CHENNAI: The type of food one eats decides the character of a person. This is evident from a quote in Ayurveda, ‘Aahara Shuddhi, Sattva Shuddhi'. This means that if the food is pure, sattva (superior quality of mind) will be pure.
Food is medicine, and medicine is food. This is the prime principle in the Siddha system of life — which means that there will be no physical or mental illness as long as food is pure. Our health traditions recommend plenty of healthy as well as tasty kitchen recipes to avoid the poision we find in food these days. Wild jack fruit finds a vital place in the traditional kitchens, and is a relative of our common jack fruit species.
It falls under the family Moraceae, and is botanically known as Artocarpus Hirsutus Lam. Its ripe fruit is edible and can be found in many kitchens. The leaf, bark, ripe fruit and latex are used as medicine, fresh leaves are used as fodder, and fallen leaves ar said to be the best organic mulch for growth of plants. A. Hirsutus is a lofty, evergreen tree, which exudes a milky-white, sticky latex when injured. The bark is brownish grey and quite smooth.
The leaves are arranged in alternate fashion, lamina three-lobed and velvety when young. Flowers borne on 15cm long spikes, and are small, greenish-yellow, unisexual, with both male and female flowers present on the same tree. The fruits are called as syncarps or sorosis (type of aggregated fruits), globose to ovoid in shape, covered with spine-like projections and orange-yellow when ripe.
It is endemic to the Western Ghats, found in the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, Maharastra and Tamil Nadu. The fruits are used to treat anorexia. They are also supposed to be an aphrodisiac. The bark is used to cure pimples, cracks on the skin and to heal sores. The dried leaves are used for treating any lymph gland swellings.
Lakucha is the name in Sanskrit, and in Hindi it is called ranphanas. Hebbalasu in Kannada; adavai panasa in Telugu; annili in Malayalam and ayini pala in Tamil.