Kokum, a red fruit, is among the many fruits used by coastal people to beat the heat during summer.

People in Mangalore are now using this fruit to quench their thirst, said a merchant at Central Market.

Jayagovinda Ukkinadkka, chief consultant at P. Narayana Bhat Memorial Ayurveda Hospital and Research Centre, Ukkinadkka, Kasaragod, said that kokum would keep the body cool. He said that kokum was rich in vitamin C and other anti-oxidants. It was being used to cure skin diseases as well, he added.

Dr. Ukkinnadkka, who looks after Sahasraksha Vaidyashala which manufactures Ayurveda medicines, said that if the paste of dry kokum rind and buttermilk was applied on skin, it would cure eczema (a skin disorder).

He said that oil extracted from kokum seeds cure burn injuries. Its oil could be applied to prevent cracked foot and dry skin, he said.

The doctor said that kokum rind (skin) was served as an energy drink. Diabetics could drink it without sugar. Consumption of kokum rind helped one to remain active, he said. K.R. Chandrashekar, professor of Botany, Mangalore University, said that kokum was a natural forest produce. Now it was being cultivated in Goa.

The Western Ghats Kokum Foundation had held the third national seminar on post-harvest technology and value addition of kokum at Goa University in May, 2011. Ramesh Kaintaje, a farmer, said that some arecanut growers had one or two kokum trees in their plantations for home consumption.

Kokum juice and “saaru” (a dish to go with rice) from dry kokum rind are popular in villages.

David D'Souza, a Konkani writer and a merchant who sells kokum at Central Market, said that the supply of fruit was poor this year.

The arrival season was between February and May, he said.

Mr. Kaintaje said that many home-based industries now used kokum to make syrup and concentrated drink.

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