Apple is one of the most valuable fruit available on earth with rich nutritional and medicinal properties. It is very tasty, nutritious and offer numerous health benefits. There are many references to this fruit in different cultures and medicines systems. This fruit can be found very easily throughout world. There are more than 7500 varieties of apple grown all over world.
Eating one apple daily is said to keep away doctor due to its excellent health promoting properties. Apple is good source of many vitamins and minerals along with malic acid and pectin.
Malic acid is primary acid in apples and it is found to be helpful in fibromyalgia (widespread chronic musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues) as it improves energy production and oxygen level in muscles. Malic acid is also beneficial for brain, liver and bowel. The inner portion of the rind and the pulp contains pectin which helps to detoxify body by supplying galactose.
Plant Description: Pyrus Malus or Apple is a tree reaching up to 10 to 30 feet. Its young shoots, lower leaf side, and inflorescence are covered white silky tomentum (layer of matted woolly down on the surface of a plant).
The leaves are 2-3 inch long, alternate, ovate, usually shortly acuminate and finely crenate-serrate.
The flowers are umbelled racemes with only a few blossoms. The petals are obovate, up to 2.5 cm long, stemmed, white, pink, or pink on the outside and white. The carpels are fused with the false fruit. Calyx is densely tomentose. Styles are 5, united below the middle.
Fruit is large, globose, intruded at both ends, crowned by the persistent calyx-lobes.
In India, it is largely cultivated in the Himalayas, Punjab, Central India, and the Deccan.
- Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: fresh fruit, the dried fruit peels, inflorescences with their leaves and solid peduncles
- Plant type / Growth Habit: Shrub/Tree
- Duration: Perennial
- Distribution: It is now cultivated in Himachal Pradesh, Kashmir, Kulu, Kumaon, Assam and in the Nilgiris
- Habitat: Native to Europe and West Asia, grow wild in temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere.
Vernacular names / Synonyms
- Scientific Name: Pyrus Malus
- Sanskrit: Badara, Mushtinanan, Seba, Seva, Sevam, Sinchitika, Sinchitikaa
- Arabic: Toffah, Tuliah, Tyffah
- Bengali: Seb
- Hindi: Seb, Seo, Sev
- Kannada: Sebu, Sevu
- Ladakh: Kushu
- Pangi: Chur
- Persian: Seb, Sef, Sib, Sir
- Punjab: Se, Seb, Seo
- Pushtu: Mana
- Sind: Seb, Sui
The botanical name of apple is Pyrus malus. It belongs to plant family Rosaceae or Rose family.
Family Rosaceae mainly consists of herbs, shrubs and trees with alternate (rarely opposite), simple or variously compound and stipulate leaves, regular and hermaphrodite flowers, and fruits in form of achenes, berries, drupes or pomes but rarely capsnlar. It is a very large family spread over nearly the whole world and most abundant in north temperate regions. To this family many valuable fruits such as apricot, peach, almond, plums and prunes, strawberry, pears etc. belong. It is the family of beautiful flower, Rose.
Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Subkingdom: Tracheobionta
- Superdivision: Spermatophyta
- Division: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Subclass: Rosidae
- Order: Rosales
- Family: Rosaceae – Rose family
- Genus: Pyrus L.
- Species: Pyrus malus
- Malus sylvestris
- Malus pumila Mill.
- Malus domestica Borkh.
Constituents of Pyrus malus
All parts of tree except, mature fruit yield about 1 per cent of glucoside phloridzin. The seed-kernel contain amygdalin.
Phloridzin or Phlorizin or Phloretin-2′-β-D-glucopyranoside: It is a toxic 2′-glucoside of phloretin and competitive inhibitor of renal glucose transport (SGLT inhibitor). Phlorizin causes a unique form of glycosuria, condition characterized by an excess of sugar in the urine.
Phlorizin forces the kidneys to excrete dextrose, thus producing polyuria (abnormally large volumes of dilute urine) and acetonuria (excretion in the urine of excessive amounts of acetone). As the blood loses sugar, there is breakdown of protein in tissues causing excretion of nitrogen and other products in urine.
