Botanical Name :
Names in different Indian languages :
English : Star Gooseberry
Hindi : Harfarauri
Manipuri : Gihori
Marathi : Harpharori
Tamil : Aranelli
Konkani : Rajamvali
Urdu : Harfarauri
DESCRIPTION OF THE PLANT :
Star Gooseberry is a small deciduous tree reaching about 25-30 ft in height. Leaves are compound, 14-25 inches long, crowded at the ends of the branches leaflets 2-3.5 inches long by 1-1.5 inches wide, alternately arranged along the rachis, ovate or obliquely ovate, acute or somewhat acuminate, base rounded or somewhat wedge-shaped.
The genus name Phyllanthus is derived from Greek words meaning leaf-flower, an allusion to the apparent bearing of flowers on the leaves.
The species name acidus is on account of the acidity of the fruit.
Flowers are very minute, in short dense spike-like clusters arising from nodules along the branches, like mulberries.
Fruit is pendulous, in small clusters from the branches, round or slightly flattened at the poles, with shallow or deep ribs (usually 5) 0.75 inch across.
The tree usually flowers and produces fruit twice a year.
Fruits appear simultaneously with the flowers.
So, the tree usally has fruits hanging from it, at any time of the year.
The fruit is used chiefly for pickling and for the preparation of preserves.
It makes an excellent jam.
DISTRIBUTION & HABITAT :
Star Gooseberry is native of Malay Islands and Madagascar and frequently grown in India for its acid fruit.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE :
1. The fruits are high in moisture and are a source of various nutrients .
2. Sugars, phenolics and acids are present within the fruit.
3. Minerals which have been identified in the fruit include iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, and zinc.
4. Ascorbic acid (36.7 mg/100 g) and trace levels of vitamin B (thiamine, 0.01 mg/100 g and riboflavin, 0.05 mg/100 g) are also present within the fruit.
THERAPEUTIC USES :
1. P. acidus is utilized in traditional medicine for the treatment of a wide range of ailments.
2. These include inflammation, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma, respiratory disorder, hepatic diseases, diabetes and hypertension (Chongsa et al., 2015; Tan et al., 2020).
3. Fruit extracts exhibit hypoglycemic, antidiarrheal, analgesic and anesthetic properties (Afrin et al., 2016).
4. In Myanmar the fruit is used as a laxative while in India, the fruits are taken as a liver tonic (Orwa et al., 2009).
5. A reduction in body and serum lipids was observed in middle aged male rats treated with P. acidus leaf extracts (Chongsa et al., 2015).
6. Leaf extracts also exhibit hypoglycemic, anti inflammatory and analgesic properties (Nisar et al., 2018).
7. In a study utilizing Wistar rats, aqueous leaf extracts demonstrated high hepatoprotective activity similar to that of the reference hepatoprotective drug Silymarin (Jain and Singhai, 2011).
8. Leaf extracts also show potential in the management of cystic fibrosis (Sousa et al., 2007).
9. Extracts were enriched with adenosine, kaempferol, 2-pyrocatechuic acid, caffeic acid and 4-hydroxybenzoic acid . The extracts had steady state positive feedback from adenosine receptors which is important in the treatment of cystic fibrosis and presents a novel means of treating the disease.
10. In Indonesia the bark of the tree is heated with coconut oil and spread on eruptions on the feet and hands.
11. A decoction of the bark is used to treat bronchial catarrh in the Philippines. The latex is credited with emetic and purgative activity.
12. Root infusions have been used to alleviate asthma and psoriasis of the feet.
13. P. acidus extracts may also be beneficial in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease which is caused by oxidative damage to nerve cells.
14. P. acidus extracts resulted in increased brain antioxidant enzymatic activity, decreased lipid peroxidation and displayed anti-acetylcholinesterase activity.