Star Apple with the botanical name as Chrysophyllum cainito is a tropical evergreen tree of the family Sapotaceae.
It is now grown throughout the tropics, including Southeast Asia. Apart from star Apple it other name include Caimito, Golden Leaf Tree, Milk Fruit, Satin Leaf, Star apple, Star Plum, West Indian Star Apple, Abiaba, Cainito, pomme de lait, estrella and aguay.
The fruit produce by the tree have a wide range of local medicinal uses and a good quality wood.
It is widely cultivated in tropical regions for its fruit; and is often grown as an ornamental garden fruit crop.
As an ornamental it is mainly appreciated for its foliage, which is bright blue-green above and coppery beneath, making an attractive contrast when stirred by the wind.
Species of Star Apple
White star apple also known scientifically as Chrysophyllum albidum is a forest fruit tree described by the Scottish botanist whose name is George Don. It is commonly found throughout tropical Africa.
African star apple
This is another species of star apple commonly found in Nigeria Agbalumo as the Yoruba’s will call it, Udara in the eastern and southern parts of Nigeria, and in the northern (Hausa-Fulani) Part of Nigeria popularly known as Agwaluma.
Chrysophyllum africanum the botanical name of this species.
African star apple is also known as white star apple, “cherry”, agbalumo (Yoruba), udara (Igbo) and otien (Edo) – in Nigeria, is associated with the dry season.
Botanically called Chrysophyllum albidum , African star apple is a popular tropical fruit tree that is widely distributed throughout the southern part of Nigeria.
Agbalumo is commonly found in the dry season (December to April). The exotic fruit has a chewable, edible skin that ranges in colour from green to orange, depending on the stage of ripeness.
Health benefit of star apple
The health benefit of star apple in general has some similar health benefit, very similar to one another, however, be it African or Non-African star apple both are good for human consumption.
Below are the health benefits of star apple.
Africa Star Apple
The African star apple has some wonderful health benefits beyond what we except it to be. It is already popular across Africa especially the children for its sweet-sour taste and gummy skin.
- It has high vitamin C content
As many people know, the benefits of vitamin C include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease and even ageing of the skin. Cherry is a wonderful source of vitamin C. Cherry is a good source of fiber, vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, vitamins A and C and folic acid. Tannins, flavonoids, terpenoids, proteins, carbohydrates and resins are the photochemical that have been reported in agbalumo.
- It is a natural remedy
Herbal practitioners are known to use the bark of the tree of Africa star apple to treat yellow fever and malaria locally, agbalumo is a natural remedy for toothache, constipation, sore throat, mouth gum disease and much more. Also the leaves are useful for treating wounds, stomach ache, and diarrhea. The seeds are also used to treat vaginal and skin infections in some parts of the country.
- It is a natural anti-oxidant
Antioxidants are substances that remove potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism. It can also be said those substances help protect our cells against the effects of free radicals.
- It helps you lose weight
Yes, it help to reduce weight, studies show that a serving of agbalumo contains just 67 calories; thus making it a good option for snacking between meals for people who want to lose weight as they get fewer calories on consuming it.
- It is good for pregnant women
It is not a coincidence that Agbalumo is liked by some pregnant women. As a matter of fact, the acidic taste of Agbalumo help prevents the urge to vomit when experiencing morning sickness. Some of the pregnant are split older during pregnancy, however, cherry is good for the pregnant woman just because it has sour taste that holds the mouth, hits the palate and stops one from throwing up or spitting. It also helps in improving blood flow to the placenta which carries food from the mother to the baby.
Moreover, some set of researcher also shown that agbalumo lowered blood sugar and cholesterol, and could be useful in preventing and treating heart diseases.
General Health Benefits of Star apple
An Apple star offers 5 percent of the daily recommended values of important vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin A. It is a wonderful source of calcium, providing you with 10 percent of the daily recommended value of the mineral. The consumption of calcium-rich foods, such as star apple, helps strengthen bones and teeth and also reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as abdominal bloating and cramps. Apple star is rich in phosphorus, another mineral bone healthy. Below are the health benefits of star apple
- Digestive Health
Star apple is a wonderful source of dietary fiber and thus the fruit is able to keep your digestive system in good health. Fiber adds bulk to your bank, makes it soft and eliminates it easily through the intestines. Normalizing your bowel movements, fiber star apple helps to get rid of constipation as well as other digestive problems. It also helps prevent the most dangerous health problems such as cancer of the colon.
- Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a water soluble nutrient which is essential to support several important functions in the human body. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and is responsible for the production of collagen, healing wounds, protecting the heart, improve immune health, enhance vision, and decrease blood sugar levels in diabetic and more. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals and helps prevent many fatal diseases like cancer and heart disease. It also helps to delay the aging process. Since the human body cannot make vitamin C itself, it is important to consume this nutrient rich food. Apple star is one of those foods that have high content of vitamin C.
- Control Diabetes
Another important benefit of star apple is that it helps control sugar levels in the blood and thus is an ideal food for people suffering from diabetes. It was found that the star apple fiber helps keep the blood sugar under control. This fruit is also rich in antioxidants that protect the body against health problems like diabetes, cancer and heart problems.
- Prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia
Iron deficiency anemia is a common type of anemia that occurs due to insufficient amounts of mineral iron in the body. Iron is essential for your body to produce hemoglobin, a protein molecule in red blood cells which is responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs to all parts of the body. Iron deficiency anemia is frequently characterized by symptoms like fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, headache, dizziness and loss of appetite. This condition can be corrected by taking iron supplements or consuming foods with high iron content like apple star, green leafy vegetables etc.
- Lose Weight
Being a fruit low fat and calories, the star apple is one of the best food choices to include in a weight loss diet. Furthermore, the high amount of dietary fiber in fruit improves its satiety and makes you feel more complete for long periods of time. This helps prevent over-eating, which is very important when you are trying to lose weight.
Calcium and phosphorus are two very important minerals necessary for the development of bones and strong teeth. A proper balance of these minerals is needed by the body to maintain good bone health and to prevent numerous bone diseases. The star apple is a good source of calcium and phosphorus, and thus is considered a fruit bone.
- Medicinal Drugs
In fruit, other plant parts such as seeds, leaves and bark are also used as natural remedies for the treatment of various diseases. The cooking of the leaves or bark is used in the Philippines to treat dysentery and diarrhea. According to a survey, the shell of the star apple tree has traditionally been used to treat malaria and yellow fever. The leaves have emollient properties and are used for the treatment of stomach pain, diarrhea and skin rash. In Western Nigeria, the cotyledons of the star apple seeds are used for the preparation of ointments for treatment of vaginal and skin infections.
According to a survey, the star apple consists of an alkaloid known as eleagnine, which shows a powerful antimicrobial activity. This compound has also been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. The star apple seeds have been used in the preparation of ointments that are designed to fight infections. Researchers also found that the star apple tree leaves exhibits strong antibacterial activity against common bacteria.