Persimmon is a fruit with great medicinal qualities, and well known for its diarrhea stopping property. Below, its properties and medicinal uses are discussed.
Botanical name: Diospyros kaki L.
Other names: Chinese fig, Kaki fruit, Common persimmon, Sharon fruit
Properties of persimmon
The following are some of the constituents of persimmon:
▪ Sugars – Persimmon contains significant amount of sugars of which fructose is the most abundant, then small amounts of glucose and saccharose. Even though persimmons contains about 15% sugars, it is still recommended for the diabetics. This is because their sugar content is composed mainly of fructose which requires less insulin for use in the body cells.
▪ Fats and Proteins – Persimmons contains virtually no fats or proteins.
▪ Tannins – These are phenolic compounds which acts as astringents. They form dry coating on the mucosa by coagulating proteins. Tannins are also present in quince, banana, and even red wines, and they can be recognized by their harsh taste. The tannin content of persimmons depends on the variety, as some varieties contain higher tannin content than the others.
▪ Carotenoids – Also referred to as provitamin A here. Persimmons are among the richest fruit in carotenoids, as just a 250 g of persimmon provides about half of the recommended daily allowance for this vitamin. There are many carotenoids present in persimmons, among which lycopene and crptoxanthin stands out. These carotenoids are said to be responsible for persimmon’s orange color.
Carotenoids are known for their great antioxidant property, which help prevent cellular aging, prevent cancer, and also stop the process of arteriosclerosis.
▪ Mucilage and Pectin – Persimmon is among the richest fruit in pectin. Pectin and mucilage are complex carbohydrates and the most important component of soluble vegetable fiber, and are contained in persimmon in about 3.65 of its total weight. Among many functions of pectin and mucilage such as retaining sugars and cholesterol, and increasing fecal volume and facilitating evacuation, its immediate effect of soothing and reducing inflammation in the walls of the digestive tract stands out more.
▪ Vitamins and Minerals – Persimmon contains significant amount of vitamins and minerals of which vitamin C, potassium and Iron stands out. Even though persimmon is not among the richest fruit in vitamin C, it still provides significant amount of this vitamin as 250 g of persimmon provide about 40% of the recommended daily allowance for this vitamin. And again, the significant amount of vitamin C present in persimmon also helps facilitate the absorption of the iron present in the same persimmon.
The iron present is the second most abundant mineral in persimmon after potassium. A 250 g of persimmon provides about 10% of the recommended daily allowance for this mineral, a reasonable amount as a fresh fruit.
Persimmon as a fruit with great medicinal values is indicated in the following cases:
▪ Intestinal disorders
As we have seen above, persimmons contains tannins which gives them their astringent effect, and also pectin and mucilage which gives them their emollient effect. The combined effect of the substances above helps dry and soothe the walls of the digestive tract.
Moreover, the pectin and mucilage in persimmon gives it a great anti-inflammatory effect, making them beneficial in cases of diarrhea and colitis. In the consumption of persimmon in cases of intestinal disorders, less ripe persimmons are recommended as they contain more tannins or are more astringent. Thus, the consumption of persimmon is recommended in cases of:
Chronic colitis, and
In cases of anemia due to iron deficiency, the consumption of persimmon is highly recommended. This sounds amazing since the iron-content of persimmon is not particularly high, but possible because of its reasonable vitamin C content which facilitates the absorption of the iron present. Thus, the regular consumption of persimmon is highly recommended in cases of iron-deficiency anemia.
▪ Cardiovascular conditions
Persimmon’s richness in carotenoids explains this. The carotenoids helps stops the process of arteriosclerosis. Additionally, persimmon contains virtually no fats and sodium, the two most antagonistic substances to the cardiovascular system. Thus, the consumption of persimmon is recommended in cases of:
Cardiovascular conditions in general.
This sounds quite amazing too. Even though persimmons contain significant amount of sugars, they are still tolerated by the diabetics. This is because their sugar content is composed mainly of fructose, a type of sugar which requires less insulin for use in the body than glucose. Thus, diabetics who produce less insulin, can tolerate and absorb fructose than any other form of sugar.
Additionally, the soluble vegetable fiber present in persimmon in the form of pectin helps retain sugars in the intestine, and release them slowly into the bloodstream without causing hike in the blood glucose level. Thus, the consumption of persimmon is of great benefit to the diabetics.