Kamias is a plant that is more commonly known as bilimbi. Its scientific name is Averrhoa bilimbi, it is a tree in the genus Averrhoa, and in the Oxalidaceae family. Here we will talk about the health benefits of bilimbi or kamias. But before that, we need to get closer to the plants that are often used as a flavoring for these dishes.
Bilimbi or kamias is native to Southeast Asia but this plant has expanded to all regions with tropical climates. In several countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Central America and India and South America do cultivation. Almost all the houses in the village, they grow this plant as a tuber in their cooking. The fruit of our plant is made into tamarind (cooking spices).
The difference in growing areas causes the name of the fruit of the Kamias or Bilimbi plant to also vary. Some of the popular names for bilimbi fruit are: Belimbing, Bilimbi, Pickle Fruit, Bilimbi-tree, Tree-sorrel, Cucumber-tree, Bimbling plum, cucumber tree, tamarind and pickle. This plant is often a herb to treat several diseases. For example, bilimbi leaves are used to treat stomach pain, rheumatism, and mumps or parotitis. While the flowers are used to treat coughs, canker sores. Likewise, Kamias fruit or bilimbi fruit is used as a medicine for whooping cough, ulcers, preventing diabetes and getting rid of acne.
There are also those who say that the ripe liquid of bilimbi fruit can be used to cure sore eyes (red eyes). However, it must have been very painful and painful. Don’t try it if you are afraid of this treatment.
Bilimbi (kamias) Plant Description
The bilimbi tree is a medium plant, not small and not large, its growth is usually about 5 to 10 meters and it is a tree that lives for decades. Bilimbi can grow in a variety of soils, from sandy soil to limestone soil. But what is best for this plant is rich soil, sandy loam, loam loam with lots of organic matter. The leaves are stemmed, where on each of the stems grow leaves from two sides of the blade. The leaves are oval to oval and lanceolate with a length of about 2-10 and a width of about 1.25 – 1.2 cm. The color of the leaves is green on the top and faded at the bottom with fine hairs on the leaves.
Flower & fruit
The flowers of this plant are small with purple petals. From this flower, small bilimbi fruit with a solid shape and green color appear. As it develops, the bilimbi fruit grows to the size of a thumb about 3 inches long. The fruit is green and contains a lot of water in it. In the middle there is a seed attached and usually the seeds are not of much concern because they are small.
Bilimbi fruit has a very sour taste, so it is widely used as a raw material in traditional medicine. But there are varieties of Kamias that are cultivated in the Philippines, they taste sweet and sour. When the bilimbi fruit is ripe, the color turns yellow to white. In Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, the bilimbi fruit is harvested and dried in the sun to preserve it. After drying for a few days, the tamarind or bilimbi fruit then turns brown and lasts for years. This is what is known as “Asam Sunti”, a tamarind (seasoning) dish to give curries, gravy and other dishes a delicious taste.
Because it tastes very sour, people rarely eat bilimbi fruit directly except for medication. So, bilimbi fruit has important culinary benefits in Asia. So, what are the health benefits of bilimbi? We will explain this at the end of the article. Read on for this article, to find out some of the uses and benefits of usas or bilimbi.
History of Bilimbi
Bilimbi is a tree that comes from Indonesia or Malaysia. The belimbi tree is planted in every home in Indonesia and Malaysia as a seasoning in many culinary recipes. Although originally from Indonesia, nowadays bilimbi trees are found in all tropical countries including Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Australia. In Australia, this plant is grown commercially and is used traditionally as a therapeutic, for example to treat diabetes and hypertension.
However, according to the oldest historical records in Egypt, it is stated that the Bilimbi plant grows well in areas with sunny and warm weather or in places with temperatures around 23 to 30 C. This kamias or bilimbi tree likes sandy soil that has good drainage.
Health Benefits of Bilimbi
Bilimbi is a houseplant that has many health benefits, from its leaves and fruit to its young stems. Bilimbi fruit is rich in antioxidants and is an astringent. Here we look at some of the health benefits of bilimbi or kamias (which are cultivated in the Philippines)
1. Good for diabetics
One more traditional diabetes medicine, namely bilimbi fruit. This fruit can lower blood sugar. You can eat the bilimbi fruit directly or make juice to drink it.
How to make juice: Boil two mashed bilimbi with one glass of water, boil until the water remains only half a glass. Then drink bilimbi fruit stew, this will lower blood sugar levels.
