Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis Fruit
Almost part of any Filipino childhood is eating the organic fruit snack, aratilis.Also known as the mansanitas (tiny apples) in my province, its scientific name is Muntingia calabura. It is small tree that grows about 7 to 12 meters. This makes it easy for children to reach up and grab its fruit or climb it. However, climbing is not advised because its branches are thin and can’t bear weight well.
The plant species is also referred to as muntingia calabura, abbreviated often to M. calabura.
The aratilis is popular among Filipinos because it’s a ready-to-eat fruit snack. With juicy sweet pulp and miniature seeds that you can eat with each bite, it can be an addictive treat. Our common rivals for it are the fruit bats that often stay up in the tree at night.
Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis
Summer is often when the aratilis tree flowers and blooms. Much like the apple tree (or mansanas in Filipino), it starts off with green unripe fruit that’s hard and bitter and later on, it ripens to give you soft, ripe, red and juicy fruit.
Due to the fructose content in its fruit, the aratilis is not only a source of happy summer moments but also of good energy and fun for children of all ages.
What fruit brings you back to happy childhood memories?
What Is Aratilis and Where Can You Find It?
Much like the cherry tree, the Aratilis tree made it as a childhood memory for so many people out there because it is a small tree, measuring somewhere between 5 and 10 meters at most, making it really easy for children to climb it. No wonder this was such an attraction for kids, especially considering its delicious fruits, that are juicy, red and ready to consume when raw. These beautiful fruits hold the same amount of fascination to kids, as they do to birds and fruit bats, making it a permanently tight battle regarding who gets to eat these natural candies.
The flowers of these trees are white, long-pedicelled and usually grow solitary or in pairs. The tree is very popular in the Philippines nowadays, but it originated in Tropical America, after which it gained wide recognition and began to be thoroughly cultivated in this gorgeous Pacific Ocean country.
The Aratilis tree quickly found ways to spread across the globe, its presence being reported in all four corners of the world. You can find it in the West Indies, as well as in Brazil, the Galapagos Islands, California and India in the US. It’s also been naturalized in Australia, South East Asia, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Spain, East Africa and various islands in the Indian Ocean. This tree can live up to 30 years and can reproduce quickly, which makes it easy for an entire Aratilis forest to quickly gain territory.
Due to its versatility and fast-growing abilities, this tree and its fruits have seen many ways in which it can be used around the world. In India, for example, you’ll see it more often than not in parking lots and urban gardens, while in Brazil the trees are strategically planted along riverbanks, since their fruits attract fish, possibly making it easier for fishermen to catch fish.
Aratilis Fruit Health Benefits:
This amazing berry fruit also known as Kerson fruit, is actually packed with loads of vitamins and antioxidants, boasting properties that boost your health and help relieve symptoms of certain conditions.
One of the most important advantages that aratilis has on your health is the vitamin C amount it packs in and the benefits that follow with it. In 100 g (about 3.5oz) of these berries you’ll find 150 mg of vitamin C, a strong aid in combating colds and the flu, as well as a factor in improving some cardiovascular diseases.
These juicy red berries are also an impressive powerhouse of antioxidants, thekey elements when it comes to fighting off the body’s aging process at cellular level. Another health benefit these berries have is provided by their antibacterial properties. In recent years, antibiotics have been used so intensely that they can no longer efficiently fight bacteria, since now there are more resistant, mutated forms. This is where Kerson fruit comes in fighting intestinal bacteria, diphtheria and staph.
If you suffer from headaches, it may be due to a constriction of the blood vessels. Aratilis berries are also known to relax blood vessels, which in turn leads to a more fluid blood flow and a decreased risk of headaches.
Diabetics are sufferers who constantly need to monitor their blood sugar levels, ensuring they are under certain parameters. If you introduce the Kerson fruit in your diabetic diet, you may see a decrease in your blood sugar levels, which means less medication and injections. In countries where this fruit is prevalent, its consumption is already common as a prevention technique against diabetes.
