(Last Updated on : 06/01/2009)
Garcinia indica Choisy.
Hindi, Bengali and Punjabi:
Amsol, Katambi, Kokam, Ratamba
Kokam is better known for its edible fruits, which is consumed as fruit and vegetable and when dry used as popular spice in the west coast of India. The tree is also known as 'Kokam butter tree', 'Brindonia tallow tree' etc.
Kokam is a slender evergreen tree with drooping branches; leaves ovate or oblong lanceolate, 6.25 to 8.75 cm long and 2.5 to 3.75 cm broad, dark green above and pale beneath; fruits globose or spherical 2.5 to 3.75 cm diameter, dark purple when ripe, enclosing 5 to 8 large seeds.
The fruit has an agreeable flavor and a sweetish acid taste. It is used in Konkan area chiefly in the form of Kokam prepared by drying the outer rind, soaking it repeatedly in the juice of the pulp and sun drying. Kokam contains about 10 % malic acid and a little tartaric and citric acid. It is used as a garnish to give an acid flavor to curries and also for preparing cooling syrups during hot months. Kokam is reported to be exported to a few African countries particularly Zanzibar.
The fruit is anthelmintic and cardio tonic, and useful in piles, dysentery, tumors, pains and cardiac disorders. A syrup from the fruit juice is given in bilious affections. The root is astringent.
The seeds of the fruit yield 23 to 26% by weight of seeds and about 44% on the weight of kernels, a valuable edible fat known in commerce as 'Kokam butter'. It is extracted mostly on a cottage industry basis by crushing the kernels boiling the pulp in water and skimming off the fat from the top; or by churning the crushed pulp with water.
Kokam butter is considered nutritive, astringent, demulcent and emollient. It is suitable for ointments, suppositories and pharmaceutical purposes. It is as a local application to ulcers and fissures of lips, hand etc. The oil cake left after the extraction of oil can be used for manufacture of industrial adhesives, as manure and as cattle feed. Saponification value of the oil is 187 to 191.7, Iodine value 25 to 36 and Titer 40 to 43 degree C.
Kokam butter as sold in local markets consists of egg shaped lumps or cakes of light gray or yellowish color with a greasy feel and a bland oily taste. It is used mainly as an edible fat. Refined and deodorized fat is white in color and compares well with high class hydrogenated fats.
This fat is rich in combined stearic and oleic acids. It contains about 75% of mono-oleodisaturated glycerides. It is suitable for use as confectionery butter. It is also suitable for candle and soap making. It possesses suitable properties for use in sizing cotton yarn.