Natural Benefits of African Star Apple

Published December 15, 2019. 

Olufunke Faluyi

This time on our visit to God ’s pharmacy , we shall be discussing African star apple. It is botanically called chrysophyllum albidum .

The African star apple is commonly known as agbalumo in Yoruba and Udara in Igbo. It is also called African cherry. It is delicious and low in calories . It is a power – packed favourite .

At a glance , the African cherry appears rather small and insignificant in comparison with many other fruits . Yet , experts on nutrition have repeatedly affirmed its uncommon nutritional benefits as well as its efficacy in the prevention and management of diabetes and heart diseases.

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I particularly chose to discuss this fruit because of its high Vitamin C content. Vitamin C , also known as ascorbic acid and ascorbate, is a vitamin found in various foods and sold as a dietary supplement . It is used to prevent and treat scurvy .

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters . It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune system function . It also functions as an antioxidant. However , as important as Vitamin C is , humans , unlike other animals , cannot make it!

Humans are one of the few mammals unable to manufacture ascorbic acid in their liver . The only way humans can make up for this inborn Vitamin C deficiency is to include foods rich in Vitamin C in their diet .

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I made consultations on the use of the seed in herbal medicine. According to Mr Akintunde Oluseyi , a herbal practitioner in Ile- Oluji, Ondo State , the seed of agbalumo is a potent cure of hernia , especially when diagnosed early . He reeled out steps on how to prepare the seed for the treatment of hernia .

On the nutritional contents of C . albidum for human consumption, Prof Ignatius Onimawo of the Department of Biochemistry , Ambrose Alli University , Ekpoma , Edo State , said the fruit serves as a good source of calcium, with each providing an individual with 10 per cent of the daily requirement .

He asserted that calcium lends strength to human bones and teeth , and may also lessen symptoms of premenstrual syndrome , such as cramping and abdominal bloating . The fruit also contains five per cent of the daily recommended value per serving of Vitamin C and Vitamin A .

He added that one serving of cherry serves up to two per cent of iron , a mineral vital for oxygenating the body .

Speaking on other health benefits of the African cherry, the expert noted that cherries may have particular benefits for diabetics . Citing a research published in the September 2009 edition of the African Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, the result indicated that the leaves of the fruit reduced glucose levels in diabetic rabbits, the same function that insulin in the human body performs.

He referred to a study by researchers at the Department of Biological sciences, College of Science and Technology , Covenant University , Ota , Ogun State . The study showed that the local cherry fruit lowered blood sugar and cholesterol and could be useful in preventing and treating heart diseases.

A reference was also made to a research conducted at the Forestry Research Institute, Ibadan , Oyo State , on the antibacterial activity of the African cherry leaves against common bacterial isolates .

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