Health benefits of Chironji

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Chironji Quick Facts
Name: Chironji
Scientific Name: Buchanania lanzan
Origin Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, India, Yunnan
Colors Green when young turning to purplish-black as they matures
Shapes Drupe, ovoid-reniform, size of a small cherry 10-13 x 8 mm, oblong, laterally compressed
Taste Sweet, acrid
Health benefits Improves Digestion and Regularizes Bowel Movement, Postnatal Care for Mothers, Relieves Itchy Skin, Improves memory, Strengthen Your Heart, Helps with fatigue, Treats diarrhea, Improves Reproductive Health, Cure Mouth Ulcers, Purifies Blood, Prevents diabetes, Prevents inflammation and treats wounds, Healthy Skin, Boosts the immune system, Treats Rheumatic Pains, Helps Losing Weight
  Chironji or Charoli, scientifically known as Buchanania lanzan is a deciduous tree of the Anacardiaceae plant family and is also known as Almondette tree. The plant originated in the Indian sub-continent and is widely grown throughout Burma, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Yunnan. The tree is natural wild growth in the tropical deciduous forests of Northern, Western and Central India, mostly in the States of Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Madhya Pradesh and in Varanasi and Mirzapur districts and Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh. Besides India, the plant is also found in other tropical Asian countries, Australia and Pacific islands. Chironji is also called with other names such as Narrow-leaved buchanania, Cheraunji nut tree, Chirauli nut, Chirauli nut tree, Chironji nut, Cuddapa almond, Cuddapah almond, Broad-leaved bachanania, Chironji, Hamilton’s mombin and many more.

The seeds of the Chironji plant are commonly known as Chironji seeds that are edible to humans. These almond-flavored seeds are used as a cooking spice primarily in India. Though they can be eaten and used raw they are often toasted or roasted before use, as this intensifies the flavor. They are commonly used in sweets in India. However, they are also ground into powders for thickening savory sauces and flavoring batters, and stewed into rich, meaty kormas.

Plant Description

Chironji is a medium-sized sub-deciduous, evergreen tree that grows up to 18 meters tall with a straight trunk and tomentose branches. The plant is found growing in open and dry forests, lowland forests, and moist deciduous, dry deciduous and semi-evergreen forests. The plant avoids waterlogged areas, but occurs on yellow sandy loam soils. It undertakes great significance due to its diverse uses and capacity to withstand adverse climatic conditions. At present, it is growing under forest condition as an under exploited fruit and gives monitory reward to tribal community of the country. Bark is 1.25 to 1.75 cm thick, external surface grayish-brown, rough due to formation of fissures and internal surface reddish-brown and fibrous; recurved, flat or more or less channeled; fracture and fibrous.

Leaves

Leaves are simple, alternate, estipulate. Petiole is 12-22 mm long, stout, glabrous; lamina 10-23.5 x 5-12 cm, broadly oblong, base round or acute, apex obtuse or emarginate, margin entire, glabrous above and densely tomentose beneath, coriaceous; lateral nerves 10-20 pairs, pinnate, prominent, pubescent, secondary laterals prominent, intercostae reticulate and prominent.

Flowers and fruits

Flowers are small, greenish-white in color. Flowering normally takes place from January-March. Fertile flowers are followed by drupe, ovoid-reniform, size of a small cherry 10-13 x 8 mm, oblong, laterally compressed, black.  Stone is hard, 2 valved that contains one seed. Fruits are initially green turning to purplish-black as they mature. The fruits of chironji mature in  4  to  5 months and are  harvested  manually  in  the  month  of  April  and May. Seed is flat, oval, laterally much compressed, creamish-brown, mottled with darker brown lines, 0.4-0.6 cm long and 0.3-0.5 cm wide and speckled with dark patches.

