The tree is small to medium sized, reaching 8 to 18 m in height, with crooked trunk and spreading branches. The leaves are simple, subsessile, the flowers are greenish-yellow. The fruit is nearly spherical, light greenish yellow, with 6 vertical stripes or furrows. The fruits ripen in autumn. Its taste is bitter-sour. Being more fibrous than most fruits, it cannot be consumed raw in vast quantity; indeed, it is taken with salt, and a glass of water taken immediately
The fruit allegedly contains 720 mg of vitamin C per 100g of fresh fruit pulp, or up to 900 mg per 100g of pressed juice.
The fruit is pickled and also used as a main ingredient in the Ayurvedic tonic Chyawanprash. Its extract is popularly used in inks, dyes, shampoos and hair oils.
In Hinduism it is regarded as a sacred tree and worshipped as Mother Earth in India.
Other useful herb information: Kudzu | Milk Thistle | Spirulina | Muira Puama | Ashwagandha | Achillea | Butcher broom
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