While growing up, kids are encouraged to “eat your vegetables.” In the good old days expensive research projects weren’t necessary to back up the wisdom that appeared on our plates lovingly wrapped in the common sense of our parents. Instinctively, they knew that fresh food derived from the world of plants would keep us well. In recent years science has made great strides in identifying which botanicals bring the most nutritional value to the table. One class of highly touted edibles is the superfruit. Packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and lofty levels of fiber, minerals and vitamins, superfruits shield us from a number of common environmental threats. This elite group includes blueberry, acai berry, pomegranate, cranberry, mangosteen, goji berry, gac, kiwi, noni and sea buckthorn berry. To round out this list of delights which appear each season by way of arboreal, bush and vine resources we can add phalsa.
What does it do?
The healing juice from the purple phalsa berry has been slaking the thirst and cooling the bodies of its devotees in India and other parts of South Asia for centuries. Providing digestive aid, the juice also relieves indigestion while maintaining normal heart function and blood pressure. Conditions of the throat are addressed by consuming phalsa berries. The unripe fruit diminishes inflammation and helps reduce fevers. Rich in calcium, iron (enough to help cure anemia), magnesium, potassium and phosphorus, phalsa also provides a superior level of vitamin C. The root bark brings comfort to sufferers of arthritic and rheumatic pain, while the leaves are applied to pustular skin eruptions.
About the herb
This small tree from the Himalayas sits 15 feet above the ground, effortlessly tolerating the heat while producing an abundance of its tasty berries that are known to prevent heat stroke. While ripening, the berry’s skin turns from light green to cherry red to dark purple or near black. Phalsa bushes and trees are being studied in Florida and Georgia to unlock deeper medicinal secrets.
Enjoy phalsa berries out of hand—fresh or dried—or consume its sweet yet sour juice during summer’s hottest days to protect the body from the effects of extreme heat. An icy sherbet treat made from the berry enjoys immense popularity in Southeast Asia. Combine with other superfruits to increase energy levels and slow down the aging process.