The chironji kernels consists of about  52%  oil  which is used as a substitute for  olive  and  almond oils,  while  the whole kernel  is  used  in  sweet-meats  or  as  a  substitute  for almond  kernels. Chironji oil is extracted from the fruits of Buchanania lanzan and is known as “char” in India.  It  has  great  medicinal  value;  especially  the kernels  are  used  as  expectorant  and  tonic.  Oil extracted from kernels is used for treating skin diseases.

Health benefits of Chironji

Chironji is herb used in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicine forms. Chironji has been used since thousands of years in Unani and Ayurvedic system of medicine because of its amazing medicinal and curative properties. Regular intake of Chironji seeds helps in improving your health and in preventing many diseases. Some of the health benefits of chironji seeds are given below.

1. Improves Digestion and Regularizes Bowel Movement

Chironji seed oil has astringent properties, and can help in regularizing bowel movements. It helps in binding stool particles together, and hence, cures diarrhea. Just a few drops of the oil may be added to your oral re-hydration solution, or ORS, and consumed to treat the problem of loose stools. Chironji root extract is supposed to be beneficial for treating ulcers that are indicative of stomach troubles.

2. Prevents diabetes

More and more people are becoming susceptible to diabetes in recent times. A lot of factors including an unhealthy diet, lack of play time or hereditary factors are some of the reason behind this. The leaf extract of the chironji plant has anti-diabetic properties, according to some studies.

3. Healthy Skin

Chironji seed is rich minerals and vitamins and are very beneficial for the healthy skin. For a beautiful and glowing skin powdered Chironji seeds are added to milk to make paste and used as face mask for 15 minutes daily. These seeds are also very useful when used as scrubs as they remove and exfoliate dirt and dead cells there by cleansing your skin as well as removing the facial hair. Additionally, the seeds also help to prevent skin infections such as acne and pimples. It can also be used to treat skin infections by mixing it with rose water and applying to the affected areas. The Chironji oil has highly contributed to the cosmetic industry in making natural cosmetic products that are skin friendly.

4. Boosts the immune system

Chironji seeds are rich in vitamins and mineral, which makes them a super food, one that fights against all kinds of diseases and health problems. These seeds boost our immunity system and are therefore crucial for your child’s immunity, since children are more susceptible to diseases than adults due to their developing immune system.

5. Treats Rheumatic Pains

Gum of Chironji can help to deal with certain health problems. As the consequence, it has shown that the gum is dissolved in cow’s milk and used to treat rheumatic pains. Hence, if you want to find the natural treatment for the rheumatic pains, then Chironji is something that should be taken into account.

6. Helps with respiratory issues

Blocked nose can easily be cleared by taking steam with water infused with a few drops of chironji oil. The mucous in the nasal passages is removed almost instantly. Chest congestion and nasal congestion can be relieved very easily using chironji seeds since they possess expectorant properties. Therefore, if your child is suffering from these respiratory issues, you can try to include chironji seeds in the treatment for that.

7. Improves Reproductive Health

Chironji oil is an effective cure for treating problems relating to the reproductive system.  Seeds have aphrodisiac properties and therefore are used in treating sexual and reproductive problems such as premature ejaculation, impotence and loss of libido. In parts of India, it is a tradition that newlywed couples start their married life by eating sweets and nutritious drink made from chironji seeds. It is supposed that it will boost their vitality and sexual ability.

8. Prevents inflammation and treats wounds

Both chironji seeds and chironji oil are known for their anti-inflammatory properties. Chironji seeds can help to provide instant relief from burning sensations in various parts of the body. Chironji oil also helps to relieve itching, rashes, blemishes etc. on the skin. The oil is also effective in treating scars and various skin infections. It can also help to provide relief from inflammation and pain in the joints. Research has shown that chironji seeds help in healing wounds very fast and also facilitate tissue remodeling.

9. Purifies Blood

Researches have shown that Chironji seeds are useful to purify the blood. Indeed, by acting as a blood cleanse, then it will result in the improvement of blood circulation. Also, by purifying the blood, charoli will help to remove the toxins and stress hormone in the bloodstream.