There are few fruits out there that pack in so many health benefits, but the aratilis really does check off a lot of boxes in becoming your favorite health ally. Another great way in which the consumption of this fruit can serve you is if you suffer from gout. It’s well-known that gout sufferers will get considerable pain relief if they include Kerson fruit in their daily diets. In gout, if you can make the pain go away, you’ve won half the battle.
Kerson fruit is also a miracle worker when consumed as tea. You’ll find that you can drink tea made from dried up Kerson fruit leaves, that were then crushed and served as base for tea. One stunning property of the Kerson fruit tea is that it actually has the ability to block pain receptors. The fruit itself can alleviate pain, but the tea actually stops the pain stimuli messages to be sent from your body to your brain. This is kind of like an opiate, without all the side effects that makes things more difficult.
If you drink this tea, you’ll also notice a positive effect when it comes to inflammation in the body, specifically in the joints and tissues. You can also count on this tea to improve your digestion – by drinking it, you can calm gas cramps and even an upset stomach.
Lowers blood pressure
Your blood pressure will also go down when regularly drinking the Kerson fruit tea. Vessel constriction, as a condition, can be very dangerous, since it brings forth vessel pressure that in turn leads to strokes and heart attacks. Having said this, this tea is great all around in preventing inflammation that’s specific to heart conditions.
Can help fight against cancer
Although more studies are needed in order to consider this fruit an absolutely irreplaceable factor in the fight against cancer, studies show that aratilis contains a very important compound named flavanone. This is a biochemical substance that’s not only good for the heart, but that’s also been shown to inhibit tumor cells from growing. The cytotoxic flavonoids that aratilis contains are also said to be a great aid in cancer prevention.
Aids brain function
As if this fruit wasn’t already wonderful in terms of the health benefits it has, you should know the flavonoids these berries contain are a great aid in maintaining the normal function of the brain. Adults that suffer from mild cognitive impairment should see improvement in their cognitive function when regularly consuming this miraculous tea.
Due to its fiber content, aratilis will stave off cholesterol and fats from your body, while also soothing your stomach. Additionally, aratilis is also a great assistant in your fight against upsetting gastric ulcers.
Lastly, you need to know these berries, small as they are, are also a powerful combination of vitamins and nutrients that keep the body young and strong. Having said this, it’s important to remember that 100 g of aratilis will give you 4.6 mgs of fiber, 124.6 mgs of calcium and 0.384 mgs of protein. That’s not all, you’ll also get to benefit from good amounts of iron, vitamin C, phosphorus, calcium, tiamin, carotene, riboflavin and niacin.
Aratilis isn’t just good for humans, but also the planet, since it’s very environmentally friendly. Aratilis trees can grow in poor soil and tolerate acidic conditions, while also standing up well in times of drought. Since these trees shed a large amount of branch litter and leaf, they can widely and successfully be used in reforestation projects in underdeveloped areas, while also contributing to the improvement of the soil and the adaptation of other nearby trees. To this end, it’s safe to say aratilis is a fruit that keeps on giving and the tree it comes from is also very giving with the environment that nurtures it.
Depending on where you live, you can get these extraordinary berries in Latin markets or at regular farmers’ markets. Either way, once you discover them, be certain you’ll benefit from a multitude of advantages, apart from a savory taste that may remind you of blissful childhood.
Care of Aratilis
Aratilis trees are pretty robust, and don’t really need specialist soil. They should be watered plenty, despite their reputation as being resistant to drought. It’s best to make sure they have enough water and not take the risk.
The one thing they don’t deal particularly well with is the cold. It’s best to make sure they’re planted in full view of the sun, and away from any areas where cooler air might stagnate. If you live somewhere with harsh winters, it might be that growing aratilis isn’t for you unfortunately, although feel free to try – the tree can be hardy.
