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Persimmon (Amlok) Fruit: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Have you ever wondered which fruit twins with oranges? It is persimmon! A fibrous, fleshy, deciduous and tropical fruit. The scientific name of persimmon is Diospyros kaki, and it belongs to the family Ebenaceae. Persimmons are commonly cultivated in countries like Japan, China, Korea, Brazil, Italy and Turkey. However, the maximum production of persimmon is from China. There are about 400 species of persimmon, did you know? It is the fifth fastest-developing fruit crop in the world! Persimmons have been gaining popularity due to their hidden health benefits.1,2 Let us have a glance at some of them. 

persimmon fruit benefits

Nutritional Value of Persimmon Fruit: 

Persimmon fruits may contain several bioactive compounds like proanthocyanidins, catechins, triterpenoids, carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, polyphenols and many more. Additionally, persimmon fruit may contain the following nutrients: 

Nutritional Components Value 
Water 64.4 g 
Energy 127 kcal 
Carbohydrates 33.5 g 
Fats 0.4 g 
Protein 0.8 g 
Phosphorous 26 mg 
Sodium  1 mg 
Calcium 27 mg 
Iron 2.5 mg 
Potassium 310 mg 
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 66 mg 
Tryptophan 0.014 g 
Threonine 0.041 g 
Glutamic acid 0.104 g 
Valine 0.042 g 
Leucine 0.058 g 
Methionine 0.007g 

Table 1: Nutritional content of persimmons (raw)3 

Properties of Persimmon Fruit: 

Several studies have shown that persimmon fruit may have the following properties:1 

  • It may act as an antioxidant.  
  • It may help to lower blood pressure.  
  • It may reduce cholesterol levels. 
  • It may have blood-sugar lowering properties. 
  • It may possess anti-bacterial properties. 
  • It may be used in case of allergies. 
  • It may reduce the occurrence of mutations (changes in the structure of genes), reducing the risk of genetic disorders cancer.  
  • It may reduce the risk of platelets sticking to each other (reducing chances of unnecessary blood clotting).  

Persimmon fruit is highly nutritious and packed with vitamins, polyphenols, and dietary fibre. Fermented versions of Persimmon fruit might be associated with helping in around 15% weight reduction and reduced liver and abdominal fat.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Persimmon (Amlok) Fruit for Overall Health 

Some of the potential uses of persimmon fruit are: 

1. Potential use of persimmon fruit for heart  

A study by Buelga et al. in 2000 showed that bioactive proanthocyanidins in persimmon fruit might help lower blood pressure. It may also reduce the risk of platelet aggregation and thereby reduce the occurrence of thrombosis. Thrombosis occurs when a blood clot blocks the arteries or veins. Persimmon can also enhance nitric oxide production in the body, which may further relax the blood vessels to improve blood flow. In these ways, persimmon may be beneficial to reduce the risk of heart diseases.2,4 However, more studies on humans are yet to be done to check the effect of persimmon fruit for heart conditions. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you have any symptoms of heart disease and not just rely on persimmons. 

2. Potential use of persimmon fruit for lowering cholesterol  

A study by Gorinstein et al. in 2000 on rats suggested that persimmon fruit may reduce bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides. This may be attributed to its antioxidants like lycopene and epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG).2,5 However, these are data from animal studies, and further studies on humans are yet to be done. Therefore, you must consult your doctor for abnormal cholesterol levels instead of self-medicating. 

3. Potential use of persimmon fruit for diabetes 

There are possible persimmon fruit benefits for management of diabetes. A study by Lee et al. In 2007 showed that proanthocyanidins in persimmon might inhibit the enzymes α-amylase and α-glucosidase.  These enzymes may metabolize carbohydrates into glucose which enters the bloodstream. This may delay glucose uptake in the blood, thereby reducing blood glucose levels. Additionally, persimmon fruit may inhibit the rapid absorption of glucose after eating carbohydrate-rich meals, which may inhibit the spike of blood sugar levels.2,6,7 However, more studies are required to check if persimmon fruit may be beneficial for management of diabetes. Therefore, you must check your blood glucose level regularly and consult your doctor in case of a high blood glucose level. 

4. Potential use of persimmon fruit for cancer 

A study by Jo et al. in 2011 showed that persimmon fruit might inhibit cancer cell growth. Bioactive compounds like carotenoids and catechins in persimmon fruit may be beneficial for breast, prostate, oral and blood cancer.2,8 However, more studies are required to confirm if persimmon fruit can help in cancer. Cancer is a dangerous disease; therefore, you must get proper treatment instead of self-medicating. 