10. Improves memory

One of the numerous health benefits of chironji seeds is that it helps in improving memory and thus, helps in promoting the health of the brain. Your child is growing up with all his organs rapidly developing. It is also the age when one’s mental and cognitive functions develop properly. So, it will be extremely beneficial to feed your child chironji seeds.

11. Cure Mouth Ulcers

Traditional medicine made using the Chironji plant has been used to treat mouth ulcers. Chironji is also supposed to have a cooling effect on the body in addition to its treatment of the digestive problems which contributes to treatment of ulcers.

12. Helps Losing Weight

If you do a diet routine, then you have to ensure that your body obtains the ideal amount of nutrients. For instance, you can choose green salads as your favorite food option. Besides, you can choose another food to eat such as Chironji seeds as a way out. This popular seeds are beneficial to promote the weight management as well.

13. Relieves Itchy Skin

Chironji as a kind of nutritional seeds will help you to relieve itchiness on your skin. Besides, not only for that, the great nutrients contained in it are valuable to deal with certain skin problems including prickly heat, rashes, and skin spots. Moreover, to use the Chironji as the beauty treatment, then you can use it as the ointment as well.

14. Postnatal Care for Mothers

Chironji plant has been used to make traditional medicine. These medicines were usually given to the mother after child birth. This is because the nutrients contained in the Chironji extract are known to have properties that stimulate the immunity.

15. Strengthen Your Heart

Another healthy benefit part of the chironji is its leaves. The juice extracted from these leaves has strong aphrodisiac, expectorant and purgative properties. The juice is also used to strengthen the heart as a cardio tonic. It’s a good natural tonic for relieving fatigue and the leaves can be powdered to treat the wounds as well.

16. Helps with fatigue

Another great health benefit of chironji seeds is the way it acts as a tonic. Indeed, with this function, chironji seeds will help your child to relieve the fatigue and chronic tiredness that result from too much of playing and studying. Alternatively, a healthy diet goes a long way in relieving one of fatigue and tiredness.

Chironji for Beauty Treatments

17. Exfoliates Skin

Chironji seeds are supposed to bring great benefits including removing the dead skin cells. As a matter of fact, Chironji seeds have been used in many beauty products as well. As a result, you can make this kind of seeds as your daily face mask. Additional, not only for that, Chironji seeds is valuable to prevent the acne, pimples, and other skin infections. For the tips, you can use Chironji seeds as the beauty scrub to exfoliate and removing the dirt and dead cells.

18. Promotes Beauty Skin

In fact, nowadays people try to find the natural treatment for their skin. As the consequence, they try to apply the healthy lifestyle by consuming many kinds of fruits and vegetables. In the same way, using Chironji as your daily face mask can help to promote the beauty skin. Then, by combining the Chironji seeds with olive oil or milk will provide you a glowing face and remove facial blemishes as well.

Other benefits of Chironji

Medicinal use of chironji roots

Extract made from the roots of chironji is found to have expectorant properties. It is used for treating infections that occur in the blood and to cure disorders of the digestive system, often caused the dysfunction of the liver or gall bladder.

Medicinal use of chironji leaves

Juice obtained from the leaves of the Chironji tree is used as a remedy for digestion problems. This juice also has strong purgative, aphrodisiac, and expectorant properties. The juice of Chironji leaves is used as a tonic to relieve tiredness and fatigue. It is also used as a cardio-tonic to strengthen the heart so that it performs at its maximum best. Leaves are occasionally dried and powdered and used to treat wounds.

Medicinal use of chironji gum

Gum of chironji tree is used as a remedy to treat diarrhea and chest pain. It is often mixed with milk and used to provide relief from the pain associated with rheumatism.

Medicinal use of Chironji Bark

Chironji tree bark is found to offer antioxidant properties and has potential applications for treating various health disorders.

