Youngsters pocket a neat sum by selling the ripe jamuns from the trees lining NH 17
Summer has opened up an easy way to make money for youngsters in some areas of Malappuram. They collect jamun fruits from trees on the main roads and sell them in plastic bags to motorists.
A bag of jamun weighs about half a kilogram and is sold for Rs.10.
Vehicles passing through Valanchery and Kuttippuram are offered bagfuls of jamun by the enterprising youngsters.
There is fierce competition to lay hands on the ripe jamun falling from the huge trees on the National Highway 17. Each one sells at least two dozen bags a day, pocketing nearly Rs.250.
Jamun trees are seen particularly between Valanchery and Kuttippuram. Once used widely for railway sleepers, jamun tree logs today rarely reach the wood market. Ask the peddlers, “what is it good for?” Out comes the well-rehearsed answer. “It is excellent for diabetics.”
Locally called ‘njaval,' the medicinal value of jamun or the Indian blackberry is well known. The crimson black oblong fruit has a sweet, yet mildly sour and astringent taste. Eat it and your tongue is guaranteed to turn purple.
Jamun trees, which were widely planted on roadsides for shade, flower in March and offer fruits by April-May. A rich source of Vitamins A and C, jamun has minimum calories as it has no sucrose at all. “That is why it is called a healthy fruit,” offered Subeer Husain, a medical professional who was passing by. It is said to be effective in the treatment of diarrhoea and ringworm and is supposed to have blood purifying properties.
The leaves of the jamun tree possess anti-bacterial properties and are used in medicines for strengthening of teeth and gums. Experts quoting studies say that when dried extracts of its seeds were given to diabetic patients regularly, their blood sugar level showed a decline.
The juice of the jamun fruit has a cooling effect. It helps in the proper functioning of the digestive system. The leaves of the tree also help in controlling the blood pressure and gingivitis.