JAMBU (Eugenia jambolana)
Jambu plant has several synonyms, mentioned in ancient scriptures of Ayurveda, like mahaphala – the great fruit, sukapriya – pet plant of parrots, nilaphala – of black fruits, surabhipatra having fragrant leaves, maharasa – juicy etc. The tender leaves of five plants, together, are called as Panca pallava, viz. jambu, Bilva (Aegle marmelos), Amra (Mangifera indica), kapitha (Feronia limonia) and Bijapuraka (Citrus medica). The fresh juice of these tender leaves is an effective medicament for vomiting. Maharsi Caraka has categorized jambu as mutra sangrahaniya (anti diuretic), purisa virajaniya (anti diuretic), purisa virajaniya (give colour to foeces), Chardi – nigrahana (anti emetic) and the seeds of jambu as grahi – (antidiarrhoeal). Susruta, the great sage, has mentioned it as raktapittasamana (pacifies the bleeding disorders) Vagbhata has cited it as akanthya (unfavourable to throat).
Jambu tree grows chiefly in moist deciduous forests, more common along water channels, upto 1800 metres altitude. It is not found wild in arid regions. It is a large evergreen tree, growing 15-30 metres in height. The leaves are simple, opposite, 8-20 cmlong, leathery, smoth and shiny. The flowers are small, dull white, in large bunches. The fruits are ovoid, 1.5-4 cm long, purplish when young, almost black when ripe and one seeded. In Nighanturatnakaram, one of the Ayurvedic scriptures, threre is mention of five kinds of jambu namely jambu, mahajambu, ksudrajambu, kakajambu and bhumijambu.
The botanical name of jambu is Eugenia jambolana or Syzygium cumini and it belongs to family Myrtaceae from the flowers myricetin 3–L–arabinose, dihydromyricetin and quercetin 3 – D golactoside have been isolated. Betulinic acid, friedelin, friedelinol, kaemferol and its 3-O glucoside, quercetin, sitosterol and its glucoside and sucrose are isolated from stem bark.detection of heptacosane, nonacosane, triacontane, hentriacontane, octacosanol, triacosanol and detriacosanol from leaves. Two new anthocyanins – delphinidin – 3 – gen- tiobioside and malvidin – 3 – gentiobioside and malvidin – 3 gentiobioside have isolated from fruits. Detection of pinene and pinene in essential oil from leaves stems and fruits. Determination of oleic, myristic, linoleic, stearic, palmitic, vernolic, lauric, sterculic and malvalic acids in seed oil.
Jamb is astringent, sweet and sour in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta dosa, but aggravates the vata dosa. It possesses heavy and dry attributes. It is used in diseases like diarrhea, worms, asthma, dehydration, blood disorders and wounds.
The bark skin, fruits, leaves ad seeds of jambu are used for medicinal purpose. The plant is useful both, internally as wel as externally. The powder of bark skin, applied externally, effectively controls the bleeding. In high fevers, to alleviate the burning sensation, the fruit pulp mixed with sesame oil is applied. The oil medicated with jambu leaves, is salutary in dermatoses. The paste of seeds mashed in water, is the best medicament for acne as well as prickly heat. Jambu with babbula and bakula is an effective gargle in stomatitis.
Internally, jambu is useful in varied ailments. In optimum doses, the pulp of its fruit is valuable in dyspepsia, anoresia, diarrhea and dysentery. In large doses, on the contrary, the pulp of fruits causes flatulence and dull abdominal pain. The decoction of bark skin or the seed powder effectively controls diarrhea and dysentery. The tender leaves juice, works well along with honey, to abate vomiting. The decoction of tender leaves, combined with honey. Renders excellent results in diarrhea, dysentery and colitis. The fresh juice of the leaves accords styptic action in raktapitta and alleviates bleeding in diarrhea associated with bleeding and menorrhagia, the seed powder is preferred. Jambu is benevolent in polyuria, as it reduces the urinary output. It combines well with jaggery to get rid of vitiated pitta conditions. Jambu is a popular panacea in diabetes as an adjunct.
Classical Ayurvedic Preparations
- Jambvadya taila
- Pancapallava yoga etc.