Levisticum officinale W.D.J.Koch
Family : Clusiaceae
Kokam is a common tree in tropical
rain forests of Western Ghats from Konkan southwards, in Mysore,
Coorg and Wyanad.
Kokam is a slender evergreen tree
with drooping branches. Leaves are ovate or oblong lanceolate, 6-10
cm long and 2.5-3.5 cm broad, dark green above and pale beneath;
fruits globose or spherical (2.5-3.5 cm dia), dark purple when ripe
enclosing 5-8 large seeds. It flowers in November-February and the
fruits ripen in April-May. The fruit has an agreeable flavour and
a sweetish taste.
Aroma and flavour
Konkam contains 10% malic acid and
a little tartaric and citric acid. It is used as a garnish to give
an acid flavour to curries and also for preparing cooling syrups
during hot months. It is used chiefly in the form of 'kokam', prepared
by drying the outer rind, soaking it repeatedly in the juice of
the pulp and sun-drying.
Culinary, Medicinal and Other
The fruit is antihelmintic acid and
cardiotonic and useful in piles, dysentry, tumours, pains and heart
complaints. The fruit juice is given in bilious affections. The
root is astringent. An edible fat, known as 'kokam butter'. It is
considered nutritive, demulcent, astringent and emollient. It is
suitable for ointments, suppositories and other pharmaceutical purposes.