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Fruits grown on wild trees in hilly areas cure diseases: experts

Fruits grown on wild trees in hilly areas cure diseases: experts

PESHAWAR: Fruits grown naturally on trees in mountainous areas can cure several stomach related diseases, say experts.

They say when there were no modern ways of medical treatment, people used to cure their ailments through usage of natural herbs and fruits.

Haji Alam Khan, an expert on natural herbs, told this scribe that their local folklore was rich in such references. He said that most medicinal plants and herbs were on the decline due to deforestation and their philistine attitude towards natural environment.

Chinese dates or Jujube called Markhanrai in local Pashto dialect, a popular summer fruit, is relished by all and sundry in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to experts, it is a wild medicinal plant grown on high altitude areas mostly in Dir, Swat, Buner, Kohistan, Shangla, Battagram and some tribal agencies.

Rahim Khan, a food expert in Peshawar, said that Markhanrai was a low calorie fruit and an energy booster that could help people to get rid of fatigue. He said that it was rich in vitamin C, vitamin A and provided help in strengthening immune system.

Enumerating several other benefits of the fruit, Mr Khan said that it could be used as a natural anti-depressant and sedative owing to its soothing effect. “Dry Markhanrai heightens our appetite and serves as the best laxatives. It helps us remove our skin dryness,” he added.

Prof Ihsan Mabood Qazi, a senior teacher at department of food science and technology, University of Agriculture, Peshawar said that Markhanrai plant was normally grown in hilly areas but it could be planted in plain fields due to its strong adaptability. It bore fruit in summer, he added.

He said that people used it as a natural cure for several diseases like diabetes etc. “It has a good a cooling effect. It is not being sold on commercial basis but sometime local residents bring it to market especially in this hot season,” said Mr Qazi.

Elman Ahmad, a student from Naqai maidan village in Dir Upper, said that a beautiful tree bearing fruit of Markhanrai still existed in his home since long and every year his parents picked the red colour fruit and presented it as gift to relatives and friends.

He said that Markhanrai fruit was so delicious especially in hot summer. “When I was a kid I used to secretly climb the Markhanrai tree and pick it down just to enjoy it,” he recalled.

Sajid Aziz, a resident of Markhanrai village in Dir, said that his village probably had been named after Markhanrai tree’s growth over large area. He said that his elders used to tell him that Markhanrai trees were in abundance in and around his village and that was why the village was named after Markhanrai fruit.

“There are still many Markhanrai trees in our village where we enjoy its delicious fruit every summer,” he said.

Gurguray is another wild summer fruit that is grown naturally on trees in mountains, especially in tribal areas of Tirah, Orakzai, Kurram and Khyber agencies.

Rabnawaz Afridi, a resident of Landi Kotal, said that Gurguray trees were grown naturally in dry hilly areas and every summer bore round fruit not big in size but mostly black in colour .

“Local residents sometime keep Gurguray in the sun for a while to soak out its watery liquid inside its seed. It then becomes more delicious. A few poor people living close to Gurguray trees on mountains bring it to local market to sell it out at cheaper rate,” he said.

Mr Afridi said that most often Gurguray fruit was presented as summer gift to friends and guests.

Published in Dawn, June 4th, 2017

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