In Animals, oral administration of Phlorizin caused diarhoea. Once it is stopped animals recovered.
Phlorizin can cause eye irritation and damage in some persons.
Seeds contain amygdalin (0.5 to 1.5%, corresponding to 30 to 90 mg HCN/100 gm).
Ripe fruits contain malic acid, citric acid, lactic acid and succinic acids. The chief acid of fruit is malic acid (0.2 to 1.5%). Unripe fruits contain quinic acid, citric acid, succinic acid and lactic acid. Tannins, tannin derivatives and colouring materials (flavones) are also present in fruits.
Aromatic substance, 2-trans-hexenal, 3-cishexenal, 2-trans-hexenol, 3-cis-hexenol, beta-damascenone,ethyl butyrate, methyl butyric acid hexylester; in some strains, 1 -methoxy-4-(2-propenyl)benzole are also present in apple.
Edible portion of fresh apple contains:
- Moisture 85%
- Protein 0.2 %
- Fat 0.5%
- Fiber 1.0%
- Total carbohydrates 13.4% (80% sugar): fructose (60%), glucose (25%) and sucrose (15%)
- Pectin (as calcium pectate) 0.14% to 1 %
- Calcium 10mg/100g
- Phosphorus 14mg/100 g
- Thiamine 0.12 mg/100 g
- Riboflavin 0.03 mg/100 g
- Niacin 0.2 mg/100 g
- Ascorbic acid 3 mg to 40 mg/100 g
- Small amount of Vitamin E, H and B complex
- Skin of Apple contains more vitamin C than inner part and skin also contains Vitamin A.
- Apple slices turn brown after cutting due to enzymic oxidation of tannin compounds.
Important Medicinal Properties
Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.
- Anti-inflammatory: Reducing inflammation by acting on body mechanisms.
- Antipyretic/antifebrile/febrifuge: Effective against fever.
- Anti-androgenic: Reduces effects of male sex hormones.
- Cardioprotective: Protects heart.
- Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
- Depurative: Purifying agent.
- Digestive: Promotes digestion.
- Laxative: Tending to stimulate or facilitate evacuation of the bowels.
- Stomachic: Stimulates gastric activity.
- Sedative: Promoting calm or inducing sleep
- Tonic: Restore or improve health or well-being.
Health Benefits of Apples
Apple is very nutritious and full of fiber, vitamins and minerals. One medium size apple gives 17% of daily required fiber and 14 % of daily required vitamin C. Apple is rich in anti-oxidant and help to regulate blood sugar level. It is very good for digestive system, lever, heart, intestine and help to boost immunity.
- It is rich in phytochemicals, phenolic compounds, and malic acid.
- It has antioxidant and antiaging properties.
- It helps to prevent cavities by reducing the bacteria in mouth.
- It is good for heart, bowel and liver.
- It is rich in fiber and reduces risk of developing diabetes.
- It helps to reduce cholesterol as the soluble fiber present in apple binds with the fats in intestine.
- It reduces uric acid level and thus helps in diseases that are caused due to high level of uric acid in body.
- It helps to soften and reduce the size of uric acid kidney stones.
- It shows beneficial effect in diarrhea, as it add bulk to stool.
- It detoxifies liver.
- It reduces risk of asthma.
- It regulates blood sugar.
Medicinal Uses of Apples
There are many useful application of apple fruit to treat and control various health problems. Due to presence of phytochemicals, phenolic compounds, pigments, fibers and vitamins, it helps in variety of common health ailments. Eating one or two apples daily improves hemoglobin level and cures nutritional deficiencies. Apples are good for skin and keep it glowing. Eating apples helps in both constipation and diarrhea.
Pectin is natural therapeutic ingredient found in the inner portion of the rind. Pectin aids in detoxification by supplying the “galaciuronic acid” needed for the elimination of certain harmful substances. It also helps to prevent decomposition of protein matter in the alimentary canal. The malic acid contained in the apple is beneficial to the bowels, liver and brain.
Here are some common uses of apple to treat various health problems.
Grate apple, add honey and take.
Anemia (iron deficiency)
Apples contain iron and vitamin C. Daily eating 1-2 apples help to improve hemoglobin level. Or
Extract juice of 500 gm fresh apple and drink it. Take it twice daily 30 min before meal and before going to bed in night.