Home Remedies using Chironji nuts

  • Chironji face-pack: Chironji face pack is useful in making facial skin soft, smooth, and glowing. For making this face pack, ground the nuts adding some gulab jal. The consistency of paste should not very thin. Apply this paste on the face till it dries and then remove the pack. Apply this pack daily for one week.
  • Chironji-orange peel powder face pack: Ground Chironji and orange peel powder adding some milk. Apply on the face till it packs dries. Then wash with plain water.
  • For Shitpitta: Take 20 grams Chironji and chew very well. This will gives relief in itching and burning sensation in the body.
  • Neuralgic Headache & fainting: Chironji kernels are crushed and boiled in milk. The milk with kernels is advised to drink twice a day for patients suffering from neutalgic headache and fainting.
  • Atopic dermatitis or weeping eczema: Take 100 grams of Chironji kernel powder and 15 grams of borax. Mix both ingredients in rose water. Apply it on the affected part once a day.
  • Urticaria: Chewing 20 grams chironji kernels helps to cure Urticaria. The remedy may take 1-3 months for curing urticaria.
  • Excessive thirst: Taking chironji seeds with milk helps to quench excessive thirst.
  • Impotence: It is traditionally advised to taken with milk to increase count and male performance in case of infertility and impotence.

Traditional uses and benefits of Chironji

  • Gum obtained from the tree is used as treatment for leprosy.
  • Roots are used against diarrhea, the leaves against skin ailments.
  • Fruits are used against coughs and asthma.
  • Chironji seeds are used in the Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine.
  • Roots are acrid, astringent, cooling, depurative and constipating.
  • They are useful in the treatment of diarrhea.
  • Leaves are used in the treatment of skin diseases.
  • Fruits are used in treating coughs and asthma.
  • Ayurveda medicine uses all the parts of this tree for its varied medicinal properties in treating cold, bowel disorders, premature ejaculation, fever and rheumatism.
  • Gum extracted from the bark of this tree and powder of the roots and dried leaves mixed with buttermilk is a traditional remedy for treating diarrhea.
  • In the folklore medicine of Andhra Pradesh, Chironji gum was mixed with cow’s milk for relieving rheumatic pain and they also used the leaves as a tonic for supporting cardiac functions.
  • Leaf powder was also used in encouraging quick healing of wounds.
  • Powdered seeds blended with milk and turmeric powder is used in India since as a natural face pack for augmenting the glow, complexion and suppleness of the skin.
  • Juice or the decoction of the Chironji leaves is used in Unani medicine for purifying the blood, treating loss of libido, impotency and also as a tonic for the digestive system.
  • Adding 3 drops of Chironji oil in cool bathing water can help in relaxing the lining of the stomach and intestines, binding the stools and regularizing the bowel movements.
  • Inhaling the aroma of this oil by adding 2 drops to your diffuser or vaporizer can aid in overcoming loss of appetite.
  • Chironji oil is applied on hair to relieve grey hairs.
  • Oil extracted from kernels is applied on skin diseases and also used to remove spots and blemishes from the face.
  • Root is used as expectorant, in biliousness and also for curing blood diseases.
  • Gum after mixing with goat milk is used as an analgesic.
  • Bark or leaf paste of B.lanzan and Diospyros melanoxylon mixed with a glass of water is given twice daily to treat snakebite.
  • Ointment prepared from the kernel is used to relieve itch and prickly heat.
  • Gum from the bark is used for treating diarrhea and pains, while leaves are used for the treatment of wound and skin diseases.

