Chalta, being naturally low in cholesterol apart from possessing ample potassium, is an ideal remedy for those with hypertension. Eating a small portion of chalta fruits with meals vastly lowers high blood pressure, regulates heartbeat, thereby promoting heart health and serving as a potent cardio-tonic.
Rejuvenates Ageing Skin
A treasure trove of three antioxidants - vitamin C, vitamin E, flavonoids, chalta fruits facilitate collagen synthesis to maintain the elasticity of the skin. Drinking a glass of fresh chalta fruit juice immensely enriches skin texture, diminishing wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of ageing to give a youthful appearance.
Also Read: Top 6 Food For Gorgeous Skin
Boosts Vitality And Vigour
Loaded with calories, B-complex vitamins, proteins and healthy fats, elephant apples ensure high energy levels to maintain good metabolism, elevated brain operations, as well as enhanced stamina for physical and sexual activities. Adding some zesty elephant apple jam or pickle to meals will significantly raise energy levels.
Remedies Kidney Disorders
Just a few slices of a ripe elephant apple or chalta fruit juice with breakfast is a fantastic detox drink to cleanse the body from within and a great way to flush out toxins accumulated in the system, due to its umpteen powerful antioxidants. This enables the smooth functioning of kidneys, by getting rid of harmful free radicals and protecting them from renal diseases.
Alleviates Anxiety And Depression
The host of phytonutrients in chalta fruits, including sterols, saponins and tannins contain prominent neurotransmitter-modulating properties, which adjust neuronal signalling in the brain and normalize central nervous system function. This vastly improves memory, uplifts mood and efficiently pacifies anxious and depressed behaviour. Also Read: How Do I Manage Anxiety?
The ripe chalta fruits which display a distinct tart taste abound in vitamin A as well as the carotenoid antioxidants – lutein and zeaxanthin. These pivotal nutrients strengthen the lens and retina for clear sharp vision, besides fostering the healthy development of optic tissues. Moreover, the vast array of anti-inflammatory compounds in elephant apple help prevent visual disorders of cataract, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in old age and preserve eye health.
The bark extracts and fruits of elephant apple exude a viscous nectar i.e. resin element that contains profuse amounts of tannins – a powerful phytonutrient. Tannic acid derivatives possess spectacular antidiarrhoeal properties, which aid in slowing down intestinal peristalsis or the movement of solids, fluids from the gut via the kidneys to the bladder, that occurs frequently in diarrhoea prompting loose stools. This in turn promotes water, electrolyte reabsorption in the system and resolves diarrhoea.
Soothes Sore Throat
Infused with generous quantities of antimicrobial and antioxidant constituents, chalta fruits work wonders in alleviating common respiratory complaints of cough, cold and sore throat. Also, the plethora of bioactive components with decongestant traits effectively eliminates phlegm trapped in the nasal, throat, lung passages, thus clearing blocked nose and clogged sinuses. Drinking a glass of chalta juice with a bit of sugar in warm water is a healing tonic for pharyngitis, inflamed tonsils and an irritated throat.