Eating for its sour taste when fairly ripen and sweet taste when well ripen, star apple finds favor among every class and divides of the society.
It is rightly called star apple due to the star shaped fruits of the tree. The fruits are ashy-green when unripe but turns yellow to orange and sometimes to reddish color when properly ripe. When plucked, the fruit usually gives out a whitish gummy liquid, which may persist for several minutes before clotting.
The plant of star apple is a perennial plant that can grow to several meters and form, in most instances, a canopy-like shade around a circumference. There are two basic species of the star apple, they are chrysophyllum cainito and chrysophyllum albidum.
Chemical And Nutritional Values Of Star Apple Pulp
The star apple pulp contains several vitamins and mineral which gave it its medicinal and nutritional importance. Aside these, the pulp possesses several other bioactive chemical compounds which are listed below:
Vitamin Content Of Star Apple Pulp
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B2
- Vitamin B3
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Folic acid
Mineral content of star apple Pulp
Phytochemical contents of star apple pulp
The Leaves Of Star Apple
The leaves of star apple are medium in size and fibrous. It is ashy-greenish in color. The plant does not shed off its leaves, even in the harsh weather condition of harmattan. It is usually pointed and sometimes, especially when the tree is still young, broad.
The leaves have been used in traditional medicines to cure several diseases such as malarial, blood pressure and anemia.
Phytochemical contents of Star apple leaves
- Cardiac glycosides
Health Benefits of Star Apple
Beyond its sour to sweet taste, star apple has proved itself among herbal plants, and may rightly be regarded as one. Its benefits are enormous, and we shall look at each one in details.
Star Apple Lowers Hypertension
Some studies have shown that the extracts from star apple pulp inhibited the enzyme, angiotensin-1-converting enzyme (ACE), which is a key part of rennin-angiotensin-1 system that regulates blood pressure. This means that regular intake of star apple could be a sure way to keep your blood pressure at normal levels and bring down your blood pressure.
In another study it was found to reduce the elevated arterial pressure of a salt-induced hypertensive rat significantly compared to that of non-hypertensive rats.
It May Reduce Diabetes
The leaf and stem bark of star apple has been used extensively to treat diabetes in traditional medicines. The Dida people, in the area of Divo in Côte-d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Africa, create a drink from the stem bark of star apple which is believed to lessen the effects of diabetes and push it into remission.
In another research, the effect of star apple fruits extract were studied on type 1 and type 2 diabetic models. From the results, the fruit extract showed significant anti-diabetic activities in both type 1 and type 2 models.
This might be due to the regeneration of pancreatic beta cells or by increasing cellular utilization of glucose.
A study on the leaves of star apple also showed anti-diabetic activities, but the leaves can be toxic at certain concentration, say, 30g/L.
Read also (11 Health Benefits of Scent Leaf Juice)
May Be Used In Treating Microbial Infections
The fruit pulp and seed extract have been shown to possess antimicrobial activities against selected microorganisms such as Escherichia coli and species of Salmonella, Staphylococcus, Pseudomonas, Aspergillus, Candida and Penicillium.
According to a study on these microorganisms, the fruit and seed proved to be a potential alternative medicine for bacterial and fungal infections, and if further studies be carried out to select the most active chemical, may be used as chemotherapy for treating microbial infections.
Both the fruits and leaves of star apple are great sources of strong antioxidants.
Antioxidants are bio-active compounds which scavenge free radicals from our systems. When cellular metabolisms generate free radicals, they’re easily scavenged by glutathione in the body. However, a situation may occur in which the free radicals are in higher rates and overpower the glutathione present in our body. In other instances, glutathione not be enough to mop up free radicals, leaving our cells at the mercy of oxidative damages.
This leads to DNA damage and cellular apoptosis, and may lead to aging of our body when we are still young.
Antioxidants rejuvenate our body by scavenging free radicals and suppressing lipid peroxidation.
May Lower Cholesterol Level
The juice of star apple possesses strong hypolipidemic property. It was tested on lipid parameters in high fat fed rats and showed significant reductions in the total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins and triglyceride levels, but elevated the level of high density lipoproteins, otherwise known as the good cholesterol.
This is good news for anyone looking for ways to lower one’s cholesterol.
Cholesterol is a risk factor for coronary heart disease through the generation of atherosclerosis. Other risk factors are reactive oxygen species. Thankfully, star apple fruit pulp possesses strong antioxidants and strong hypolipidemia
May Enhance Wound Healing
In traditional medicine, long before now, the leaves of star apple tree has been employed in wound healing. This property of the leaves of Chrysophylum species has been scientifically proven using an ethanolic extract of the leaves. The result of the study showed that star apple leaves may be used, topically, as a wound healing herb.
May Be Used To Control Obesity
Obesity is one of the risk factors for chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and many others. To control body weights, one of the mechanisms employed is the inhibition of fat absorption. Interestingly, star apple proved to be a great candidate because its leaf extracts can interfere with the activity of lipase, thereby forestalling the development of obesity.
A study showed the hexane fraction of the ethanolic extract of the leaves of star apple exhibited the highest activity. This cannot be replicated at home, since hexane may be toxic to human body systems.
To make use of the leaves of Chrysophylum species, grind the dried leaves and add in your custard, pap, or raw milk and drink. You may also make a decoction of the leaves by infusing them in a 70% aqueous ethanol solution and allow it stand for a day or two before consuming a 20 ml quantity of the decoction morning before breakfast and night long after dinner.
May Be Used in Treating Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a health condition in which mass bone degradation occurs. This condition causes damages on the bone micro-architecture and may increase the risk of bone fracture.
This health condition is increasing in its prevalence, and by 2013, has reached 36 million people who are suffering Osteoporosis.
The good news, however, is that star apple leaves may be used as an alternative medicine for the treatment of osteoporosis. This is because the leaves of chrysophylum species possess estrogen-like compounds such as isoflavones and sterols.
A study that 96% ethanol extract of Chrysophylum cainito leaves increased the bone density of trabecular vertebrae bone of male mice at all tested doses with the best dose at 0.1 mg/g/day (bone density value 266.65 ± 1.38 µm) and ED50 value of 95.4 mg/g/day. This may be due to the presence of phytoestrogens present in the leaves, which can also influence bone formations.
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