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Star Fruit (Kamrakh): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction:  

Star fruit is scientifically known as Averrhoa carambola. It belongs to the family Oxalidaceae. It has many different species, namely, A. dolichocarpa, A.microphylla, A.leucopetala, A.bilimbi and A. carambola. However, A. carambola is most cultivated and exported species native to southeast Asia.1 Star fruits are juicy, crunchy and a mixture of slightly sweet and sour tastes. They are usually green when small and unripe and turn yellow when ripen. The name ‘star fruit’ was coined because of the longitudinally stretched ridges of oval-shaped carambola fruit that give the appearance of a star when cut cross-sectionally.24 

star fruit benefits

Star fruit contains various nutrients such as vitamins (B1, B2 and C), minerals, and bioactive compounds. It is a good source of fibre and contains cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. Star fruit may help with various diseases related to the brain, heart and stomach.1,3 

Star fruit contains various nutrients such as vitamins (B1, B2 and C), minerals, and bioactive compounds. It is a good source of fibre and contains cellulose, hemicellulose and pectin. Star fruit helps manage various diseases related to the brain, heart and stomach.1,3 

Nutritional Value of Star Fruit: 

Star fruit has a very high amount of nutrients. 

Nutritional components Value per 100 grams 
Water 92.6 g 
Energy 35.7 kcal 
Protein 0.38 g 
Fat 0.8 g 
Carbohydrate 9.38 g 
Fibre (total dietary) 0.8 g 
Table 1: Nutritional value of star fruit per 100 grams4 

Components Value per 100 grams 
Calcium 3 mg 
Iron 0.32-0.45 mg 
Potassium 167-168 mg 
Sodium 3.8 mg 
Magnesium 11.85-12.05 mg 
Vitamin C 25.8 mg 
Oxalic acid 9.6 mg 
Table 2: Minerals and vitamins found in star fruit per 100 grams1 

Also Read: Peaches: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Properties of Star Fruit: 

The potential properties of star fruit are given as follows: 

  • It may be an anti-diabetic (reduces the level of glucose in the blood)1  
  • It might act as an anti-hyperlipidaemic (lowers plasma cholesterol levels)2,3  
  • It may be act be a potential anti-inflammatory agent1,2  
  • It may be an anti-microbial (reduces the growth of micro-organisms)1  
  • It might help as anti-cancer agent (prevents the growth of cancer cells)1,3  
  • It may be an anti-oxidant1  
  • It might help with blood pressure-lowering3  
  • It may be have an anti-ulcer (decreases the formation of ulcers) potential1  
  • It may help with Immunity boosting4  
  • It may be a diuretic (promotes urine formation)5  
  • It may be an anti-diarrhoeal (helps to manage diarrhoea).5  

The scientific name of ‘Star fruit’ is Averrhoa carambola. The word carambola is a derivation of the Sanskrit word karmaranga which means “food appetizer”. Also, in Malayalam, it is known as a carambola.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Also Read: Cherries: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Potential Uses of Star Fruit:  

The potential of star fruit for various health-related issues might be described as follows. 

1. Potential uses of star fruit for diabetes  

Star fruit contains insoluble fibre that may help decrease the absorption of carbohydrates in the body. The crude extract of star fruit might also significantly lower blood glucose levels and triglycerides levels and increases insulin levels in the blood. These findings indicate that it may help in the potential management for diabetes.3 

2. Potential uses of star fruit as an antioxidant  

The leaves of star fruit are rich in vitamin C and bioactive compounds like phenols and flavonoids, which are abundant sources of natural anti-oxidants3. These anti-oxidants might help in scavenging free radicles such as peroxides and hyperoxides and may remove inflammation-causing toxins from the body.1 

3. Potential uses of star fruit for lowering cholesterol  

A study found that star fruit decreases lipid levels, significantly lowers cholesterol levels by reducing body mass index, atherogenic index (reflects the value of triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein) and liver cholesterol in animal models, preventing the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It may help with cholesterol levels owing to its high fibre and low-fat content.2,3 

4. Potential uses of star fruit for inflammation  

Star fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and minerals that may help reduce swelling of joints, dermatitis (skin inflammation) and psoriasis (rash and formation of dry patches on the skin).5 Due to its potential anti-inflammatory properties, star fruit may also help with sore throat and cough and has been used in ancient times.1 

