I had my first taste of the small cherry-like, red Aratilis fruit in grade 4. We were new in Project 8, Quezon City and I was making new friends with the kids in the neighborhood. One of them, Efren, had a big Aratilis tree in front of their house where big humming bees frequented, sucking the nectar of Aratilis flower. It was my first time to see bees and the Aratilis fruit.
The soft red ripe fruit is the size of a small marble and oozed with sweet syrupy sap. We discovered that it was more delicious eaten after being cooled in the fridge or after being soaked in ice. I wonder why no one juiced it or made it into ice cream. Anyway, when I spent vacation in La Loma, Quezon City, I saw more Aratilis trees inside the cemetery where the fruit seemed more glowing red than anywhere.
Later, an Aratilis tree grew up in our backyard. It's like a weed that easily thrives anywhere. Birds love eating the fruit which has some soft tiny seeds in them, and that makes the tree grow up almost everywhere. Thus, I was enjoying plenty of ripe Aratilis fruits in no time--and bees also began lurking in our backyard.
And do you know what health benefits Aratilis carried?
1. Fights bacteria. It has anti-bacterial properties that can be compared to standard antibiotics, according to one study. It also seems to have a stronger polar antibacterial compound.
2. It has flavonone contents.
3. It has anti-inflammatory properties.
4. It has cytotoxic flavonoids for anti-cancer properties, including the leaves and stems.
5. The leaf extract has heart protective properties.
6. The fruit has antioxidants, like flavonoids.
In addition, the Aratilis tree bark can be made into a rope and the trunk provides durable lumber. It's definitely among herbs and plants in the Philippine and Asia that give lots of benefits.
I believe Aratilis has more health benefits than what's already known about it. I specifically refer to the deep red or purple color of the fruit's skin, which probably is rich in powerful antioxidants, even anthocyanin. And why don't they explore the possibilities of making healthy drinks out of Aritilis, even health supplements and dessert recipes?