Other common names for Black Plum are Jamun Fruit, Indian Blackberry, Damson Plum, Jambolan, Java Plum, Jambolan Plum, Portuguese Plum, Malabar Plum, Purple Plum, Jambu, Jambul, Jamun, Jambas, Kala jamun, Rajaman, Neredu, Naval, Jamali, Nerale, Java plum and Black berry. The scientific name of Black plum is Syzygium cumini. Naturally the tree grows in India, Himalayas, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Australia. It got introduced to Fiji, Cook Islands, Guam, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Florida, Hawaii, Palau, Niue, China, Tonga, Palau, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, Christmas Island, India, Africa, South America and Caribbean.
The tree is tall which usually grows from 5 to 20 meters tall. Leaves are thick, wide having a pinnate bone. The tree produces ellipsoid or oblong berries as a fruit. Berries are green at first which turns into purple. The fruit tastes sour and sweet. The plant could be grown in semi-shade or no shade. It prefers wet or moist soil and is also able to tolerate drought.
Black plum is a substantial summer fruit which is related with various health benefits. It provides relief from stomach pain and acts as anti-scorbutic, carminative and diuretic. The polyphenolic compounds found in Black plum are helpful for heart diseases, cancer, asthma, diabetes and arthritis. It is also effective against bowel spasm, flatulence, dysentery and stomach ailments. It is consumed as a tonic to promote sexual activities. Black plum possesses anti-diabetic features. It converts starch into energy and normalizes level of blood sugar. Due to its low glycemic index in Black plum, it is suitable for sugar patients as well. It reduces the diabetic symptoms such as thrusting and frequent urination. This fruit contains adequate amounts of Vitamin C and iron. Iron helps to promote the count of haemoglobin and also acts as blood purifier. Iron content is helpful in menses where women experience blood loss.
Black plum is a large and evergreen tree which is much branched and grows from 5 to 20 meters tall having trunk diameter of 60 to 90 cm, terete branches, scaly bark and canopy spread of 10 meters. Leaves are coriaceous, opposite, elliptic oblong measuring 5 to 15 cm long by 2.5 to 8 cm wide, narrow, acuminate. Petioles are 1 to 2.5 cm long.
The fragrant flowers occur in clusters and are axillary on flowering branches. Flowers are pinkish or white which measures 12 mm wide. Calyx is copular measuring 4 to 6 mm wide and 8 mm long.
Petals are caduceous, slightly rounded, coherent and white to rose pink. Flowers are replaced by an ovoid to ellipsoid fruit which measures 2 to 2.5 cm long. Fruits are green which turns to pale greenish to white to deep purplish to black when ripe. Pulp is astringent, juicy, white to pale lavender in color with one large and green seed.
How to Eat
I love all seasonal fruits and veggies? They are packed with nutrients, are healthy, and perfect for the season. Stone fruits are one such kind of seasonal produce. I am fond of all stone fruits like peaches, plums, cherries. One variety of plum is our own Indian version of the plum called Java Plum or Jamun.
This Jamun Kala Khatta (Java Plum-Orange-Thyme Cooler) recipe is a childhood favorite. It is so tangy, sweet, and tasty. I have given this a twist with Thyme and oranges. Hope you like this version.
Jamuns are really low in calories and are a perfect mid-meal snack. Plus they are known to reduce blood sugar levels and good for diabetic patients. Even their stones and leaves help in lowering blood sugar levels. Additionally, they are supposed to minimize the risk of liver diseases and cancer.
I have such fond childhood memories of plucking Jamuns from the tree in our garden. We would clean them and eat them with pink salt. I diligently wait for Jamun season. This year, I have had a lot of Jamuns and have even made a few recipes and loved them.
If you love them too, also try out my Jamun Granita too.
1. Jamun – 1 big bowl
2. Orange – 2
3. Lemon – 1
4. Thyme twigs – 3
5. Brown Sugar – 3-4 tablespoons, optional
6. Roasted cumin powder – 1 teaspoon
7. Red chili powder – ½ teaspoon
8. Black Salt – to taste
1. Nicely wash the jamuns and dry them.
2. Remove stones from the jamuns.
3. Grind the jamuns from a mixer grinder and make a pulp. Place the pulp in a glass mixing bowl.
4. Squeeze fresh juice from two oranges and add them to the jamun pulp.
5. Add thyme twigs to the mixing bowl and place it in a refrigerator for 2 hours.
6. After two hours, take a strainer and strain the juice through it. Nicely squeeze the pulp to extract all the juice.
7. Add black salt and red chili powder to it. Then add 2-3 tablespoons of lemon juice.
8. Taste the juice and see if any sugar is needed. If you want it to be sweeter, add powdered brown sugar to the juice and mix well.