5. Potential uses of star fruit for the heart  

Star fruit (Kamrakh) has a good amount of electrolytes such as sodium and potassium that may help to regulate blood pressure and might help with heartbeat and blood flow. Calcium present in star fruit may also help with the tension in arteries and might lower the risk of developing heart diseases such as heart attack and stroke.3 

6. Potential uses of star fruit for ulcers  

The extract from the leaves of star fruit might help with stomach discomfort and the formation of ulcers. It also contains bioactive compounds and mucilage that may provide a lining to digestive mucosa, helping with the damage caused by gastritis.1 

7. Potential uses of star fruit in infections  

The leaf, fruit and bark of star fruit have been found to have a potential to inhibit the growth of various bacteria and fungi, exhibiting anti-microbial activity. The leaf extracts of star fruit might have a potential to inhibit the growth of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria such as S. aureus, Klebsiella spp., E. coli, P. aeruginosa and B. cereus.1,3 

8. Potential uses of star fruit as an immunity booster  

Star fruit contains vitamin C, which might not only help in scavenging free radicals, but also may produce a high level of white blood cells and might help build a strong immune system.3 

9. Potential uses of star fruit in cancer  

Consumption of star fruit might be beneficial in lowering the risk of developing cancer. Polyphenols like proanthocyanin, gallic acid and vitamin C are present in star fruit and may act as strong antioxidants. These antioxidants may scavenge peroxides and hyperoxides, assist the immune system and help with the toxins of the body, which may potentially be helpful for cancer. Star fruit extract might have a potential effect against tumour cells and might decrease tumour yield and tumour burden and increase healthy cell viability, survival time and levels of haemoglobin, red blood cell (RBC) and white blood cell (WBC).1,,3  

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

In India, people mix the roots of star fruits with sugar to make an antidote for poisoning. Moreover, ripe star fruit may help in reducing bleeding in patients with haemorrhages. Dried star fruit might help bring down fevers.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Also Read: Water Apple: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects, And More!

How to Use Star Fruit? 

Star fruit can be used in the following ways:  

  • The entire star fruit is edible. It can be enjoyed in the form of juices, relishes, and preserves.3 
  • Star fruit can be eaten as jams, and in salads and used in the preparation of pickles.3 
  • The extract from the leaves of star fruit may be used as an anti-microbial and in managing eczema (inflammation of the skin), as per the prescription of an Ayurvedic physician based on your consultation with them.5 
  • Due to its ability to oxidise iron, star fruit is also used to clean and remove rust from utensils.1 

You should always consult your Ayurvedic physician before consuming star fruit in large quantities or for therapeutic benefits. They will be the best person to prescribe you the correct form and dosage as per your health condition. 

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

Did you know starfruit has a use in production of alcohol? It can be fermented and used as raw material to make alcohol. It can be done with the help of yeast like Saccharomyces cerevisiae by producing ethanol and carbon dioxide.

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Side Effects of Star Fruit (Kamrakh): 

Star fruit contains essential bioactive components oxalic acid and caramboxin, which are harmful to patients suffering from kidney diseases. Excessive consumption of star fruit can result in vomiting, hiccups (involuntary contractions of the diaphragm), mental confusion and death. It is recommended that individuals with kidney stones, kidney failure or undergoing management of dialysis should not consume star fruit. Excess consumption of star fruit could result in neurotoxicity leading to fits.3,6 

Precautions to Take with Star Fruit: 

Star fruit is generally considered to be safe if it is taken in the moderate amounts. However, general precautions have to be followed while consuming star fruit. Excessive intake of star fruit might cause acute kidney damage, especially if taken on an empty stomach or in dehydration. Therefore, it is not advised for elderly patients or individuals on an empty stomach to have star fruit.3 If any health-related issue appears, consult your Ayurvedic physician. 

Depending on how ripe they are, starfruits have different flavours. Unripe fruit tends to be firmer and tarter, making it suited for savoury meals. It is best for desserts and other sweet meals as it ripens since it gets sweeter and juicier.

Dr. Anuja Bodhare, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Interactions With Other Drugs: 

Consumption of star fruit in any form with medications undergoing cytochrome P450-mediated metabolism may lead to an increase in their effective dosage within the body.7 Since star fruits have several documented nutritional and therapeutic advantages, but they are harmful to people with kidney issues due to the presence of bioactive compounds in the fruit. Individuals undergoing kidney treatment should avoid the consumption of star fruit.1,3,5   Kindly, consult a qualified doctor and ask them if it is safe for you to eat star fruit. Please do not self-medicate or discontinue any ongoing treatment. Your doctor is the only one authorised to make changes to your treatment if and when necessary. The choice of treatment or adjustments to it are at the discretion of your doctor basis your consultation with them.  

