Health Benefits of Falsa or Phalsa Fruit

Updated on June 19, 2017
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Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Phalsa tree leaves and flowers.
Phalsa tree leaves and flowers. | Source

Grewia Asiatica, or Falsa in English

Falsa fruit are small berries that grow on the tree Grewia asiatica. The fruit, known as Phalsa in India, resembles black currents but are not the same. While black current shrubs do produce similar small, glossy, purple berries, they are native to parts of Europe and northern Asia. Falsa shrubs, on the other hand, are native to southern Asia, including Pakistan, India, and Cambodia, and are widely cultivated in other tropical countries.

Falsa plants grow to be about 15 - 20 feet tall. They have rough bark and drooping, shaggy branches. The leaves are large, thick, and oval-shaped with pointed tips.

The tree can grow in a variety of soil conditions and climates and is drought-resistant. It does, however, need protection from freezing temperatures.

Quick Reference Guide

Grewia asiatica = scientific name

Phalsa = common name in India

Falsa = common name in English

Phalsa fruit.
Phalsa fruit. | Source

About Falsa Fruit

Falsa fruit is available in India during the months of May and June, which are the peak hot months.

A very delicate and perishable fruit, falsa is difficult to transport. This is one of the reasons it is not available throughout the world. When consumed during the summer, it provides a much-needed cooling effect. It is mostly eaten fresh, with a sprinkling of salt and black pepper. However a syrup of the fruit may also be prepared, so that one can enjoy the fruits' benefits for a longer time.

Medicinal Uses for Falsa

Parts of the phalsa plant are used in folk medicine. University of Miami botanist Julia Morton wrote in Fruits of Warm Climates1 that unripe phalsa fruit "alleviates inflammation and is administered in respiratory, cardiac and blood disorders, as well as in fever."

Other medicinal uses include:

  • An infusion of the bark is said to treat diarrhea, pain, rheumatism, and arthritis.
  • A study published in the journal Ethnobotany Research and Applications2 confirmed that falsa leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • The leaves are said to have a mild antibiotic effect3. Soaked overnight and made into a paste, they are said to relieve inflammations of the skin including cuts, burns, boils, eczema, and pustular skin eruptions.
  • The root bark has been shown in research to relieve pain and inflammation, according to a study conducted at Vinayaka Mission's College of Pharmacy4 in Salem, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • Falsa leaf and fruit extract may function as anti-cancer agents. Research on mice5 has shown that the pomace, or solid fruit parts, may prevent the formation of breast, cervical, and blood cancers.

How Falsa Is Used in Traditional Folk Medicine

  • For stomach pain, 25 to 30 ml of falsa juice, added to three grams of carom seeds, stirred and warmed, is said to relieve pain.
  • For burning eyes, urine, chest, stomach, and sour burping, falsa sherbet is said to provide relief (see recipe below).
  • For nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain, falsa juice combined with a little rose water and sugar is said to provide relief.
  • For respiratory troubles and hiccups, warm falsa juice combined with a little ginger juice and rock salt is said to provide relief.

Other Uses for Parts of the Falsa Tree

Falsa trees are grown for their fruit, but all parts can be used.
• Fresh leaves act as a fodder for cattle.
• The bark is used to refine sugar.
• The bark can be made into rope.
• The wood is used to make poles, archery bows, and spear handles.

Nutrition Information for Falsa Fruit

In 1994, the Fort Valley State University Agricultural Research Station in Georgia began an investigation into the feasibility of growing falsa in the U.S. The falsa seeds were obtained from India through the USDA Plant Introduction division. The study was conducted by Yadav A.K. and produced this nutrient information. Nutrients were analyzed in 1998.

Nutrient values per 100g of fruit:

  • Calories (Kcal) 90.5
  • Calories from fat (Kcal) 0.0
  • Moisture (%) 76.3
  • Fat (g) <0.1
  • Protein (g) 1.57
  • Carbohydrates (g) 21.1
  • Dietary Fiber (g) 5.53
  • Ash (g) 1.1
  • Calcium (mg) 136
  • Phosphorus (mg) 24.2
  • Iron (mg) 1.08
  • Potassium (mg) 372
  • Sodium (mg) 17.3
  • Vitamin A (µg) 16.11
  • Vitamin B1,Thiamin (mg) 0.02
  • Vitamin B2, Riboflavin (mg) 0.264
  • Vitamin B3, Niacin (mg) 0.825
  • Vitamin C, Ascorbic acid (mg) 4.385

