Now, this is an Indian ingredient that I never thought I would see on an international platform – that too, courtesy one of my favourite brands. Burt’s Bees latest Lip Balm is anchored around, of all things, kokum butter – a little known fruit that is native to India’s Western Ghats and is rarely seen beyond this area.
In fact, I had never heard of kokum till it was introduced to me by my grandmom-in-law in Mumbai. Scientifically known as Garcinia Indica, the kokum tree is a tropical that is difficult to propagate. Its fruit looks like a small plum, and which becomes dark red when ripe. In culinary terms, it is used as a souring agent (like tamarind) and has a sharp, acidic flavor with a fruity aroma.
Kokum seeds contain 23-26% oil, which is the original moisturiser for Western India. It has high levels of Vitamin E, is non-comodegenic (non-pore clogging), reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores elasticity
However, the local population has known for centuries that kokum has limitless beauty and medicinal benefits as well. The seed contains 23-26% oil (or butter), which is the original moisturiser for this part of India. It has high levels of Vitamin E, is non-comodegenic (non-pore clogging) and has a relatively high meting point, which means that it retains a solid shape at room temperature and does not need refrigeration. That’s why, like in the case of Burt’s Bees here, it is perfect for creating a moisturising beauty product that uses less wax and more butters for deep hydration.
When used in the purest form, its held near a flame and the melted oil is applied to cracked heels or dry skin. You will still see it being use thus in most traditional houses, which swear that nothing keeps skin glowing, hydrated and wrinkle-free than this simple formulation, which reduces degeneration of skin cells and restores elasticity. Kokum butter is also excellent for healing burns and allergic rashes, since it simultaneously cools the skin while hydrating.
Kokum extract is used to relieve gastric problems like acidity, flatulence, constipation and indigestion. It is also helpful in controlling diabetes and is especially popular during summer as it has a cooling effect and shields the body against dehydration and sunstroke
Besides this, kokum also contains rich amounts of anti-oxidants that bind with free radicals and prevent oxidative damage to body cells. They also promote cell regeneration and repair. The fruit is steeped in water to create a cooling concoction that is traditionally used to relieve gastric problems like acidity, flatulence, constipation and indigestion. It is also helpful in controlling diabetes and is especially popular during scorching summer months as it has a cooling effect and shields the body against dehydration and sunstroke.
One of the easiest ways to enjoy this delectable, multi-benefit laden fruit is through the appetizing sol kadhi, which is a much-in-demand summer drink as it cools the body internally, thereby reducing sun damage and keeping heat-related problems like acne at bay. Kokum is easily available in Indian stores across the world – when buying, look for dark, soft, pliable rinds that release their juices easily. Then just dunk in the water and enjoy!