The African star apple (chrysophyllum albidum) is an indigenous fruit found in  Nigeria and Ghana. It is an unusual fruit that has been proven to have several health benefits.

The African star apple is known as Alasa, Alasma mba or Adasa mma in Ghana.

According to a study by Dr. Christopher Larbi and his research team from the College of Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Alasa has medicinal benefits because it contains many vitamins.

Dr. Christopher Larbi and his team say that the bright orange coloured fruit is sweet or sour depending on the size and intensity of its colour. It is edible except the seeds. Dr. Larbi says that the African Star fruit is rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C, and has low-fat content.

The benefits of vitamin C include protection against cardiovascular diseases, prenatal health problems, immune system deficiencies, eye disease and wrinkling of the skin.

He said vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which protects cells against the effects of free radicals.

Free radicals, he explained, as unstable molecules that can cause harm if their levels become too high in the body. They are associated with multiple illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

The research suggests that consuming 100g of the African Star Apple offers 14.65g of carbohydrates, 9.1mg of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 0.049 mg of vitamin B1, 0.038mg of vitamin B2, 1.1137mg of vitamin B3 (Niacin), 0.49mg of iron 1,92g of total dietary fibre (1.52g of protein), 18.85mg phosphorus, crude fibre (4%) Lipids 3% and calcium(17.11ppm).

Dr. Christopher Larbi, Senior Lecturer, Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, KNUST

On health or medicinal benefits, Alasa contains alkaloids, tannins, saponins, flavonoids and terpenoids. These are proven to have numerous medicinal properties. It is a natural remedy for toothache, constipation, sore throat, mouth/gum disease and much more.

According to the study, the entire fruit is good herbal medicine for treating various health issues.

The cooking of the leaves or bark of the African star apple tree can be used in treating diarrhoea and dysentery.

Herbal practitioners use the bark of the tree to treat yellow fever and malaria. The leaves are also helpful in treating wounds, skin rash, stomach pain and diarrhoea. The seeds are used in preparing ointments for treating skin infections. It has hypertensive, anti-cancerous, anti-diabetic, and weight reduction properties. It is used to treat several ailments, which makes it important to human health and could be taken as supplements.

If you want to lose weight, it can be beneficial as one serving of the fruit contains 67 calories, which makes it a good choice for people with weight issues as they get fewer calories consuming it.

For pregnant women, it is suitable in managing morning sickness, as the acidic taste of the African star apple prevents the urge to vomit when experiencing morning sickness. In addition, it is also a remedy for lowered blood sugar.

The study concludes that, African star apple is packed with a whole lot of nutrients that are beneficial to humans. However, it is a seasonal fruit. Therefore, there is the need to cultivate more of them and process to make them available all the time.

The researchers’ focus is to develop the fruit into an easy-to-use drink and further assess the liver and kidney protective effects of the fruit extract.