Scientific or Botanical Name: Buchanania lanzan or Buchanania latifolia
Common Name: Chironji, Charoli, Cheronjee, Chiraunji, Priyal, Piyal
Parts used: Seeds, nuts, kernel, fruits, leaves, oil, gum from the trunk and the roots as well.
Chironji or Buchanania lanzan plant is a deciduous tree majorly native to the Indian subcontinent, especially in the northwest, and also found in Nepal, Burma, Thailand, and Vietnam. The Chironji nuts are the size of lentils and are popularly used in Indian sweets and desserts in Northern India such as kheer and halwa. It belongs to the cashew family but surprisingly has a taste most similar to almonds. Slightly acidic and sweet, Chironji nuts are usually roasted or fried to enhance their flavor. They can also be consumed raw. The ground powder is often used in savory sauces and flavourful batters, and also stewed in meaty kormas.
A lesser-known member in the family of nuts but chironji seeds is packed with nutritional constituents as well. It is known to have high fiber content and vitamins such as vitamin B1, B2, C and niacin as well. Charoli seeds are good sources of protein and also consist of phosphorus, iron, and calcium. The calorie content is relatively low. Albuminoids in 28 percent, mucilage in 2.5 percent, oil, fiber and ash in 3.5 percent are found in Chironjee seeds. The oil is known to comprise of the following chemical constituents: tannin, galactoside, flavonoids, 8-cineole, camphene, myrcene, triglycerides, and sabinene among others through phytochemical analysis.
Chironji is a well-used ingredient in the Ayurveda system of medicine. The guna of these seeds is unctuousness and heaviness caused during digestion. They have a strengthening action on the body, calms the mind and pacifies vata dosha and pitta humor.
Health Benefits of Chironji
Promotes Skin Health
Chironji oil extracted from the seeds and the seeds themselves are well-known ingredients in traditional medicine to promote skin health. Recently, they are also being used in the cosmetic industry to manufacture natural cosmetic products for better skin health. Chironji seeds are mostly used to make face masks or packs by mixing the powdered charoli seeds in milk to make a paste. This paste can then be used as a face mask for about ten to fifteen minutes daily. The oil from the seeds helps in keeping the skin moisturized and to remove skin blemishes and dark spots. The ground powder of the seeds can also be used alternatively by mixing it with gram flour, curd, honey and lemon; or rose water and Multani mitti (fuller’s earth) to create cleansing scrubs.
When used as scrubs, they can remove and exfoliate dirt and dead cells from your skin. These natural scrubs protect the skin against infections and prevent acne and pimples. In ancient folklore medicine, chironji kernels had been used to make ointments for various skin diseases such as eczema or dermatitis. Moreover, it also reduces skin rashes, itching and prickly sensation on the skin because of its demulcent properties. It even aids in bringing a natural glow at an older age.
Chironji is one of the key ingredients in our brand new Amrutam Face Wash.
Amrutam Products that you can choose for healthy skin consisting of Chironji are:
It works as a wonderful moisturizing agent and helps in increasing skin elasticity and the complexion, erasing fine lines, fading brown spots and wrinkles.
Amrutam Face Clean-Up extracts dirt from your skin and deeply cleanses the pores. It has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which help in acne prevention and dark spots.
Chironji seeds naturally reduce the trapped heat in your body and hence provide a cooling effect. Thus, it should be extensively used in summers to keep your body heat at an optimal level. Preparations in Ayurvedic medicines are often used to treat burning sensation on the skin or in your gut.
Improves Digestion and Regulates Bowel Movements
The astringent properties of Chironji aids in regulating bowel movements. Chironji root extracts are particularly believed to be treating the ulcers of the digestive tract with its demulcent effects. It even helps in acidity and heartburn. Various parts of this plant are especially beneficial in treating diarrhoea by binding the stools together. The gum collected from the bark of this tree can be used along with buttermilk to cure diarrhoea. Chironji root powder, as well as its dried leaves with yoghurt, is also effective in treating loose stools. The oil has carminative properties which can help in relieving flatulence.
