Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Fruit of the month (July): Peach – Prunus persica

Fruit of the month (July): Peach – Prunus persica

The peach tree with fruits
The peach blossoms
         
The month of July marks the arrival of a juicy, delicious fruit in the market- ‘Peach’. The peach tree is widely popular for its edible juicy fruits, called peach and beautiful blossoms. The lovely flowers appear in April just before the new leaves unfold. The delicious fruits mature in July-August.
Botanical name: Prunus persica
Common name: Peach
Hindi name: Adoo
Family: Rosaceae
Parts used: Flowers, Fruits, Seeds, bark

Origin: The peach tree was first cultivated in China and South Asia .Due to its wide spread cultivation in Persia it got its species name persica. From here it was transplanted to Europe.

Belief: In Chinese mythology, the peach tree is the sacred tree of immortality. Peaches are thus considered divine fruit of the gods with the power to keep you perpetually young. Thereby, Peaches symbolizing immortality (or the wish for a long and healthy life) are a common symbol in Chinese art, appearing in depictions or descriptions in a number of fables, paintings, and other forms of art; Peach wood is believed to ward off evil. The blossoms are also considered good luck, and symbolize a state of intense love.

Useful components: Proteins, Calcium, Phosphorous, Sodium, Potassium, Zinc, Vitamin A and Vitamin C

Properties and benefits: Peaches are sugary and may provoke Kapha Dosha. Peaches are slightly heating or ‘agnipradeepak’ thereby stimulate Pitta Dosha .Peaches belong to the class of subsour fruits. Their sourness improves digestion along with gently cleansing the liver. Peaches are very easy to digest. They can be given pureed to babies. They promote digestion, encouraging smoother, softer and easy elimination. Peaches also provide a fairly good amount of fiber. However too many peaches on a hot summer day might over stimulate the metabolic system. Peaches have the ability to reduce inflammation and allergies. They are rich source of vitamin A and are good for the eyes.

Traditionally, bark and leaves have been used in cases of whooping coughs and bronchitis. Nowadays, peach leaves are usually recommended in treatment of disturbed digestive system. Peach kernel oil is said to stimulate hair growth, and is commonly used as a moisturizer and for massage.
 Peach fruit contains high percentage of water, and is an excellent laxative. It is helpful in eliminating toxins, and is usually included in the weight-loss programs. Cooked and pureed Peach fruit is extremely helpful in cases of stomach ulcers, bowel inflammations and colitis. Fresh Peach stimulates digestion and regulates bowels. 
The peach leaf has medicinal properties and has laxative, diuretic, sedative and expectorant properties. The tea made from peach leaf is used for treating chest congestion and bronchitis. It has a strong laxative property therefore it is not suggested for pregnant individuals. It has a soothing and calming effect.
 Poultice is made from the leaves after powdering them and later used in healing the wounds. 
Boron is known to be present in peaches. The Estradiol- 17B levels are increased by boron which helps in making the fruit useful at the time of menopause.

Recipe: Peach leaf tea
Ingredients:
4-10 Dry peach leaves
A cup of hot water
Honey, Rose Water (optional)
Method:
Crush the leaves to release the aromatic oils inside. Pour hot water over the crushed leaves. Allow to steep until the flavor is of desired strength. Honey or rosewater can be added to enhance the flavor of the tea.
The fruit is easily available in the market, nowadays. This is the best time to eat and enjoy the benefits of this luscious summer fruit rich in fiber and packed with vitamins.

© 2013 Dr.Moninder Kaur