Culinary uses

  • Seed can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • It has an excellent flavor, somewhat reminiscent of almonds or pistachios.
  • It can also be eaten as a dessert seed and also used in sweetmeats.
  • In some parts of India the dried fruit and seed are baked together to make a sort of bread.
  • They are ground into powders for thickening savory sauces and flavoring batters, and stewed into rich, meaty kormas.
  • After the hard shell is cracked, the stubby seed within is as soft as a pine nut.
  • Fruit has a pleasant, sweetish, sub-acid flavor.
  • Fruits can be eaten fresh, or dried for later use.
  • Oil is obtained from the seed.
  • Light yellow oil can be used as a substitute for almond or olive oil.
  • They are commonly used in sweets in India.
  • They are also ground into powders for thickening savory sauces and flavoring batters, and stewed into rich, meaty kormas.

Recipes

Chironji ki Dal

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Chironji (Chironji seeds), soaked
  • 2 tbsp. Ghee
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 2-3 Green cardamoms
  • 4 Peppercorns
  • 1 Tbsp. Ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 Green chilies (slit)
  • 1 Tbsp. Coriander powder
  • 2 tsp. Rock salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Chili powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Yogurt
  • 1/2 Ghiya (optional), chopped
  • To garnish Coriander leaves

Directions

  1. Rub the seeds to remove the husk, discard the husk.
  2. Grind or blend half into a paste. Heat ghee; add cumin, cardamoms and peppercorns. Sauté a little, add the ginger.
  3. When the ginger browns a little, (If you are using ghiya first add the ghiya and saute) add the yoghurt a little at a time, stirring well to avoid scorching. When the oil separates, add coriander, salt, chili powder and green chilies.
  4. Sauté further, add the chironji and turn around to mix well. Add enough water to come up to about 2 cm above the mixture and bring to a boil.
  5. Simmer till the chironji is cooked through. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Chironji Nuts Burfi

Ingredients

  • 100 gm. Cashew nuts
  • 100 gm. Pistachio
  • 100 gm. Almonds
  • Chironji nuts
  • 250 gm. Sugar
  • 2 tbs. Desi Ghee

Directions

  1. Soak almonds for 5-6 hours. Grind it to make a paste.
  2. Chop chironji and cashew very finely and fry them in ghee lightly.
  3. Put ghee in wide bottom pan .put the almond paste in it and roast till the water dries up completely.
  4. Add pistachio in it and roast till a nice aroma spreads.
  5. Add cashew, chironji and elaichi powder.
  6. Prepare sugar syrup of 2 thread consistency and let it cool. add dry fruits mix in it
  7. Make barfee of desired shape.

Egg less Cardamom & Chironji Butter Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 cup All-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Butter (melted)
  • 1 tsp Cardamom powder
  • 3 tbsp Chironji seeds
  • Milk (as per need)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Mix together the sugar, flour; chironji seeds and salt in a large bowl, add gradually the melted butter and cardamom powder, mix everything well.
  2. Use the milk as per need to form soft dough, make small balls from the soft dough, and flatten them as small disc.
  3. Place them over a baking sheet lined over a baking tray, using a fork make some impressions over the flattened disc.
  4. Bake them for 12-15 minutes until the edges turns golden brown. Let them cool completely and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Chironji Chicken Curry

Ingredients

  • 1 kg Chicken (medium size pieces)
  • 1 cup Curd
  • 10 grams Chironji
  • 10 nuts Cashew
  • 3 tbsp. Tomato sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Chili sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. Garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp. Turmeric
  • 2 tsp. Lemon juice
  • Pepper powder according to taste
  • 100 grams Ghee
  • Salt to taste

For garnishing

  • Roasted cashews
  • Fried onions
  • Coriander

Directions

  1. Wash and clean the chicken and keep aside.
  2. Roast chironji and cashew nuts, grind it to a paste.
  3. Mix all the ingredients except ghee and marinate the chicken for at least 3-4 hours.
  4. Heat the pan and cook chicken along with marinate in a low flame.
  5. Pour ghee over the chicken.
  6. Add water and cook till the chicken is soft and tender.
  7. Garnish with roasted cashews, coriander and fried onions.
  8. Serve hot with parathas.