Acidity and Indigestion
Mix apple juice with bottle gourd juice. Drink this juice in morning.
High consumption of apples may protect against asthma.
Arthritis and rheumatism
Take apple cider vinegar on a regular basis.
Apples are good source of dietary fiber and eating 2 apple daily will provide sufficient fiber to make bowel movement smooth. So in case of constipation eat 2 apple daily with outer skin.
In apple juice add Mishri, black pepper and drink for few days.
Mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup water. Pour into spray bottle and spritz it onto your hair and scalp.
Due to its cleansing property, eating apple after meal has same effect as doing toothbrush after meal. The acid of the apple also exerts an antiseptic influence upon the germs.
Cooked or baked apples are eaten as it add bulk to stool.
As Apple juice (unfiltered) is rich in malic acid, potassium, pectin, enzymes, this helps to remove impurities from body.
Dry cough (cough not accompanied by phlegm production)
Regularly eat apples for one week.
Dyspepsia, diarrhea and digestive complaints
Finely ground fruit or preparations that contain liquid or dry pectin are used.
Dysentery in kids
Apples have been found useful in acute and chronic dysentery among children. Ripe and sweet apples should be crushed info pulp and given to the child several times a day, from one to four tablespoonful, according to age of children.
Fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia
Apple contains malic acid and helps to reduce fatigue and pain of fibromyalgia.
For liver flush
Drink apple juice.
Gallbladder cleansers, proper working of gal bladder, tonic
Mix Apple juice (10%) + carrot juice (60%) + beet juice (30%), and drink one to two cups a couple of times a week.
Take one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar daily in half a cup of apple juice.
Apples are very effective the treatment of all types of headache. A ripe apple, after removing the upper rind and the inner hard portion should be taken with a little salt every morning. This should be continued for about a week. It will cure disgusting chronic headache also.
High Uric acid, gout
Apple contain malic acid which breaks down uric acid and thus helps to reduce uric acid.
Eat apple or daily or drink Apple Cider Vinegar.
Apples are very useful in treatment of kidney stones.
In apple juice add dry ginger powder and drink.
Nausea and vomiting
In apple juice add Mishri and sendha namak and drink to cure vomiting.
Redness, swelling or infection in eyes
Take unripe apple, roast in fire and when at normal temperature apply on eyes.
Apples are excellent food medicine for gout, arthritis and rheumatism especially when these diseases are caused by uric acid. The malic acid contained in apples is believed to neutralize the uric acid. Apples, boiled to a jelly, make a very good liniment for rheumatic pains. They should be rubbed freely on the affected area.
Uric acid stones
Daily eat apples to prevent the formation of uric acid kidney stones.
How to use Apple
The apple is generally taken raw and is used as a dessert fruit. Apples can be used as a salad and taken with other fruits, or cooked or baked, they can also be used in the form of dried apple, apple jelly, apple juice or cider and vinegar. Freshly prepared apple juice is one of the best fruit juices.
The apple juices which are available in market are not good for health. They are not fresh and most of them are high in sugars and contains preservative. Such juices does not offer any health benefit but increases risk of many diseases.
Cautions, Side-effects and Warnings
- Avoid eating at night. Best time to eat apple is in the morning or in the afternoon. You can eat apple after your lunch.
- Apples should not be consumed on an empty stomach as it may lead to indigestion.
- Apple is rich in fiber. So few people when start taking 2-3 apples in a day may suffer from gas and bloating. In such cases, it is better to start in low amount and then gradually increase the amount.
- Apples are often sprayed with poisonous chemicals to prevent them from decay, the fruits should be thoroughly washed and cleaned in all possible ways before consumption.
- Few people are allergic to apple. Symptom of allergy include itching, swelling in the lips, hives, pain in abdomen etc.
- Do not eat too much. 1 or 2 apples along with well-balanced diet are sufficient.
- Do not eat seeds. The seed-kernel contain amygdalin.
- Open cuts, abraded or irritated skin should not be exposed to apple leaves.
- The roots of apple tree have narcotic properties.