Usha Kumari1 , Sudeepa Kumari Jha2 , Madhuri Pradhan3 , Satish Kumar Pandey4
Department of Horticulture, BAU, Kanke, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India.
Department of Agricultural Entomology, BAU, Kanke, Ranchi, Jharkhand, India.
Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, College of Agriculture, OUAT, Bhubaneswar, Odisha., India
Senior Research Fellow , ICAR –IINRG , Namkum, Ranchi.
ABCofAgri publish code: ABCAG211911
Tendu, Kendu (Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.) fruit belongs to Ebenaceae family and Diospyros species. It is native to India and Sri Lanka. It is also available in Philippines, Japan, China, and Thailand. Its trade name is ebony, tendu/kendu and is also called as coromandel ebony or East Indian ebony and contributes to socio-economic livelihood of tribal people in India .The plant is distributed all across the Indian states of Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Odisha, and Jharkhand. There are several economic uses of this species and all the plant parts starting from bark, leaves, fruits and seeds are important for various commercial purposes (Srivastava et al. 2017). Both, unripe, as well as ripe fruits have been used in folk-medicine by tribal communities. Diospyros melanoxylon is a medium-sized tree or shrub up to 25 m and 1.9 m girth. The tree is deciduous or evergreen depending on its habitat. In a dry locality, it is leafless for a short time in the hot weather, regaining its leaves in May-June. In a moist locality, it is evergreen. The primary root is long, thick and fleshy at first, afterwards woody, greyish, often swollen in upper part near ground level. The roots form vertical loops in sucker-generated plants. Leaves opposite or alternate and coriaceus, up to 35 cm long, tomentose on both sides when young, becoming glabrous above when fully grown. The flowers appear from April to June on new shoots and the fruit ripens after 1 year. Male flowers are mauve in colour, tetramerous to sextamerous, 1-1.5 cm long, sessile or nearly sessile in short peduncles, mostly 3-flowered. Female flowers mauve, mostly extra-axillary or sometimes solitary, axillary generally 2, opposite each other, larger than the male flowers. The edible fruits are largely eaten and disseminated by fruit bats and birds, notably hornbills. The tree produces good seed in alternate years.
Different parts of kendu tree and their uses
Kendu fruit is globose in shape with 3-4 cm diameter. It usually contains 3 to 4 seeds which are brown in colour, compressed and oblong in shape .These fruits are rich in sugars, proteins, fibre and vitamin C. Proximate analysis of this tribal fruit reveal that it contains approximately 81% carbohydrate, 2 % protein, 2 % fat and 11 % fibre with the caloric value of 349 Kcal. It is also rich source of minerals like calcium (11.8 %), magnesium (62 %), iron (3.4 %), zinc (1.28 %) and copper (0.2 %). Furthermore, vitamin C (49 mg %) and β-carotene (260 μg %) are also reported to be present in ripe fruit of kendu. The fruits have a cooling and an astringent effect. Forest people use this fruit against intense summer heat. Tribal people use this fruit for extra vigour and efficiency to work for long hours without exhaustion. Unripe fruit is useful in relieving flatulence and ripe fruit is used to check excessive bile secretion. Fruit extract relieves fistula problems and is also used as skincare agent.
In ethnomedicine, it is also used against rheumatoid arthritis and abdominal pain. Methanolic extract of Diospyros melanoxylon is reported to possess saponins, tannins, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids and essential oils.
Tendu fruit wine is popular among the tribal community. An analysis of wine prepared from kendu fruits reveals that it contains total sugar of 3.78 g/100 mL, titratable acidity 1.32 g tartaric acid/ 100 mL; pH 3.12; total phenolics 0.95 g/100 mL; β-carotene 8 µg/100 mL; ascorbic acid 1.52 mg/ 100 mL; lactic acid 0.39 mg/100 mL; methanol 3.5 % (v/v), and ethanol 6.8 % (v/v). The kendu wine also possesses potent antioxidant activity (Sailakshmi et al. 2018).
The leaves are reported to contain 7.12% crude protein and 25.28% crude fibre. Leaves are used as styptic, in the treatment of scabies and old wounds and as laxative and carminative medicine. The leaves are commonly used for making bidis (an indigenous traditional cigarette which uses the kendu leaf for rolling instead of paper).
The bark is pelican in colour, exfoliating in rectangular scales. The bark is burnt by native people to “cure” small-pox. Dried powdered fruit is used as carminative and astringent; its tannin content is 15% and that of half ripe fruit is 23%.
Dried flowers are reported to be useful in urinary, skin and blood diseases (Hmar et al. 2017).
Powdered seeds are also sold in markets along with fruits and the seeds have been prescribed in India as a cure for mental disorders, nervous breakdowns and palpitations of the heart.
Wood is hard, whitish-pink, tough, fairly durable and used for building, shoulder poles, mine props and shafts of carriages. Wood of this tree is also utilized for making boxes, combs, ploughs and beams. Diospyros melanoxylon is reported to be good fuel wood; calorific value of sapwood is 4957 kcal/kg and of heartwood, 5030 kcal/kg.
The minor fruit tree being rich in nutritional, medicinal and processing qualities can play a very significant role in the livelihood security of the rural communities through enhanced household income, employment generation and environmental protection. Kendu fruits have a great potential for commercial cultivation. There is need of increasing the area and production of this lesser known fruit and their products from the different parts of tree. Value addition of this fruit for exploiting their nutritional and medicinal properties is a long term strategy and government and non-government organizations should play a vital role in production, marketing, value addition and popularization of kendu tree.
Hmar,B.Z., Mishra,S. and Pradhan,R.C.2017. Physico-Chemical, Mechanical and Antioxidant Properties of Kendu (Diospyros melanoxylon Roxb.). Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science. 5(3): 214-222.
Orwa, C., Mutua,A., Kindt, R., Jamnadass, R. and Anthony,S. 2009. Agroforestry Database:a tree reference and selection guide.
Sailakshmi,A.S.R., Anand,A., Madhusudana,K., Nayak,V.L., Zehra,A., Babu,K.S. and Tiwari,A.K. 2018. Diospyros melanoxylon (Roxb.): A tribal fruit that maintains euglycemic state after consumption and cools oxidative stress. Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources. 9 (3): 194-203.
Srivastava, A., Bishnoi, S. K. and Sarkar, P. K. 2017. Value Addition in Minor Fruits of Eastern India: An Opportunity to Generate Rural Employment. Agrobios. 395-417.