Carissa carandas is a species of flowering shrub in the family Apocynaceae. It produces berry-sized fruits that are commonly used as a condiment in Indian pickles and spices. It is a hardy, drought-tolerant plant that thrives well in a wide range of soils. Common names in English include Bengal currant, Christ's thorn, carandas plum and karanda.
Normally it flourishes well in regions with high temperatures. Thus, it is found in abundance in Western Ghats of Konkan region in the western coastal states of Maharashtra and Goa. Nevertheless, it grows naturally even in the temperate conditions of Siwalik Hills of Himalayas in India and Nepal at elevations of 30 to 1,800 metres (98 to 5,906 ft). In rest of India, it is grown on a limited scale in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh. It grows naturally in most South Asian countries like in the lowland rain forests of Sri Lanka and in other countries like Nepal, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh.
The plant is grown from seed sown in August and September. Vegetative propagation also is practiced in the form of budding and inarching. Cuttings may also succeed. The first monsoon shower is planting time. Plants raised from seed start bearing two years after planting. Flowering starts in March and in Northern India the fruit ripens from July to September.
Isolation of many terpenoids has been reported. In particular mixture of sesquiterpenes namely carissone  and carindone as a novel type of C31 terpenoid have been reported. Other products include pentacyclic triterpenoid carissin.
Medicine and food
Its fruit is used in the ancient Indian herbal system of medicine, Ayurvedic, to treat acidity, indigestion, fresh and infected wounds, skin diseases, urinary disorders and diabetic ulcer, as well as biliousness, stomach pain, constipation, anemia, skin conditions, anorexia and insanity. Leaf decoction is used to treat fever, diarrhea, and earache. The roots serve as a stomachic, an anthelmintic medicine for itches and also as insect repellents.
It was used in the Great Hedge of India (1803-1879 CE) because it is easy to grow, drought resistant, is a sturdy shrub that grows in a variety of soils, and also ideal for hedges as it grows rapidly, densely and needs little attention.
The roots of the plant are heavily branched, making it valuable for stabilizing eroding slopes.
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- Benefits of Carvanda, Fruitsinfo.com.
- Summer brings astringently delicious karonda, a fruit that's ripe for pickling, Economic Times, June 2012.
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