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Health Benefits of Falsa or Phalsa Fruit

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.

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 currant 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

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, 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 diarrhoea, 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

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)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly

Comments

Shunrah2610 on June 20, 2020:

Shakti Kumar Shukla - i'd love more info on your phalsa wine - i'm based in Israel and my tree is growing very happily in my garden...the fruits aren't ready just yet but another month or so and they will be.....the hummingbirds are loving the flowers right now!

Shakti Kumar Shukla on June 13, 2020:

Dear friends.

Falsa is a very costly fruit as it is available for a shory period. Rs. 400 a kilo at present. Most people have tried it as a raw fruit with Indian masala(chat masala). I have been enjoying it for the last 55 years. I have also been experimenting with the fruit. I have been making vinegar out of it. People refrain from making it as it is very costly, but believe me it is fantastic. Another experiment is on and that is Falsa wine.. I can assure you that you can not find anything close to it's exotic taste and flavor... Try it..

saleem on May 30, 2020:

please inform, is falsa good for

diabetic?

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 04, 2019:

This good to know. You can prepare falsa sharbat and enjoy its health benefits SDHUKACHARYA MANUR.

SDHUKACHARYA MANUR on April 04, 2019:

This PALSA fruit is available in few fruit shops in Hyderabad.

Rajashree Naik on July 20, 2018:

I have some seeds of pals a fruit. How can I germinate it's seeds.

Jyoti on May 08, 2018:

Do we have to eat their seeds also??

Deep on February 10, 2018:

Is falsa not a elderberry? Plz tell me about elderberry

Rajeev Mohan on June 01, 2017:

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.

Sreemannarayana on May 20, 2017:

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

a.dee0 on May 18, 2017:

Can we eat falsy during pregnancy

Satender Kumar on May 05, 2017:

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.

Manjul. on March 24, 2017:

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.

Dhananjay D on May 30, 2016:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on May 05, 2016:

Blueberry is a different fruit altogether Peter.

Peter on May 05, 2016:

Blue berry is not phalasa both are very different

Ganesh on December 26, 2015:

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

naheed on November 07, 2013:

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

Mary Craig from New York on October 11, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 24, 2013:

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.

Dinesh Jain on July 24, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on April 06, 2013:

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

sweetie1 from India on April 05, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on January 28, 2013:

bhagat,

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

bhagat on January 27, 2013:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on July 01, 2012:

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.

kelleyward on July 01, 2012:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 21, 2012:

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

Anamika S Jain from Mumbai - Maharashtra, India on June 21, 2012:

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

Life Under Construction from Neverland on June 20, 2012:

Very much welcome Rajan..

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 20, 2012:

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.

Life Under Construction from Neverland on June 20, 2012:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on June 19, 2012:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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

Thanks again.

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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 from Michigan on June 19, 2012:

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

CCahill from England on June 19, 2012:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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 Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 19, 2012:

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 from England on June 18, 2012:

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

Interesting, Voted up

oceansider on June 18, 2012:

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

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on June 18, 2012:

@ 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.

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on June 18, 2012:

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

Kaili Bisson from Canada on June 18, 2012:

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?