Also Read: Mangosteen: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

Frequently Asked Questions: 

Is star fruit safe during pregnancy?  

Owing to its high nutritional value1 and its ability to increase haemoglobin level3, it may help with the growth and development of the baby. However, due to the lack of sufficient safety data and the property of star fruit causing nephrotoxicity and neurotoxicity3,6, it is advised to consult your Ayurvedic physician before consuming it during pregnancy. 

What are the health benefits of star fruit?  

Star fruit contains many nutritional components that might help with your health. It might help to regulate blood pressure and blood glucose level, may improve metabolism and digestion, might enhance immunity and might help with inflammation.1,6 However, there is a need for more studies to be sure and regard its use for health related issues. 

Is star fruit good for diabetes? 

Yes. A few studies have shown that star fruit contains a high amount of insoluble fibres, which allow slow absorption of carbohydrates. This might help with blood glucose levels in persons with diabetes.1 However, there is insufficient data. Therefore, there is a need for more studies on this subject. 

How to use star fruit?

Star fruit can be eaten as a whole fruit, ripe or unripe. The unripe fruit is eaten as a snack with rock salt, while the ripe fruit can consume as jams, jellies and juices. The extract of the leaf of star fruit might be prescribed by your Ayurvedic physician as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent.1 However, more studies are required for its use. 

Can star fruit be consumed by patients suffering from kidney diseases? 

No. Individuals suffering from kidney diseases are not advised to consume star fruits. Eating star fruit in such conditions can lead to acute kidney damage, seizures and even death.3 Kindly consult your physician for using star fruit. Do not self-medicate or discontinue an ongoing treatment on your own. 

Are there any side effects of star fruit?  

Star fruit is usually safe to consume unless the person is suffering from kidney diseases or on medication metabolised by cytochrome P450.3,7 However, there is a need for more studies on this subject as the available data is insufficient. Therefore, you should consult a doctor before using star fruit.

References: 

  1. Muthu N, Lee SY, Phua KK, Bhore SJ. Nutritional, Medicinal and Toxicological Attributes of Star-Fruits (Averrhoa carambola L.): A Review. Bioinformation. 2016 Dec 22;12(12):420-4. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5357571/ 
  1. Cabrini DA, Moresco HH, Imazu P, da Silva CD, Pietrovski EF, Mendes DAGB, et al. Analysis of the Potential Topical Anti-inflammatory Activity of Averrhoa carambola L. in Mice. Evid-based Complement Altern Med. 2011 May 2;2011. Available from: https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2011/908059/ 
  1. Luan F, Peng L, Lei Z, Jia X, Zou J, Yang Y, et al. Traditional Uses, Phytochemical Constituents and Pharmacological Properties of Averrhoa carambola L.: A Review. Front Pharmacol. 2021 Aug 12:699899. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.699899/full 
  1. Aye TK, Khaing MM, Zaw TE. A Study on Preliminary Phytochemical Investigation and Nutritional Values of Averrhoa carambola L. Myanmar Korea Conf Res J. 2019 Aug 1; Yangon, Myanmar. Available from: https://www.dagonuniversity.edu.mm/a-study-on-preliminary-phytochemical-investigation-and-nutritional-values-of-averrhoa-carambola-l/ 
  1. Moresco HH, Queiroz GS, Pizzolatti MG, Brighente IMC. Chemical constituents and evaluation of the toxic and antioxidant activities of Averrhoa carambola leaves. Rev Bras Farmacog. 2012 Apr 1;22(2):319-24. Available from: https://pesquisa.bvsalud.org/portal/resource/pt/lil-624664 
  1. Lakmal K, Yasawardene P, Jayarajah U, Seneviratne SL. Nutritional and medicinal properties of Star fruit (Averrhoa carambola): A review. Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Jan 23;9(3):1810-23. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33747490/ 
  1. Lindstrom TD. Abstracts: Metabolism and metabolic enzymes studies for the 8th National Congress on Drug and Xenobiotic Metabolism in China. Asia J Pharmacodyn Pharmacokin. 2006 July 31;6(3):248-61. Available from: https://web.archive.org/web/20070928013636/http://www.hktmc.com/ChineseMedia/Magazine/Medicine/ajdmpk/AJDMPK-2006-3/asian6-3(248-261)(DM).doc 

Also Reach: Yellow Dragon Fruit: Everything You Need to Know About its Health Benefits

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