The Almondette Tree

You must have tasted the seeds of this tree, most probably in delicious deserts. But the tree itself is hardly known to anyone. Chironji tree (Buchanania Lanzan/चारोळी, चार) is a wonderful, medium sized, semi-evergreen species with straight, cylindrical trunk. Unfortunately and surprisingly, its medicinal as well as other uses and properties are losing its popularity among young generations.

Being one of the common tree in dry deciduous forests, the Chironji fruits are considered as one of the delicious wild fruits. As said earlier, the seeds are edible and are regarded as substitute for almonds. The seeds are regarded as substitute for almonds. These seeds in many cases are crushed to generate a powder that is definitely then employed for a flavoring or spice in lots of authentic Indian dishes. In addition to being employed for a spice, these nuts are occasionally useful to thicken sauces and stews. Making use of Chironji in preparing most of these dishes can lead to them using a faintly sweet flavor. The kernels have a pleasant, sub acidic flavour and are eaten raw or roasted. Kernel is of very high value in market. Kernel is rich in protein content (20-30%) and have high oil content (40-50%), which is highly nutritious.

Various parts of the tree are used in the Ayurveda as well as Unani system of medicine. The tree is reported to pacifies vitiated pitta, kapha and can be used in diarrhea, dysentery, skin diseases, burning sensation, cough, bronchitis,  nervous debility, cardiac debility, constipation, fever, ulcer, oligospermia and general debility. Its leaves are used in the treatment of skin diseases and fruits are used against cough and asthma. According to Unani system of medicine, leaf juice is digestive, expectorant, aphrodisiac, purgative, blood purifier and allays thirst.

Chironji tree yields tannin and used in tannin industries. An oil is extracted from the seeds and can be used as almond oil. It is used for delayed action in pharmaceutical industries for coating purposes. It is also good substitute to olive-oil. It is used as a host in lac culture and also yields gum. Chironji is a good species for afforesting bare hill slopes as well as for urban plantation.

The tree is propagated from seeds which are contained inside a hard shell. Before sowing, challenging task is to crack the shell carefully, as the fruit inside it is often extremely soft and tender. It grows moderately fast and tolerates drought too! Though in earlier times, the forests were full of them, now they are facing mass destruction. There is absolutely no or very less demand for commercial cultivation of the tree as fruits are directly collected from the natural wild trees occurring in the forest and marginal lands by tribal people. Occasionally the trees are cut partly or completely by the tribals to collect the fruits. Therefore, the species is facing a great threat. Unfortunately, many of the tree populations have been completely wiped off in the recent past due to developmental activities and want of agriculture land by farmers.

Are we going to do something to conserve the species which gives food and shelter to many birds and flies..?

4 comments:

  1. Hello Paresh; I came across your awesome blog while searching for Chironji cultivation. Your blog is amazing and you have done a great job putting up such clear beautiful pictures. We are trying to enrich the area near our farm too and like you mentioned, realised that it is best to grow only the native trees. Our farm is in coastal karnataka. I was wondering if the chironji tree will do well in this area? Will it grow from store-bought seeds? Do you also have saplings of any trees?

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  2. Please provide me leads to procure this Chironji seedlings to plant at my native place. I am very much interested to know more and conserve this species.PLease provide me further details on to rohit.khg@gmail.com

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  3. Namaskaar all, I loved this blog. Keep up the good work.
    I too was looking for more info on the humble delicious nutritious Charoli.
    I have furniture from its wood too.
    As Rohit K asked, do you supply saplings?
    Though, if I get good seed varieties, I don't mind raising the tree saplings in my own nursery-garden before actual planting.
    My farm is in Ratnagiri and I do only organic permacultural farming.
    Waiting for interactive discussions,,, love and regards

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    1. Namskar Aditya ji...
      Thank you very much for your appreciation :) Its very nice hear that you chose Organic! Wonderful!
      But sorry to disappoint you, we do not have Charoli saplings. You may get a good variety in govt nursery.

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