5. Potential use of persimmon fruit for skin 

A study by Jeun An et al. in 2005 showed that persimmon leaf extract might be beneficial for various skin problems like skin eruptions, eczema (inflammation of the skin) and acne. This use may be due to bioactive compounds like flavonoids, catechins, β-carotenes, tannins, organic acids and vitamins B1, B2, C, and K.9 However, more studies are required to assess persimmon fruit benefits for skin. 

6. Potential use of persimmon fruit for bacterial infections 

A study by Matsumura et al. in 2017 showed that tannins present in persimmon might act against bacteria like those of the Mycobacterium species, which may cause lung infections. Additionally, it may reduce inflammation caused due to bacterial infections.10 However, further studies are required to check if persimmon fruit may be used in case of bacterial infections. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you suspect a bacterial infection. 

7. Potential use of persimmon fruit for eyes 

A study by Seddon et al. in 1994 showed that lutein, a bioactive compound in persimmon, may protect the macula part of the eye from damage. The macula is a yellow spot at the back of the retina in the eyes, which is responsible for the central vision. Lutein (a carotenoid) present in persimmon fruit is also found in the macula of the eye.2 However, further research is yet to be done to check if persimmon can be used to protect the macula from damage. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if your vision is hampered. 

Though studies show the benefits of persimmon fruit in various conditions, these are insufficient, and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of persimmon fruit on human health. 

According to my observations, an increase in free radicals can lead to oxidative stress that results in cell damage. As Persimmon fruit is packed with bioactive compounds such as proanthocyanidins, tannins, carotenoids, etc., it can act as an antioxidant and might aid in coping with cell damage.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Persimmon (Amlok) Fruit? 

Persimmons can be included in your diet in the following way: 

  • You can have raw persimmon. 
  • It can be used to prepare cider or vinegar. 
  • You can consume persimmon pulp. 

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking persimmon fruit in large quantities or any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor 

Side Effects of Persimmon Fruit 

A clinical trial has shown that persimmon fruit side effects may be as follows. However, additional large-scale studies are required to confirm the following side effects, as typically, this fruit is not known to produce any serious side effects: 

  • It may cause pruritis (itchy skin). 
  • It may cause urticaria (swelling, redness and itching on the skin). 
  • It may cause oedema (swelling due to excess fluid trapped). 
  • It may trigger asthma. 
  • It may make you feel dizzy. 
  • It may make you feel nauseous. 
  • It may cause rhinorrhea (runny nose). 
  • It may cause stomach ache.12 

You must consult your doctor if you experience any side effects after consuming persimmon fruit. 

Also Read: Cherry Tomatoes: Unveiling the Nutritional Benefits and Culinary Uses

Precautions to Take with Persimmon Fruit 

Adequate precautions should be taken before consuming persimmon fruit, like any other medicine. Pregnant women and lactating mothers should be extra cautious. Likewise, before giving persimmon fruit to the elderly or children, precautions should be taken. Therefore, it is suggested to consult a doctor before using persimmon fruit for these individuals in case of any medical conditions.   

Interactions with Other Drugs: 

There are not enough studies on the interaction of persimmon with other drugs. Further studies on the interaction of persimmon fruit are yet to be done. Therefore, you must consult your doctor if you are on any other medication before consuming persimmon fruits. 

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1) What are persimmon fruit benefits? 

There are several persimmon health benefits. It may protect the macula, improve heart health and lower cholesterol levels. It may also be used against bacterial infections and diseases like diabetes. In addition, persimmon fruit may benefit the skin. However, you must consult your doctor if you have any diseases instead of self-medicating.1,2,4-10 

2) What are the side effects of eating too many persimmons? 

Persimmon may cause pruritis (itchy skin), urticaria (swelling, redness and itching on the skin), oedema (swelling due to excess fluid trapped), trigger asthma, rhinorrhea, stomach and many more. It may cause nausea and make you feel dizzy.11 
You must consult your doctor if you experience any side effects after consuming persimmon fruit. 

3) What are the nutritional benefits of persimmon fruit? 

Persimmon fruits may contain several bioactive compounds like proanthocyanidins, catechins, carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, tannins and many more. Additionally, persimmon fruit may contain water, energy, carbohydrates, fats and proteins. It may contain minerals like phosphorous, sodium, calcium, iron, potassium and many more. It may contain vitamin C and many amino acids.1,3 

4) Persimmon (Amlok) fruit is good for diabetes? 