Yadav, A.K. 1999. Phalsa: p. 348–352. In: J. Janick (ed.), Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, VA. https://dev.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1999/v4-348.html

Falsa Sherbet Recipe

Falsa sherbet.
Falsa sherbet. | Source

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup falsa berries
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 cup ice, crushed
  • 3 cups water, cold
  • 1 lemon

Instructions

  1. Wash berries in water. Grind or blend in a grinder or blender.
  2. Strain pulp well through a strainer.
  3. Add water and sugar. Mix well.
  4. Add lemon juice and crushed ice. Stir.
  5. Serve chilled.

References Cited

1 Morton, J. 1987. Phalsa. p. 276–277. In: Fruits of Warm Climates. Julia F. Morton, Miami, FL., https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/phalsa.html

2 Hossan, Shahadat et al. Traditional use of medicinal plants in Bangladesh to treat urinary tract infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Ethnobotany Research and Applications, [S.l.], v. 8, p. 061-074, Apr. 2010. http://journals.sfu.ca/era/index.php/era/article/view/304

3Nutritional and medicinal potential of Grewia subinaequalis DC. (syn. G. asiatica.) (Phalsa) Jyoti Sinha*, Shalini Purwar, Satya Kumar Chuhan and Gyanendra Rai Centre of Food Technology, University of Allahabad, India. Received 2 January, 2015; Accepted 5 May, 2015

http://www.academicjournals.org/article/article1434114791_Sinha%20et%20al.pdf

4Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity of root bark of Grewia asiatica Linn. in rodents; Udaybhan Singh Paviaya, Parveen Kumar, Manish M. Wanjari, S. Thenmozhi, and B. R. Balakrishnan

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3902535/

5Grewia asiatica L., a Food Plant with Multiple Uses; Muhammad Zia-Ul-Haq, Milan S. Stanković, Komal Rizwan, and Vincenzo De Feo

https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/755c/56c7492f1d93abde99d13741a5c57398f4c3.pdf

Disclaimer

This article is for informational purposes only. Always consult your medical doctor or health practitioner before starting any home remedies or new health regime.

Grewia asiatica (Falsa)

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

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    • profile image

      Romano 4 weeks ago

      The best juice to conbine with Pakistani food

      PAB

    • profile image

      Rajeev Mohan 6 months ago

      Love them. You can find them in month of May/June in Delhi but even people in Gurgaon hardly know about this fruit. I buy large quantities and then freeze them and then eat them after thawing the quantities I need. Try it.

    • profile image

      Sreemannarayana 7 months ago

      Hi everyone, it is now available in Delhi markets, it is a worth trying exotic fruit. It may be available for a few more weeks this summer.

      20-5-2017

    • profile image

      a.dee0 7 months ago

      Can we eat falsy during pregnancy

    • profile image

      Satender Kumar 7 months ago

      A very interesting, useful and detailed article on a fruit which is less known, not easily available, costly also but has immense health benefits.

      Thanks.

    • profile image

      Manjul. 8 months ago

      I have falsa trees blooming at EuroZone(my farm land and upcoming hotel) in pushkar with Mango, jamun and Amla trees.

      About taste it's unique and my most favourite because of the unique balance of sweet and sour taste.

    • profile image

      Dhananjay D 18 months ago

      Available store in mumbai if any one know pls give me information

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 19 months ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Blueberry is a different fruit altogether Peter.

    • profile image

      Peter 19 months ago

      Blue berry is not phalasa both are very different

    • profile image

      Ganesh 24 months ago

      Falsa fruit is called blue berry in english language.... may be one can find this with the name blue berries.

    • profile image

      naheed 4 years ago

      too much tasty i like too much,bt hare uae no found i miss too much

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I don't have to tell you we don't have this fruit in New York! It follows that I never heard of it either. It is fascinating that it is being studied here. Perhaps it will wind up in this country since the entire plant sounds so beneficial!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Thanks Dinesh. I believe phalsa fruit is very difficult to preserve as such as it is extremely perishable. However you can make it into a jam, sherbet and chutney as given in the video above to enjoy it for sometime more.

    • profile image

      Dinesh Jain 4 years ago

      So nice to read abt falsa and also surprised to know that a lot of people do not about it or never seen it.I have three falsa trees in my garden.this season i ate a lot of falsa. Sir i want to know that how can i preserve them to take the benefits in off season.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      The government should have been more understanding. Thanks for reading.

