The Myth and Facts About Lanzones: Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses
THE MYTH AND FACTS ABOUT LANZONES
Lanzones or Lansium domesticum is a species of fruit-bearing tree belonging to the family Meliaceae. The plant has pinnate compound leaves that grow to a length of around twenty to fifty centimeters long per leaf. Each fully-grown leaf has five to seven slightly-leathery; obovate leaflets that can reach a length of twenty centimeters each. A very prominent midrib bisects each dark green, glossy leaflet.
Fruits are ovoid, round orbs around five centimeters in diameter, usually found in clusters of two to thirty fruits along the branches and trunk. Each round fruit is covered by yellowish, thick, leathery skin. Underneath the skin, the fruit is divided into five or six slices of translucent, juicy flesh. The flesh is slightly acidic in taste, although ripe specimens are sweeter. Green seeds are present in around half of the segments, usually taking up a small portion of the segment although some seeds take up the entire segment's volume. In contrast with the sweet-sour flavor of the fruit's flesh, the seeds are extremely bitter. The fruit taste has been compared to a combination grape and "perfect" grapefruit with no bitterness. Yet the seeds if bitten have the bitterness of a grapefruit yet stronger. The sweet juicy flesh contains sucrose, fructose, and glucose.
THE MYTH OF LANZONES
Before, according to the myth, the lanzones fruit was poisonous. The fruit looked edible enough, and in fact many were tempted to sample it. The myth says, the people wondered: How could anything that looked so good be so dangerous? Some people, despite the death toll, could not fight off the temptation once they see the fruits abundantly display themselves in clusters hanging invitingly on the lanzones tree. Several deaths in the village had been linked to eating its fruits, the myth adds.
One day, the myth says, a hungry old woman came to the village begging for food. The kind villagers gladly gave the old woman food and water and clothes to wear. They even offered her free lodging as long as she saw the need to stay with them. According to the myth, the woman was awed by the kindness of the villagers. One day, while staying with the people, she learned about the lanzones fruits that could not be eaten because they were poisonous. She asked the people where the tree was. They gladly obliged. Then, according to the myth, upon seeing the lanzones tree and its fruits, the old woman smiled knowingly. She announced to the people that the fruit was edible, to everyone’s wary delight.
She taught the villagers the proper way to pick, peel and eat the fruits of the lanzones tree. According to the myth, the old woman said that peeling the fruit by pinching it lets out a small amount of the white sticky sap from the fruit, and that served as an antidote to the poison of the fruit. Then, the myth says, she did it with a fruit and ate it. She did the same with another fruit, and another, and another. The myth says the villagers also discovered for themselves that the fruits were very edible and delicious. Since then, the villagers started planting more lanzones trees and it became a very lucrative source of income for everyone, the myth adds.
The Philippine myth on the lanzones tree and fruit reminds us that there is a proper procedure for doing things, even things untried before, to end up with a safe outcome.
Healthy Benefits: Contains Vitamin C and E, and has a good source of antioxidants properties. Lanzones also can prevent diarrhea as I try it myself which is effective by eating the meat of the fruit.
Analysis made in India stated that 100 grams edible portion contains the following nutritional information:
Moisture - 86.5 g
Protein - 0.8 g
Carbohydrates - 9.5 g
Fiber – 2.3 g
Calcium - 20.0 mg
Phosphorus – 30.0 mg
Carotene (Vitamin A) – 13.0 I.U.
Thiamine - 89 mcg
Riboflavin - 124 mcg
Ascorbic Acid – 1.0 mg
Phytin – 1.1 mg (dry weight)
1. The dried peel is burned to produce an aromatic smells which drives away mosquitoes.
2. The bark is astringent and that its decoction is used for treatment of dysentery.
3. Bark powder is used to relieve scorpion sting.
4. The mixture of powdered seeds and water are used for treatment of intestinal worms.
5. Antipyretic – Any medicine that lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever.
6. The resin from bark was prescribed for flatulence (a state of excessive gas in the alimentary canal), for swellings and as an antispasmodic (a drug used to relieve or prevent spasms).
7. The resin may be useful in the treatment of inflammation and colic (acute abdominal pain) of the gastro-intestinal tract.