Alleviates Respiratory Illnesses
Chironji fruits are believed to work wonders in case of asthma symptoms or just a cough. In cases of severe cold, nasal or chest congestion, you can easily use chironji oil as an expectorant to clear out the mucus blocking your respiratory tract. Squeeze out a few drops of chironji oil in steaming water and inhale its vapors. It will quickly loosen the mucus in your airway and provide relief in a few minutes.
The Chironji seeds are popular in India for its aphrodisiac properties. In many families, married couples start their newly married lives by having drinks made using chironji seeds. They are especially beneficial for men’s health as it enhances vitality and sexual vigor. Furthermore, it can also treat numerous sexual health disorders such as infertility, loss of libido, premature ejaculation, oligospermia, and impotence. They also increase the quality and motility of sperms.
The extracts from chironji leaves are known to have anti-diabetic properties. It significantly lowers the blood sugar levels which helps in managing diabetes. Further studies are underway to reveal other specifics regarding its efficacy.
Helps against inflammation
The extracted oil from Chironji seeds is packed with anti-oxidants and therefore, possesses high anti-inflammatory properties. In addition to that, chironji exhibits demulcent properties and when applied topically on the swollen gland in the neck, it aids in reducing the swelling of the thyroid gland. It also decreased the inflammation of affected joints in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Along with inflammation, it reduces the swelling as well as pain in those affected joints.
Aids in weight loss
Chironji has low-calorie count and high protein content. It is also rich in fiber and consists of healthy fat. Hence, consuming not more than 20 grams per day can aid profoundly in weight loss strategies. The rich fiber content takes time to digest properly and thus, keeping you from feeling hungry quite often.
Charges you up
Chironji also helps in relieving you from chronic fatigue and tiredness. As a result, charging you up for the day. It improves one’s memory and is equally effective for one’s brain health. It enhances physical stamina. Therefore, the nuts have been used by sportspersons for improving their performance.
Helps in reducing stress
Few drops of chironji oil along with fewer drops of lavender oil, when mixed in a base of olive or coconut oil, can be massaged onto the head for stress-relieving effects.
All these above-listed health benefits and the rich content of vitamins and mineral in Chironji makes it a superfood item in your kitchen. Including it in your daily diet will help in boosting your immune system and hence, to help fight various infections and diseases.
Promotes wound healing
Chironji oil extracts, when applied topically, aid in healing scars as well as promote faster healing of wounds.
Chironji seeds are also known to have depurative or blood purification properties. It acts as a cleanser of the blood and hence, enhances blood circulation in the body by releasing the toxins from your body. It might as well cure blood infections or prevent them.
Treats mouth ulcers
Due to its astringent and demulcent qualities, chironji helps in treating mouth ulcers as well. The natural cooling properties soothe the affected area in addition to it.
Relieves Intercostal pain
Intercostal or chest wall pain is caused due to irritation or compression of intercostal nerves (situated between the ribs). Chironji gum soothes nerves and gives relief from pain in the Unani system of medicine.
The demulcent and anti-septic effects of chironji oil reduce the stinging and irritation caused by an insect bite if applied immediately. It also lowers the toxic effect of the bite on the body.
Excessive thirst and prickly heat
During summers, chironji works in multifarious ways. Consuming charoli can reduce your excessive thirst pangs during the summers. Chironji oil mixed with coconut oil when used on the skin can remove blockages on the sweat glands that occur during high humidity and heat. Thus, providing relief from prickly heat.
Charoli can treat diseases caused due to liver or gall bladder dysfunctions as well. It improves liver health and also reduces bile.
One can count on Chironji for keeping a healthy heart. It has cardio-tonic properties and is helpful in cases of heart muscle weakness and reduced ejection fraction of the heart that can lead to heart failure.
Post-natal care for mothers
Chironji is well-known for treating debility after chronic diseases and hence can be used in post-natal care for mothers. Since it also has these many health benefits including lowering of stress and excessive fatigue, this can be a beneficial choice in the post-natal diet.