One thing to note when caring for aratilis is that it’s a popular fruit with birds. You might want to look into some form of deterrent if you’re growing the tree and want to keep the fruit for yourself, such as holographic tape that can confuse birds and keep them away. Over time they will get used to it, so only use it when the tree is producing fruit.
Propagation of Aratilis
It’s possible to propagate the aratilis tree from seeds, seedlings and cuttings. The seeds of the fruit are tiny, so it might be easiest to squeeze the fruit – pulp, seeds and all – onto some soil in order to start growing it.
Washing the seeds is thought to be beneficial, as it can prevent the growth of mold which can cause the plant to die once it has germinated. You need to be careful as the seeds are tiny that they are difficult to wash.
It’s also worth growing seedlings in a protected environment under a warm light source, rather than outdoors, as garden pests can quickly demolish young aratilis plants.
Taste of Aratilis
The fruit of the aratilis is very sweet and juicy, with a flavor and scent that is reminiscent of cotton candy – absolutely delicious! It’s no wonder it’s so popular with children. The fruit does have an interesting texture though, due to the many fine seeds inside that add a crunch not too dissimilar to a light cereal.
Is Aratilis a fruit?
Aratilis is a fruit – it’s small and round, similar in size and shape to a blueberry. However, the color of the fruit is more orange/red when ripe, and it contains hundreds of extremely small yellow seeds. The taste of the fruit is similar to cotton candy.
What is an Aratilis tree?
The Aratilis tree is a fast-growing tree best suited to warm climates. It bears the aratilis fruit, a small berry that tastes similar to cotton candy. The tree originated in tropical Central America and South America but became extremely popular in the Philippines, and now is grown around the world wherever winters are mild enough for the tree to survive.
Is Aratilis a berry?
A berry is a small round fruit that does not contain a stone, and so yes, aratilis fruit is considered a berry. The fruit has a number of colloquial names around the world that incorporate the word berry, including cotton candy berry, Panama berry and festival berry. It is also sometimes referred to as an ornamental cherry, Jamaican cherry, Singapore cherry or West Indian cherry.
How do you plant Aratilis?
The aratilis fruit contains hundreds of tiny yellow seeds, and so often the fruit is squeezed directly onto the field or planting area as the easiest way of planting the tree. However, it is better to clean and dry the seeds first, if possible, as this can prevent mold growing which can kill the seedling early in its life.
What is the health benefits of Aratilis? ›
It is known to contain some micronutrients such as Vitamin B, Calcium, Phosphorus and Iron which can help prevent infections and help support or promote cell health. In which it signals the body to heal and repair damaged tissue and to protect from foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses.What are the benefits of Aratiles leaves tea? ›
It's being used to relieve upset stomach, gas cramps, and indigestion. Aratiles tea has specific antioxidants that prevent inflammation that causes myocardial infarction or heart attack. Parts of our heart muscles may suffer permanent damage due to lack of blood flow during heart attack.What is Aratilis fruit? ›
Fruit of the Philippines – Aratilis Fruit
Also known as the mansanitas (tiny apples) in my province, its scientific name is Muntingia calabura. It is small tree that grows about 7 to 12 meters. This makes it easy for children to reach up and grab its fruit or climb it.
