Benefits of eating JAMUN, the fruit of Jambudweep

  • Article gives seasonal importance of eating jamun, cultural significance and health benefits. 

‘Eat Local, Eat Seasonal’ may have become the latest ‘woke’ statement for the Western world but for the Indian subcontinent, it has been the way of life, since time immemorial. 


The wisdom of Ayurveda taught us to live in harmony with the seasons.  Even the Panchaang gives a detailed explanation of what one should and shouldn’t consume, season-wise. 


A popular folk saying describes what one must avoid eating/doing in which month of the Indic calendar:


चैते गुड़, वैशाखे तेल, जेठ के पंथ, अषाढ़े बेल।

सावन साग, भादो दही, कुवांर करेला, कार्तिक मही ।।

अगहन जीरा, पूसै धना, माघै मिश्री, फागुन चना।

जो कोई इतने परिहरै, ता घर बैद पैर नहिं धरै।।



Chaite gud, Vaishakhe Tel, Jeth ke Panth, Ashaadhe Bel

Saavan saag, Bhaadon dahi, Kunvaar karela, Kaartik mahi

Aghan jeera, Poose dhana, Maghe mishri, Phaagun chana

Jo koi itne parihare, taa ghar baidya pair nahin dhare


Rough Translation:  The one who avoids jaggery in Chaitra, oily food in Vaishaakh, roaming in the sun in Jyestha, Stone-apple in Ashaadh, leafy vegetables in Shravan, curd in Bhadrapad, bitter gourd in Ashvin, brinjal in Kartik, cumin in Margashirsh/Agrahayan, coriander in Pausha, mishri in Maagh and gram in Phalguna does not fall ill.

(There are many more sayings like this which also explain what one must eat. We will talk about them, logically, some other time.)


Modern consumerism, aided by scientific advancements in the field of agriculture, has made many fruits and vegetables perennial or ‘Baarahmaasi’. 


Fresh produce is exported, imported and consumed by almost every country in the world.  Due to these advancements, one can have avocadoes grown in Mexico while sitting in India. The traditional avocado season used to be summer but now they are available all-round the year.


This might seem like huge progress for the human civilization but it also has repercussions that negatively impact the health of the planet as well as its inhabitants. The carbon footprint left by the transportation of such produce is enormous and the agricultural practices used to support this lifestyle are not just unsustainable but toxic.


In the wake of slow and sustainable movements, we have started realizing the implications of eating such produce as it is chemical-ridden and hardly qualifies to be called ‘fresh’. Therefore, local and seasonal has started gaining importance once again. 

The summer season or Greeshm Ritu in India, especially the Northern half of the country, begins with arrival of fruits like - watermelons, muskmelons and cucumbers. They are followed by lychees and then arrive the mangoes (in the Western and Southern parts, mangoes arrive earlier).


Some of these fruits are watery and cooling but mangoes are heaty as they are ripened by high-temperatures. They are also quite high on sugar. It seems that nature wants us to consume natural sugar during summer, to fight the heat, but how does it balance this consumption? By giving us ‘Jamun’ at the onset of Monsoon and end of summer! 


The old and wise in North India say that jamun is the ‘antidote’ of mango, one must eat as many jamuns as one eats mangoes. Jamun balances the sugar and the heat of mangoes.  It is believed that consuming ample jamun in the season can help prevent Diabetes and keep sugar levels balanced for the entire year.


Jamun (scientific name : Syzygium cumini) is also called Jambu Phalinda (Sanskrit),  Naval Pazlam (Tamil) and Nerale hannu (Kannada), Jambul, Jaman, Jam, Java plum, Black plum, Faux pistachier, Indian blueberry etc. Jambu is native to the Indian subcontinent.

The Puranas mention the division of the seven continents in which the Indian subcontinent is referred to as ‘Jambudweep’ or the island of Jambu/Jamun trees. Hindu and Buddhist texts place Jamun trees at the centre of the Universe. Ibn Battuta, the famous traveller also mentioned these trees in his travelogue.

Jamun has immense value in the Ayurveda and Unani systems of medicine.  It is also used for making sherbets, wines and vinegar.


Apart from balancing blood sugar levels the jamun is also:

1. A great source of iron and vitamin C.

2. Known to treat ailments of the heart and liver.

3. Used to treat stomach disorders.

4. A blood purifier and immunity booster.

Other parts of the tree, apart from the fruit, also have several health benefits:

1. Dried and powdered leaves of jamun have anti-bacterial properties. They are used as a tooth powder for strengthening teeth and gums.

2. The fruit and leaves possess strong astringent properties, making it highly effective against throat problems and in eliminating bad breath

3. Application of a pack made from its seeds is a good cure for skin problems, especially those of the oily skin.

The cultural significance of jamun is reflected in the fact that the deep-purple colour is synonymous with it, in some Indian languages. It is called ‘Jamuni’ in Hindi and Urdu. In Awadhi, jamun is called Pharend or Phalind (from Sanskrit) and its typical astringent taste is known as बखटाहट (Bakhtaahat), a specific and unique word.


In folk culture, it is said - if the jamun stains your tongue it means that you keep secrets or tell lies.

Interestingly, eating jamun always leaves a purple stain on the tongue. This implies that all of us have failings, so we must not judge others. Jamun, along with health benefits, gives us life lessons too.

Therefore, before we run after exotic food we must learn to value our local superfoods.

Author is from Lucknow. She is a Jewellery Designer, runs and lots more.

To read all articles by author

All pictures courtesy author. 

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