9. Adjust the salt, chili, and sugar levels as required.
10. Chill for another half an hour and serve.
Jamun Kala Khatta (Java Plum-Orange-Thyme Cooler) is ready. I am sure you would love it.
Black plum belongs to family Myrtaceae. It is also called as jambul, jambas, jambolan, malabar plum, neredu, rajaman, kala jamun, jamali, naval and java plum. It was firstly originated in India and spread to other tropical regions of the world in various countries of Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa such as Nepal, Pakistan, India, Surinam, Trinidad, Bangladesh, Tobago, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. Though various varieties could be found, common variety is oblong shaped and bluish or deep purple colored.
Black Plum is used for treating various diseases especially diabetes and associated complications. The plant possesses several compounds which are found to be the characteristics of plant. The pharmacological activities on diabetes were carries out with seed. There are not so much works with pharmacological actions of phytochemical constituents of Black plum. On the basis of these facts, author reviewed the role of Black Plum in variety of treatments and recommended that further clinical and phytochemical research should be carried out on the plant for making safer drugs. (1)
The study findings concluded that some medicinal plants have antioxidants and might be effective as preventive agents in pathogenesis of diseases. The methanol extracts are considerably effective radical scavengers in comparison to those who use less polarity solvent. It indicates that antioxidants of different polarity could be found in leaves of Black Plum. Still more research is needed on use of Black plum essential oil and extracts as preservative agents in various foods. Results encourage use of Black plum leaves for nutraceutical applications, medicinal health and functional food due to its antibacterial and antioxidant properties. (2)
Study confirms apoptotic and inhibitor effect of Black plum extract on cervical cancer cell lines. This fruit possess gallic acid whichy has anti-HIV, anti-adenoviral, anti-carcinomic, anti-peroxidant, chemopreventive and apoptotic activities. It is a topoisomerase-I-inhibitor. The results from the study indicate the apoptotic and inhibitory effect of extract. Anti-viral effect is confirmed by further experiments. Further research is required for identifying efficacy, mode of action and safety issues. (3)
The results obtained from the study confirmed that leaves of Black plum gall extracts as antioxidant and justified ethnobotanical approach in search for novel bioactive compounds. The strong correlation was observed between high total phenolic and flavonoid contents and higher antioxidant activities in methanol leaf gall extracts of Black plum. The findings supported that extracts obtained with the use of high polarity solvent are effective radical scavengers. Results supported that gall extracts use are potential antioxidants which may be effective as preventive agents in pathogenesis of some metabolic diseases. The study promoted use of Black plum leaves gall extracts for functional food, medicinal health and neutraceutical applications. (4)
Give 1 teaspoon of ground seeds with water.
Consume 4 gm of seed powder with water twice a day (in the morning and evening).
Drink the mixture of 20 gm of powdered seeds and ½ cup water twice a day.
Boil 10 gm of bark and 500 ml water till it reduces to 1/4th. Let it cool down. Take about 20 to 25 ml of this mixture 3 times a day.
Grind leaves by adding a little rock salt. Make a pill and take this each in the morning and evening.
Grind seeds by adding honey to make pills. Use two pills for 3 to 4 times in a day.
Mix ash of each Black plum leaves and almond shells. Then add peppermint (little) for making a tooth powder which helps to clean teeth and stop bleeding.
Rub leaves ashes on teeth and gums. This stops bleeding and also makes teeth strong.
Wash mouth with Black plum juice if suffering from pyorrhea.
Apply the diluted juice on affected area of ringworm.
Powdered seeds help to provide relief from excessive urination.
Boil 400 ml water by adding 15 to 20 soft leaves till it reduces to 100 ml. Let it cool and then with the use of this decoction wash eyes.
Drink 10 to 15 ml juice of Black plum to provide relief.
Grind leaves for making 20 ml juice. Then add some sugar in it. Take three doses every day for providing relief.
Grind 10 gm of leaves. Add it to 250 ml of cow’s milk. Take 3 doses every day for 1 week by stirring well. This helps to stop bleeding.
Mix 2-3 gms of powdered bark with 2 tsp honey. Add to milk and drink.
Take 10 ml of jamun vinegar for relief in water.
Boil 500 ml of water by adding few pieces of mango. Boil it till the water reduces to 1/4th. Cool it down and drink 10 ml to stop vomiting.
Place 2 to 3 gm of powdered bark on wound to heal the wound faster.