Kerson Fruit or Muntingia calabura is a fast growing tree that has a cherry like fruit with multiple health benefits: Such as lowering blood sugar, preventing cancer, promoting cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure, and blocking pain… just to name a few.Are cherry's good for you? ›
Cherries are low in calories and chock full of fiber, vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and other good-for-you ingredients. You'll get vitamins C, A, and K. Each long-stemmed fruit delivers potassium, magnesium, and calcium too. They also bring antioxidants, like beta-carotene, and the essential nutrient choline.What kind of fruit is Aratiles? ›
The aratiles fruit is known in other countries as Jamaican cherry, Panama berry, Singapore cherry, bolaina yamanaza, cacaniqua, capulín blanco, nigua, niguito, memizo, or memiso. In certain areas of the Philippines, these little red fruits are called manzanitas (“small apples”), also spelled mansanitas or manchanitas.What is the benefits of drinking sambong leaves? ›
Sambong (Blumea balsamifera L.) is an aromatic shrub long used in Philippine traditional medicine as a treatment for fever, cough, headache, boils, abdominal pain and gaseous distention.How do you eat Aratilis? ›
The key is to gather as many ripe Aratilis as you can to be able to produce a glass of shake. I make the shake by extracting the juice (these are tiny seeds, by the way) from the fruit, and then place it in a blender along with powdered full-cream milk and a lot of ice cubes. It tastes like a creamy cotton candy drink.What is the taste of Aratiles? ›
The Aratiles fruit is juicy, somewhat gelatinous inside. Hundreds of tiny yellow seeds give a nice texture similar to tiny rice crispy crunches. The fruit is sweet and the smell/flavor is very close to cotton candy. Yes, it is not a typo; cotton candy on a tree.
The trees fruit all-year round but are especially abundant in the summer, when there is enough to feed not only the neighborhood children, but many birds and bats as well! Originally from the tropical Americas, the aratiles was introduced to the Philippines during the Spanish times and swiftly became naturalized.
How do you grow Aratilis? ›
Seeds from the Aratiles fruit are be squeezed out of the fruit directly into the fields. Aratiles seeds are be cleaned, dried and saved for future planting. Shoots that come up from the main/mother trees roots are be harvested and replanted. The Aratiles tree can be propagated by the process of “air layering.”Is Aratilis edible? ›
Aratiles in English is known as Jamaican Cherry, Calabur Tree or Ornamental Tree. So Aratiles is a tree and not a fruit as many believe. The fruits of an Aratiles tree are edible and in some cases sold in Philippine markets. It can be eaten as raw or processed as jam and the leaves can be used for making tea.What is Aratilis tree? ›
Aratiles is a fast growing tree, 5 to 10 meters high, with spreading branches. Leaves are hairy, sticky, alternate, distichous, oblong-ovate to broadly oblong-lanceolate, 8 to 13 centimeters long, with toothed margins, pointed apex and inequilateral base, one side rounded and the other acute.What is kerson fruit in English? ›
It's also known in the states as Strawberry Tree, Panama berry, Jamaican cherry, Bajelly tree and Singapore cherry… and in Spanish it's called bolania, memizo, and yamanza, Taste – The Kerson cherry has a tart cherry like flavor.Is cherry good for blood? ›
Potassium, 342 mg.
According to UC Davis School of Medicine, adding 45 Bing cherries to your daily diet can help lower indicators for a variety of inflammatory diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Sweet cherries are high in melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. Consuming a glass of cherry juice before you're off to bed can reduce the severity of insomnia and increase overall sleep efficiency. A hot cup of chamomile tea relaxes you and soothes the nervous system.Is Aratiles good for arthritis? ›
1.Aratiles: Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Inflammatory Properties
The aratiles can also be a natural anti-inflammatory substance that helps in reducing swelling and inflammation of joints in the body.
The sweet and sour taste of agbalumo acts as a natural remedy for common issues such as constipation, toothache, sore throat and indigestion. Herbal practitioners are also known to use the bark of the tree to treat yellow fever and malaria, while the leaves are useful for treating wounds, stomach ache and diarrhoea.How do you eat Aratilis? ›
The key is to gather as many ripe Aratilis as you can to be able to produce a glass of shake. I make the shake by extracting the juice (these are tiny seeds, by the way) from the fruit, and then place it in a blender along with powdered full-cream milk and a lot of ice cubes. It tastes like a creamy cotton candy drink.What is the product and benefits of Macopa? ›
In Philippine traditional medicine, makopa is considered a remedy to diabetes. Other benefits of the fruit to human health include easing constipation, promoting heart health, boosting the immune system, lowering cholesterol, and more.