FALSA - Summer's delight

Falsa is a fruit of Southern Indian origin. But now grown in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal Srilanka, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. In the dryland areas where either growing of farm crops are not possible or their yields are below the economic threshold due to constraint of water in such areas growing of drought tolerant fruit trees like falsa, ber, custard apple, Jamun etc. is much possible. In subcontinents, falsa is highly sought in the hot summer months as its fruits can be made into a cool refreshing drink-falsa sharbat. As a matter of fact, it can be considered to be the third favourite fruit after mango and peach due to its medicinal values.   Falsa can be grown as small tree or found wild, may grow as a rather straggly looking bush and attains to a maximum height of 4.5m. Fruit is purple to almost black in colour.   It is a fruit of tropical to subtropical areas purple to almost black in colour. When gets ripen, is sweet to sour in taste, can withstand light frost.

Falsa Can be grown in any kind of soil (sandy/clay) with sufficient organic matter but, best growth in soil with loamy texture.

Seeds of this fruit tree are the usual means of propagation which germinate within 15 days. It can also be propagated through clumps or cuttings. Fruit falsa tree requires heavy pruning every year as fruits are borne on new growths (in axils of leaves)
Ripe fruits are harvested during May or June, and are immediately sent to the market as they are highly perishable. Average yield per plant is 9 to 11 Kg in a season.
Medicinal Values
Unripe fruit: Relieves inflammation and is used to treat respiratory, heart and blood afflictions as well as in fevers.
Bark: Root bark is used in treating rheumatism, Soak the bark overnight and apply the pulp directly on to the affected area for skin problems bark infusion is used in treatment for diarrhoes.
Fruit: Astringent and stomachic and is Known to assist preventing coughs and colds, minefield of antioxidants and are useful in reducing cancer risk, removes headache, pimples, acidity leucorrhea, anaemia, burning sensations in the body and skin dryness.
Leaves: relieves all types of inflammations of skin and are utilized in skin eruptions, Soak leaves overnight and make a paste to apply on affected area as they are known to have antibiotic action, leaves are also used as cattle fodder
Juice: Employed since centuries to treat liver and gall bladder problems, as well as to purify blood and control blood pressure and cholesterol level, Normalises heart rate and maintains blood pressure, diuretic, removes thirst, protects against heat stroke, vomiting, nausea.
Sharbat: is good to help sunburn victims to treat sunstroke.
Other Uses: Bark is used in purifying sugar cane juice in sugar processing, because the bark is mucilaginous.
Wood of falsa tree: Fine grained, cream coloured, strong and flexible, and is used in making archer’s bows, spear handles, poles and baskets and harvested for fuel.
1. Ex-Associate Dean-Cum-Chief Scientist,
2. Joint Director, Research, BFUHS,