2. Bilimbi has an antibiotic effect
The bilimbi plant is also useful as a traditional medicine for swelling. Take the sap from the bilimbi stem or from the young leaves. Apart from swelling, it is also great for treating rheumatism, itching, insect bites.
Puree the young stems or leaves of the bilimbi plant with 4 cloves of garlic, grind until it becomes a paste. Then, this fine paste is applied to areas of the skin that are swollen, or rheumatic. Its astringent properties will reduce swelling, and rheumatic pain and treat pain due to insect bites.
3. Traditional medicine for obesity
In India, bilimbi fruit is used as a fruit to control obesity. People think that bilimbi contains anti-hyper-lipidemic substances, so consuming it can prevent weight gain.
Obesity is a problem of being overweight that can lead to various other health problems.
4. Bilimbi treats allergies
Allergies are health problems that occur because the body’s immunity is sensitive to several things outside the body. This can be in the form of certain foods, air, medicines, metals and so on. When exposed to these foods and then the immune response, symptoms appear such as red eyes, itching on the skin, and some are even more serious, such as Steven-Johnson syndrome.
Drinking bilimbi fruit infusion or bilimbi fruit juice (Kamias) regularly can help reduce allergy problems.
5. Controlling high blood pressure
Furthermore, the health benefits of bilimbi are controlling hypertension. Hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure spikes high in the arteries. The way to lower blood pressure with bilimbi is to boil this fruit with 3 glasses of water, and reserve half of it. Then drink this stew while it’s still lukewarm.
For more optimal results, you should drink this concoction in the morning.
Do you have hemorrhoids? This is a disease of shame in some places. If you are one of the sufferers, then take bilimbi, this is a traditional remedy for hemorrhoids.
Bilimbi fruit contains anti-inflammatory properties, so its benefits are great for reducing swelling, and reducing bleeding due to hemorrhoids.
7. Benefits of bilimbi to treat flu and fever
Bilimbi decoction is excellent as a fever medicine and has been used for centuries. The infusion of bilimbi fruit is good for treating colds and coughs. In addition, bilimbi or kamias is also rich in vitamin C which is good for strengthening the body’s immune system.
8. Traditional medicine for Mumps
Mumps is a disease caused by contracting the mumps virus. The mumps virus attacks the parotid salivary glands. It attacks both glands or one of them. Then, there is swelling of the parotid gland.
The bilimbi plant is a remedy for mumps. How: take the easy stems and bilimbi leaves, finely mash and add garlic, this will have a dry effect on the parotid glands.
9. Bilimbi for muscle pain
Another health benefit of bilimbi is preventing muscle soreness. You can grind the bilimbi leaves into a paste and use this paste as a poultice on sore muscles.
This drug relieves muscle pain and without the side effects of using some conventional drugs.
10. Serves as a cough syrup
Cough syrup is a syrup that has been added with bilimbi fruit extract. This is because the bilimbi fruit has a positive effect to relieve coughs and colds. Besides that, the sour taste of the bilimbi fruit also adds to the flavor of the cough medicine.
Also see: What does guava taste like?
11. Treating swollen joints
The paste or poultice of bilimbi or kamias leaves is effective in treating swelling of the joints. Even this drug is also good for stiff and sore joints.
Bilimbi leaves contain anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Not only that, beimbi leaf tea is also good for health. Take the bilimbi leaves and dry in the sun to dry, then pour with hot water as tea.
12. Good for STD Treatment
To treat STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), you can dry the fruit and leaves of the bilimbi. This is as has been practiced in Malaysia.
Take some bilimbi and leaves, dry in the sun and boil in 3 glasses of water. Reserving water up to half, drink the stew twice a day. While bilimbi flowers are also beneficial for health, namely treating canker sores. The trick is to make an infusion of bilimbi flowers.
13. Bone Health
Bilimbi fruit is rich in phosphorus which is an important nutrient for bones in addition to calcium. So, consuming bilimbi regularly can keep the bones and teeth feeling intact over time.
14. Insect Bites
If you get bitten by an insect, then don’t forget this versatile concoction. Take the bilimbi leaves and mash finely until it is certain. Use this paste on the area of the skin on the insect’s teeth.
15. Reduce acne and blackheads
Oxalic acid and vitamin A which are high in bilimbi function as a natural remedy to reduce acne and dark spots on the face. Apart from that, it is also rich in vitamin C which is good in making skin bright and helps in collagen production.
To get rid of acne, you can take bilimbi fruit and rub it on the face with acne. Let stand for about 30 minutes and wash with warm water. Do this treatment every day, at least 3 days in a row.