Chironji Ka Dalcha

Ingredients

  • Boneless lamb meat, cut into cubes 250 g
  • Oil ½ cup
  • 1 Onion (cut into thin slices)
  • Ginger-garlic paste 1 tbsp.
  • Chili powder 1 tsp.
  • Turmeric powder ¼th tsp.
  • Chironji seeds (soaked overnight and dehusked) 100 g
  • Curd (beaten) ½ cup
  • Fresh coriander leaves 2 tbsp.
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Rub the chironji seeds and remove the husk from them. Discard the husk.
  2. Take a pressure cooker and put the recommended amount of oil in the pressure cooker.
  3. Heat the oil in the cooker for a minute or two.
  4. Get the onion slices and fry them till it turns golden brown.
  5. Add ginger-garlic paste to the onions.
  6. Make sure to add small amounts of water to the mixture.
  7. Add chili powder, as it gives a sharp taste to it.
  8. Post that, add turmeric powder and salt to it along with the meat.
  9. Now, add curd to the mixture.
  10. Cook the meat well until the raw smell of the meat is gone.
  11. Now, add the chironji seeds along with the water to the mixture.
  12. Keep cooking till the meat is done. Check the dish for consistency. If the gravy is too thin, gently cook down to your consistency of choice.
  13. Finally, the dish is ready to be seasoned with fresh coriander, and topped with a little sprinkle of red chili powder.

Lamb with chironji and pepper

Ingredients

  • Charoli seeds (2 tbsp.)
  • Lamb (1 kg)
  • Cumin seeds (1 ½ tsp.)
  • Coriander powder (1 tsp.)
  • Ginger-garlic paste (1 tsp.)
  • Sliced onion (1)
  • Black pepper powder (1 tsp.)
  • Red chilies (4)
  • Tomato purees (2 tbsp.)
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro (a bunch)
  • Turmeric (a pinch)

Directions

  1. Blend together the Chironji seeds, ½ tsp. of cumin seeds, coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste and red chilies into a fine and smooth paste.
  2. The next step is to heat oil in a pan. Once the oil is hot, add the remaining cumin seeds, sliced onion and salt.
  3. Fry until the onion turns golden brown. Then add the turmeric and blended spice paste.
  4. Cook this mixture for some time, stirring all the while.
  5. Then add tomato puree and cook until the oil separates.
  6. At this stage add the lamb pieces and water to just cover everything in the pan.
  7. Cover the pan, reduce the flame, bring it to a simmer and allow the lamb to cook for about 1 hour or until the meat becomes tender.
  8. Once it is cooked, move the meat pieces to another bowl.
  9. Boil the remaining liquid until it reduces to a thick consistency and add chilies and garlic.
  10. Add the cooked lamb pieces in the sauce and cook for another 10-15 minutes.
  11. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

Other facts

  • Seed produces oil with a sweet flavor and pleasant scent thus it can be used as substitute for almond or olive oil.
  • The wood of Almondette is of poor quality hence usage is limited as firewood and for charcoal-making.
  • It is a good species for afforesting bare hill slopes.
  • Bark is used in tanning.
  • Tree yields a gum copiously in large, irregular pieces.
  • The gum has adhesive properties.
  • Oil is obtained from the seed.
  • The grayish-brown wood has small, dark-colored heartwood.
  • It is only used as firewood and for making charcoal

Precautions

  • After eating Chironji seeds, an individual with a weak stomach or weak digestive system may have loss of appetite.
  • Consuming Chironji kernels is constipation, which is also countered by Chironji fruits that act as a remedy for constipation.
  • Frequent urinating during the nights is one of the side effects caused to patients who consume it orally or apply it externally.

References:

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/192566/

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Buchanania+lanzan

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2684767

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buchanania_lanzan

https://indiabiodiversity.org/species/show/229000

http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Chironji%20Tree.html

http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/cropView?id=3957

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=506451#null

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=BULA8

https://uses.plantnet-project.org/en/Buchanania_latifolia_(PROSEA)

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