Oligomers and polymers present in bioactive compound proanthocyanidins in persimmon fruit might inhibit the activity of enzymes α-amylase and α-glucosidase that may delay glucose uptake and reduce the blood sugar levels. Additionally, persimmon fruit may inhibit the rapid absorption of glucose in the body after eating carbohydrate-rich meals.2,6,7 However, you must check your blood glucose level regularly and consult your doctor in case of a high blood glucose level. 

5) What are the benefits of persimmon fruit for blood pressure and avoid blood clots? 

Bioactive proanthocyanidins in persimmon fruit might help to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of platelet aggregation and thereby, reduce the occurrence of thrombosis (blood clot formation). Persimmon can also relax the blood vessels to improve blood flow by enhancing nitric oxide production.2,4 However, you must consult your doctor if you have any symptoms of heart disease.

References: 

  1. Butt MS, Sultan MT, Aziz M, Naz A, Ahmed W, Kumar N, Imran M. Persimmon (Diospyros kaki) fruit: hidden phytochemicals and health claims. EXCLI journal. 2015;14:542. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4817420/ 
  1. Redpath S, George AP. Health and medicinal benefits of persimmon fruit: A review. Health and Medicinal Benefits of Persimmon Fruit. 2008:1000-6. Available from: https://www.torrossa.com/gs/resourceProxy?an=2209326&publisher=FF3888 
  1. Persimmon, native, raw [Internet]. FoodData Central. [cited 2022 Oct11]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169943/nutrients 
  1. Santos‐Buelga C, Scalbert A. Proanthocyanidins and tannin‐like compounds–nature, occurrence, dietary intake and effects on nutrition and health. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 2000 May 15;80(7):1094-117. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/(SICI)1097-0010(20000515)80:7%3C1094::AID-JSFA569%3E3.0.CO;2-1 
  1. Gorinstein S, Kulasek GW, Bartnikowska E, Leontowicz M, Zemser M, Morawiec M, Trakhtenberg S. The effects of diets, supplemented with either whole persimmon or phenol-free persimmon, on rats fed cholesterol. Food Chemistry. 2000 Aug 15;70(3):303-8. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814600000728 
  1. Lee YA, Cho EJ, Tanaka T, Yokozawa T. Inhibitory activities of proanthocyanidins from persimmon against oxidative stress and digestive enzymes related to diabetes. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology. 2007;53(3):287-92. Available from: https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/jnsv/53/3/53_3_287/_article/-char/ja/ 
  1. Alqahtani AS, Hidayathulla S, Rehman MT, ElGamal AA, Al-Massarani S, Razmovski-Naumovski V, Alqahtani MS, El Dib RA, AlAjmi MF. Alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase enzyme inhibition and antioxidant potential of 3-oxolupenal and katononic acid isolated from Nuxia oppositifolia. Biomolecules. 2019 Dec 30;10(1):61. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/606736 
  1. Kyung-Jin J, Jeung-Min L, Seung-Cheol L, Hae-Ryong P. Anticancer activity of persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.) calyx extracts on human cancer cells. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research. 2011 Jun 18;5(12):2546-50. Available from: https://academicjournals.org/journal/JMPR/article-full-text-pdf/EBE355323544 
  1. An BJ, Kwak JH, Park JM, Lee JY, Park TS, Lee JT, Son JH, Jo C, Byun MW. Inhibition of enzyme activities and the antiwrinkle effect of polyphenol isolated from the persimmon leaf (Diospyros kaki folium) on human skin. Dermatologic Surgery. 2005 Jul;31:848-55. Available from: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1524-4725.2005.31730 
  1. Matsumura Y, Kitabatake M, Ouji-Sageshima N, Yasui S, Mochida N, Nakano R, Kasahara K, Tomoda K, Yano H, Kayano SI, Ito T. Persimmon-derived tannin has bacteriostatic and anti-inflammatory activity in a murine model of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) disease. PLoS One. 2017 Aug 21;12(8):e0183489. Available from: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0183489 
  1. Sharma A, Dhiman AK, Attri S, Ramachandran P. Studies on preparation and preservation of persimmon (Diospyros kaki L.) pulp. Journal of Food Processing and Preservation. 2021 Apr;45(4):e15274. Available from: https://ifst.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jfpp.15274 
  1. Anliker MD, Reindl J, Vieths S, Wüthrich B. Allergy caused by ingestion of persimmon (Diospyros kaki): detection of specific IgE and cross-reactivity to profilin and carbohydrate determinants. Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2001 Apr 1;107(4):718-23. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0091674901228826 

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