Health Benefits of Candlenut
Candlenut (also known by Aleurites Moluccanus) is a flowering tree in the genus Aleurites belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae. It is also commonly known as Indian walnut or candleberry. The tree can grow to a height of between 50 to 85 feet. The branches of the tree spread far and wide having alternate leaves having an acute apex. The average length of a leaf may range from 4 inches to 8 inches and are pale green in colour. The candlenut trees are grown largely in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Queensland as well as some parts of Australia.
The candlenut tree has both medicinal as well as edible uses. They are quite popular due to their culinary uses. The high oil content in the nuts makes them suitable for edible uses. It is generally used to thicken Asian dishes. The oils may also be used as lamp oil to be used as a source of light.
CHEMICAL AND NUTRIENT CONTENT
Candlenuts contain a wide range of nutrients. Due to this they are quite nutritious. Some of the nutritional contents in candlenuts include
- significant amount of fats (50 grams per 100 grams of candlenut) and essential vitamins (Thiamine B1, Riboflavin B2 and Niacin B3).
- The chemical analysis of candlenut reveals 52-60% oil in the kernel. The oils contain essential fatty acids. The leaves yield sterols, flavonoids and triterpenes. The presence of other complex organic acids and phenols has also been reported by experimental studies.
The various parts of candlenut tress are useful for their medicinal properties. The following are the health benefits that can be obtained from the consumption of candlenuts:
Used in treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery
The tree bark has been known to be helpful in the treatment of dysentery or diarrhoea.
Used as a cure for fevers, headaches and joint pain
In certain countries like Malaysia, the kernels are beaten to a pulp and the leaves are boiled to be used to cure fevers, headaches, swollen joints, flu, ulcers and gonorrhoea.
Acts as a laxative
The oil derived from candlenut has excellent laxative properties. It is also consumed in addition with castor oil because of its purgatory and irritant properties.
Helps in lowering cholesterol in the body
The oil is also used to lower cholesterol and reduce body weight.
Used in the cure of Arthritis
The oil is also known to be used in the cure of Arthritis.
Is used as a hair stimulant
The oil finds applications as a strong hair stimulant and is widely used in hair care.
Almost all parts of the candlenut tree are useful for human use. The oil in candlenuts can be used to burn them like candles. The candlenut can also be used to prepare sweet scented oils that are particularly useful for the skin. The flowers, shells and leaves of the tree are used to make garlands. In Java, a thick satay sauce is prepared from the candlenuts that are eaten with rice and vegetables. The tree bark can be used to make a red brown dye as well.
Candlenuts contain some toxic substances that limit the form of consumption of the nuts. Due to the presence of substances like saponins and phorbol, large quantities of these nuts should not be consumed raw otherwise side effects like nausea, violet vomiting and stomach cramps may be experienced.