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Indian Herbs









Custard Apple

Binomial Name(s): Annona squamosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
Subclass: Magnoliidae
Order: Magnoliales
Family: Annonaceae (Custard-apple family)
Subfamily: Maloideae
Tribe: Abreae
Genus: Annona L. (annona)
Species: Annona squamosa L. (sugar apple)
Popular Name(s): Sugar Apple, Sweetsop, Kaner'apra, Pomme Canelle, Tapotapo, Fun Li Chi, Anon, Anona Blanca, Ati, Ates
Parts Used: Annona seeds, Annona leaves, Annona bark
Habitat: Throughout India

Description
Custard apple is a tropical branched tree or shrub, indigenous to the Amazon rainforest. It grows around 3 meters to 8 meters in length. The leaves are thin and oblong, while the flowers are greenish - yellow. The conical fruit, with a purple knobby skin, is very sweet and eaten fresh or can be used for milkshakes, ice- creams and even sherbets. The fruit is juicy and creamy-white and looks like a giant raspberry. The plant is native to both America and India. It is popularly known as ‘Sharifa’ in India.

Custard apple tree does not require much care and will do well if watered regularly, along with enough light for it to grow. It grows well in hot dry climates and adjusts in any kind of soil, a job that is a little difficult for other plants in its family. If you have sowed the plant’s seeds, it will bear fruits in 2 to 3 years. The fruits are generally conical or round in shape and will take around 3 to 4 months to ripen.

Plant Chemicals
squamocenin (1), annotemoyin-2 (2), reticulatain-2 (3), squamocin-I (4), squamocin-B (5), squamocin (6), motrilin (7), squamostatin-D (8), squamostatin-E (9), cherimolin-1 (10), cherimolin-2 (11) from the ethyl alcohol extract of A. squamosa L. Squamocenin is a new acetogenin, Annotemoyin and reticulatain-2.

Uses & Benefits of Custard Apple
  • The bark of custard apple tree can be used to stop diarrhea in children and adults. In addition, the plant is effective to treat diabetes.
  • Its fruit is used to make a hair tonic in some parts of India.
  • The plant bears some amazing medicinal qualities, like serving as an insecticide, antiovulatory and abortifacient.
  • The grounded seeds can be applied on hair, to get rid of lice. However, make sure that it does not come in contact with ice or else, it can irritate the eye, leading to blindness.
  • Custard apple can treat burning sensation, as it is an effective coolant.
  • It is used to produce sugar wine apple and is the perfect plant for indoors.
  • The crushed leaves of the tree are used to treat hysteria (fearful state of mind) and fainting spells.
  • The treatment of ulcer, wound, dysentery and other ailments is also done by its concentrated leaf extract (in which the leaf is boiled and its essence is extracted).
Caution
  • The good part of custard apple tree is that its remains disease free most of the time; however, it is susceptible to fungus and wilt.
  • Ants can create problems for the fruit, by producing mealy bugs on it.
  • The roots of the tree are quite powerful and can cause abortions; hence, expecting mothers should take care while eating the herb.