Latin Name : Buchanania lanzan
Indian Names : Charoli, Chironji, Chirauli, Char,Priyala, Boruda etc.
Common English Names : Cheraunji nut tree, Cherauli nut, Cudappah Almond, Chironji nut Charooli, Chirolo, Chirongi and Charoli in Hindi and in Tamil , Telugu etc.
The Chironji tree is an evergreen tree native to India and grows all over the country especially in the Northwest area of India. It grows to a height of about 50 feet, has a straight trunk. The bark is rough and fissured, dark grey to black on the outside and reddish on the inside.
The leaves are thick, leathery, oblong and broad and are rounded at the base. The flowers are small and greenish white and form a terminal panicle. The fruit is black in color and are harvested from April to June.
The fruit has a hard seed coat while the inside kernel is soft like a pine nut. It has a light acidic flavor akin to that of an almond. Normally the seeds are roasted or toasted before consumption or usage as heat make more flavors to emanate from the seed. The seeds are flat, oval and speckled with dark patches.
The tree commonly grows in dry and open deciduous forests preferring to grow on sandy and loamy soil and does not grow in waterlogged areas.
Each tree yields from 1 to 5 kgs of charoli seeds and chironji seeds are considered a delicacy. They are especially used in making sevaiyan during the Muslim Eid festival.
The seeds lose their flavor if kept in the open and also become bitter.
Uses Of Charoli Or Chironji:
Used primarily as a topping for sweets, they go especially well with sweet and creamy halwas (Indian puddings). They are also a must on top of a delightful dessert called shrikhand which is a tantalizing combination of yoghurt, sugar, cardamom and saffron. They can also be used to sprinkle fruit salads, soups and kormas.
The seeds of chironji are a delicacy and are used in desserts, bakery and confectionery products. They are used to thicken sauces and gravies and also to flavor meats.
The seeds yield an oil that is comparable to olive and almond oil in their medicinal properties and is also substituted for these oils in the pharmaceutical products.
The bark yields tannin which is used in the leather industry, in clarification of wine and beer, in pharmaceutical industry etc.
Chironji has long been used in Indian Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine.
Health Benefits Of Chironji Or Charoli:
All the parts of the charoli tree are used in traditional Indian medicine. The fruit, roots, leaves, seeds, gum and oil are used in different ways to treat a variety of health issues.
Some of these health benefits are given below:
The oil is used to apply externally on glandular swellings of the neck. It is also useful in treating skin infections and to remove facial blemishes.
The extract of the roots is used as an expectorant, to treat blood infections and correct digestive disorders caused by liver or gall bladder dysfunctioning.
The gum is used to treat diarrhea and also chest pain related to the parietal nerves.
The juice of the leaves is used in digestion problems, as an expectorant, a purgative and also as an aphrodisiac.
An ointment made from the seeds relieves itching, prickly heat, rashes, skin spots, facial blemishes and other skin related problems.
The gum is dissolved in cow’s milk and used to treat rheumatic pains.
Chironji leaves act as a tonic, relieve fatigue and tiredness and have cardiotonic properties as well. The leaf powder is used to treat wounds.
A face pack made with the seeds and milk brings a glow to the face.
Charoli seeds are cooling and are used to remove burning sensation from the body.
The seeds also act as a tonic to the brain and are useful in many genito-urinary problems like gleet etc.
Like almonds chirongi nuts have been credited with the power to sharpen concentration improve eyesight and provide strength and vigor
Availability: They are supposedly mostly grows in East India and neighboring Burma. But these can be found in well stocked Indian grocery stores in the US where I got mine.
How to Store: They keep well for up to six months in dry air tight containers.
Nick’s kitchen medical Disclaimer:
- Nick’s kitchen is for Vegetarians. It sometimes provides education and support to individuals who want to become vegetarian, or move toward a more vegetarian diet.
- Nick’s kitchen provides some information on vegetarian and vegan diets to the best of their knowledge and abilities.
- Nick’s kitchen does not claim to be health care professional, nutritionist, nor does it claims to treat any illness through vegan or vegetarian diet.
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