Bilimbi fruit (Averrhoa bilimbi) also known as cucumber tree or tree sorrel, is a tropical fruit. It is the closed relative of star fruit (Carambola sp). When ripe, the fruit falls to the ground. Once harvested, bilimbi fruit has short shelf life, only 5 days. Its skin is also easily bruised just by handling. Because of these reasons, it is difficult to transport these fruits over long distance.
The fruits can be preserved by sun drying. The dried bilimbi fruits is called “asam sunti”, used in many Asian soups and curries. Most of bilimbi fruits taste sour due to high content of oxalic acid, except the “kamias” variety from Philippines which is sweet-sour and can be eaten raw. Since it is considered too sour to be eaten raw, bilimbi fruit is usually used in cuisines, such as salads, curries, fish soups and curries.
Bilimbi plant has many health benefits, from the fruits, leaves and young stems. Bilimbi fruit contains antioxidants and has astringent effect due to its high acid. As a result, here are the health benefits of bilimbi you never know it before.
1. Control Hypertension
Bilimbi fruits are boiled with 3 cups of water until half of the water has evaporated, then the decoction can be taken once it’s lukewarm. It is advised to drink this decoction every morning.
2. Control Diabetes
Bilimbi fruits are known to reduce blood sugar level. there are 2 ways of taking the benefits for controlling blood sugar level: first, making the bilimbi fruits into juice and drink it just like any other fruit juice. The second, boil mashed bilimbi fruits with 1 cup of water until half of the water is evaporated. Then take the decoction by straining the stew and drink it 2 times a day.
3. Reduce Fever, Flu and Cough Syrup
Bilimbi fruit decoction is already used for centuries to treat fever. The flower is made into infusion for treating cold and cough. The high vitamin C in this fruit helps strengthen immune system. Bilimbi fruit extract has been added to cough syrup, due to its positive effects in reducing coughs and runny nose. the sour taste also make the cough syrup more palatable.
5. Topical Analgesic – Antibiotic Effect, allergies and STD
The sap from young stems and the leaves are used in traditional medicine to reduce swelling, rheumatism, itch, and insect bites. The young stems and leaves are mashed with 3-4 cloves of garlic and made into smooth paste. The paste is applied to the affected area of the skin. The astringent effect will reduce the swelling and pain in rheumatism, also reducing the swelling caused by skin eruptions and insect bites. Drinking bilimbi fruit juice or bilimbi leaves infusion regularly can reduce the allergies. The sun-dried fruits and leaves are used to treat STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases, a.k.a Venereal Diseases). Some sun-dried fruits and leaves are boiled with 3 glasses of water until half of the water evaporates, then the decoction can be taken 2 times a day. The flower infusion is used to treat thrush (candidiasis).
6. Reduce Pimples and Brighten Skin
The oxalic acid and vitamin A in bilimbi fruits helps reducing pimples, soothing the painful inflamed ones. Vitamin C helps make the skin brighter, reduce black spots and keep the skin tight because it promotes the production of collagen, a substance needed to keep the skin tones. To remove the pimples, put mashed bilimbi fruits on clean face as a face mask. Let it sit atleast 30 minutes or until the mask dry, then wash the face with warm water.
Do this everyday, for at least 3 days. With bilimbi face mask and drinking bilimbi juice regularly, our face will look brighter, youthful and black spots will go away.
7. Treatment of Obesity
Bilimbi fruits are used in traditional medicine to control obesity. The bilimbi fruit contains anti-hyperlipidemic agents, so it can prevent weight gain.
15. Cleaning and Bleaching
High oxalic acid in bilimbi fruits can clean rusts and bleach clothes without changing the colors.
Cautions Of Bilimbi Fruit
Bilimbi fruit juice contains high oxalic acid. The oxalic acid can form oxalate in our body. Oxalates has been known to cause tubular necrosis which leads to acute kidney failure. Therefore, we should not consume this fruit excessively. Just consume it moderately and the fruit will give you a healthy body.