Nungu, also known by other names such as doub palm, palmyra palm, tala palm, toddy palm, wine palm, or ice apple is a large fan palm of Arecaceae ⁄ Palmae (Palm family). Scientific name is Borassus flabellifer.
The plant is native to Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, including Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Nungu are sub globose, and again in clusters. Usually a single tree will produce anywhere between 50 to 300 fruits. The size of the fruits range from 4-8 inches diameter, and are black, greenish white and black when ripe. The upper part of the fruit must be cut off to reveal the sweet jelly seed sockets to eat.
The kernel which is soft as jelly and translucent like ice is accompanied with sweetish water. This liquid has medicinal properties and is used by the local people to treat skin diseases. The ripened fruit of outer layer also can be eaten raw or boiled.
Being rich in minerals and vitamins, nungu fruits are a healthy option for people on diet or suffering from diabetes. It is a rich source of vitamins B and C, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, thiamine, and riboflavin.
Nungu is a natural remedy for several stomach ailments and digestive problems. It helps in relieving constipation and in promoting normal bowel movements. It also helps in preventing acidity and stomach ulcers. Pregnant women are encouraged to eat ice apple, for it helps ease some of the minor stomach ailments and nausea that often occur during pregnancy.
Nungu is an excellent cure for some of the common skin problems that arise during the hot summer season, such as heat rashes and prickly heat. Applying the flesh of the fruit on the affected area provides soothing effects and relief from these conditions. It also helps relieve the itchiness associated with these heat related problems.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the fruit are helpful in treating redness of the skin due to intense heat. Poultice made from Nungu is found to be effective in treating dermatitis. It can be used safely in babies as well.
Nungu is a natural coolant and helps to keep the body cool during summer. It also helps in preventing a number of heat related problems like prickly heat, dehydration, dry skin, kidney failure and hair loss.
Not only does it hydrate your body, but it also helps replace the nutrients and electrolytes that are lost due to excessive sweating. Nungu satisfies your thirst and provides you with the energy to stay active throughout the day.
Nungu is a low calorie fruit and is thus beneficial for people trying to lose weight. The fruit is rich in water content, which helps keeps your stomach fuller for a long period of time. This in turn helps in preventing frequent snacking, which is important in maintaining a healthy weight.
Migraine is the most painful of all headaches. Natural medicinal content of palm jaggery helps to reduce this pain. Just take 1 tsp. of palm jaggery, and you will experience relief from migraine.
Due to the low Glycemic Index of palm sugar, it is a healthy substitute for artificial sugar thus helps to prevent the onset of diabetes. Palm sugar consumption has been reported not to cause a sudden spike in the blood sugar levels. However, diabetes patients should consider consuming palm sugar at a very low level.
Nungu has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. The fruit pulp helps to cure skin inflammations. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting as well as worm infestation. It is used as an expectorant and also as a liver tonic.
Nungu is rich in several phyto chemicals that possess strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds can help in slowing down the process of aging and in lowering the risk of many serious health problems such as heart disease and cancer.
Pure sandalwood powder is mixed with ground fresh Nungu with a little coconut water. This pack is applied in a thin coat on the face and left to dry after which it is washed off with cold water. This is a good remedy for treating and preventing boils, prickly heat and redness of the face. It is also effective for the inflammatory skin problems faced after sun exposure.
Sterilized and 100% cotton cloth is taken and sterilized by boiling in water. The cloth is soaked and cooled at room temperature. The fruit is taken and the outer skin on the top is peeled off, the pulp is ground in a mixer and spread on the cloth. This poultice is applied on the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes after which the cloth is removed.