Ooty: The hill jamun, known as naval pazham in Tamil and neril-annu in Badaga, is a fruit packed with medicinal properties. It has become a rarity now and the Greens call for steps to grow the sturdy hill jamun trees in good numbers to conserve this species as it is unique to the hills.
Recalling the sutta pazham venduma or sudatha pazham venduma conversation between Avvaiyar and Lord Muruga, Mr.V.Sivadass, managing trustee of the Nilgiris Environment and Socio-cultural Trust, said that it was the jamun fruit which was the centre of conversation between Avvaiyar and Lord Muruga. This revealed that the fruit has ancient origins, he explained.
“The hill jamun is unique as it is small in shape compared to the hybrid jamun available elsewhere. The hill jamun is rich in vitamins and minerals, especially iron and cater to the needs of iron among avians and wild animals. From time immemorial the seeds of this fruit have been used to treat diabetics. It is nature’s own answer to diabetic management. The sturdy hill jamun tree with its good canopy serves as an abode for many insects, birds and arboreal animals, besides serving as a shade tree. Sadly, it has become a rare variety now due to unplanned development and habitat destruction. Steps should to be taken to reproduce its saplings in good quantities to conserve this variety which is semi-wild in nature,” he advocated.
Dr S.Rajan, field botanist at the central Ayush wing here, said that syzygium cumini is the common jamun species that grows well in the Nilgiris. Besides the fruit, the tree itself has very good timber value, he noted.