    • sweetie1 profile image

      sweetie1 4 years ago from India

      Rajan I remember when we used to go Mountains where my maternal grand mom lived, we used to have them as wild fruits. They were quite common there but now government has given it to contractors and thus people of even that place have to buy it. It is really a shame that such a wonderful fruit is not available to local people in Mount Abu direct from its trees.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      bhagat,

      falsa normally is available in the summer months, from April to June. Thanks for reading.

    • profile image

      bhagat 4 years ago

      hello .

      Nice t read falsa fruit details from this site. At present i am in mumbai is it possible to get falsa fruit in mumbai during this season. Please let me know.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Kelley, the extremely perishable nature of this fruit is the reason this is not much known in the west. In Asia however, it is grown in many countries hence it is recognised here as such.

      Thanks for reading this hub, appreciating and sharing. I appreciate your continued support.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Rajan, I've never heard of Phalsa fruit before but it looks like a powerhouse berry. I appreciate all the hubs you write on the medicinal value of natural foods. Voted up, useful, interesting, and shared on Facebook! Kelley

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      I'm glad the hub gave you some extra information. Thanks for reading and giving it a vote up Anamika.

    • Anamika S profile image

      Anamika S 5 years ago from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India

      Awesome Hub! Did not know that the fruit has these many benefits. Thanks for sharing, hub voted up.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Very much welcome Rajan..

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      It is a berry but very different in looks and the taste is not related to any of the European or American berries.

      I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for the read and votes, spy.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Looks like wild berries on our place.. Very well written hub. All the votes!

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Alocsin, maybe you could try locating the commercially manufactured juice if the fresh fruit is not available. Thanks for reading and voting.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Alocsin, maybe you could try locating the commercially manufactured juice if the fresh fruit is not available. Thanks for reading and voting.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I've never seen this fruit here in Southern California, not even among exotic Asian produce. But I'm willing to try it given the praises you've sung. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      michiganman, Thanks for giving the hub a read. I would be very interested in knowing if this fruit is available there.

      Thanks again.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      CCahill, it is definitely surprising that even amazon and ebay do not have any listings of this fruit juice. I just came across 1 reference to a commercially manufactured falsa juice by a company called Al Hilal , when searching on the net.

      The link is here : http://www.al-hilal.com.pk/

      It of course is a great tasting berry.

      Thanks for putting this question.

    • michiganman567 profile image

      michiganman567 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thanks for sharing information about this fruit. I'll have to keep an eye out at the fruit market.

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      That's odd, can it not be preserved in Juices or something like other fruits? Is it nice?

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Oceansider, I agree this fruit isn't much known about outside Asia. It cannot be transported much because of its perishable nature. My effort was to spread knowledge about this fruit and I'm thankful to you for sparing time to read and comment.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      CCahill, yes it is not much known outside Southeast Asia being native to tropical climes and due to the extremely perishable nature of the fruit. I'm glad you still made a point to read and appreciate. Thank you.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      CCahill, yes it is not much known outside Southeast Asia being native to tropical climes and due to the extremely perishable nature of the fruit. I'm glad you still made a point to read and appreciate. Thank you.

    • CCahill profile image

      CCahill 5 years ago from England

      Im not familiar with this fruit, Must be rare in countries like England.

      Interesting, Voted up

    • profile image

      oceansider 5 years ago

      Thank you for informing us of the Falsa fruit. This is the first I have ever heard of this fruit.

    • rajan jolly profile image
      Author

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      @ Kaili - I understand that this fruit is more localised than many because of its perishable nature. Regarding the taste it does not resemble any of those I have tasted. It has an astringent, sweet and sour taste. The berries are slightly larger than the size of peas.

      If you would like to grow it, you can from seeds but it has to have good sunlight to flourish and no freezing temperatures.

      Thanks for reading and appreciating.

      @ Nithya - you must try this fruit. Is it available where you live?

      Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 5 years ago from Dubai

      I have not tried out this fruit yet. Great hub and useful information on the Falsa fruit.

    • Kaili Bisson profile image

      Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

      Hi rajan and thank you for another very informative Hub. I have never heard of Falsa, nor seen it in markets here, probably because it is so perishable. What fruit does it taste like that North Americans/Europeans may be familiar with, or is it a very unique taste?