Monkey Jack Fruit (Lakucha) – Uses, Remedies, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Monkey Jack fruit (Artocarpus lakoocha) is known for its nutritional and medicinal benefits. Today lets know its health benefits and how it can also be a cause for health hazards as per explained in our ancient Ayurvedic textbooks. It is known by the name Lakucha in Sanskrit.

Introduction

This multipurpose Lakucha plant extend its application widely from culinary purposes, medicinal, animal feed to firewood.

Botanical Name – Artocarpus lacucha
Synonyms – Artocarpus ficifolius, Artocarpus yunnanensis, Saccus lakoocha
Family – Moraceae

Names in different Languages


English Name – Monkey jackfruit
Hindi Name – Badhal, Barhar, Lakuch, Lakoochi, Lakoocha, Badahara, Barhal, Dahu, Dahua
Marathi Name – Badhar, Kshudraphanas, Phala
Tamil Name – Ilagusam, Irappala, Solaippakku, Tinippalavu
Malayalam Name – Chimpa, Lakucham, Pulinjakka
Kannada Name – Esuluhuli, Lakucha, Otehuli, Vatehuli
Manipuri Name – Heirikokthong
Bengali Name – Dephal, Dahu
Oriya Name – Lakoocha
Urdu Name – Theitat
Assamese Name – Bohot
Nepali Name – Badhar

Medicinal values of raw Lakoocha Fruit


Taste – Sweet (madhura), Sour (amla)
Virya (potency) – hot potency (ushna)
Qualities
Guru – heavy for digestion
Vishtambakaraka – causes constipation
Raktha krth – causes blood related diseases
Shukranasha – spermicidal
Agninasha – diminishes digestive fire
Netrayorahitam – not good for eyes
Effect on tridoshas – increases all three doshas

According to Bhojana Kutuhalam, lakucha is also called as kshudrapanasa, lakuja and dahu. The unripe lakucha is hot in potency, heavy to digest and is constipating. It is sweet and sour in taste and causes vitiation of all the three doshas and blood, It destroys the semen and digestive fire and is not good for eyes. The ripe fruit is sweet and sour in taste and vitiates vata, pitta and kapha, stimulates digestive fire, imparts taste, acts as a aphrodisiac and causes constipation.

Ripe Lakucha fruit


Taste – Sweet, sour
Effect on Tridosha – Balances vata and pitta doshas
Increases kapha dosha.
Qualities
Increases digestive strength (jataragni)
Ruchya – improves taste
Vrshya – aphrodisiac
Vistambha – causes constipation

Master Charaka have mentioned lakucha fruit as one among the heart strengthening herbs (hrdya)

Morphology of Lakoocha


Artocarpus lacucha is a deciduous tree growing up to 10-15 meter in height. Leaves are 12 – 30 cm long, alternate, lanceolate. Branches are covered with stiff yellowish velvety hairs. Fruits are subglobose, 6 – 12 cm long, 5-10 cm wide, velvety. Fruits are green when unripe. Ripe fruits are yellowish tinged with pink.
Fresh fruit pulp is sweet sour in taste. It is either eaten fresh or made into curries.

Traditional Remedies of Monkey Jack Plant (lakooch)

  • Taking fresh fruit pulp acts as Liver tonic.
  • Seeds and milky latex used as purgative.
  • Bark powder is used to heal wound.
  • Infusion of bark is used to wash wounds and ulcers.
  • Heartwood extract powder is used as effective skin whitening agent.
  • Dried aqueous extract of lakoocha has been used as remedy for tape worm infestation.
  • The juice of saireyaka leaves and lakucha mixed with oils is applied locally for eradicating skin diseases (kusta) Vrudha madhava, 11/38

Side effects

How Lakucha fruit can cause Health hazards?

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Usage of Lakuca fruit in Rasashastra
Lackoocha juice is mainly used as Bhavana dravya in the process of purification of metal (shodana).

  • Lakoocha Juice is used in marana and satwapatana procedure of vimala.(read more)
  • In shodhana procedure of Hingula, it is triturated with juice of lakucha for seven times.(read here)

Nutritional Value of Monkey Jack fruit
It contains vitamin C, beta-carotene and minerals those act as antioxidant such as zinc, copper, manganese and iron.

Culinary Uses of Monkey Jack
Ripe fruits are eaten fresh. Different parts of fruit and spike of male flower are used to prepare pickles and delicious sauce.

Monkey jack a Valuable Fodder Tree
Due to its high nutritional value it is considered as valuable fodder tree.
Leaves contain about 16% crude protein.
Different parts of tree like fruits and flowers are eaten raw, boiled or steamed and used. It is given for lactating animals to produce milk. (read more)

Research, pharmacology

Pharmacological Activity
Lakucha possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anticancer and anti-HIV properties, anti-aging activity, antioxidant and anti-glycation properties

Research
Hepato-protective Activity – A study conducted to evaluate Hepato-protective activity and chemical constituents of Artocarpus lakoocha fruit extract have concluded potential hepatoprotective activity of A. lakoocha fruit extract.
Anti microbial Activity – A study conducted to evaluate the antimicrobial and antibiofilm activity of A. lakoocha extract against oral pathogens by an in vitro method have concluded that the extract possesses significant antimicrobial properties that may be used for oral infectious diseases caused by certain oral pathogens associated with dental caries and periodontal diseases.
Anti-aging Activity – A research study concluded that phytooxyresveratrol (POV) extracted from Artocarpus lakoocha have significant anti-aging activity at a concentration of 25 µg/ml.
Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research February 2012; 11 (1): 69-74

Chemical Constituents
The fruit extract of Artocarpus lakoocha contains flavonoids, tannins, terpenoids, saponins, glycosides, alkaloids and steroids.

Sanskrit synonyms
Lakucha, Kshudrapanasa
Likucha, Dahu
Grantiphala

Ayurvedic medicine with Lakucha Ingredient
Vishatinduka Taila – It is an Ayurvedic herbal oil used externally in the treatment of Vata imbalance, Gout, numbness, skin diseases with discolouration.

Distribution, category, classification

Distribution
Artocarpus lakoocha is found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore.

Classical Categorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Amraadiphala Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga
Raja Nighantu – Prabhadradi Varga
Shodala Nighantu – Amradi Varga
Sushrutha Samhitha – Phalavarga

Scientific Classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Order: Rosales
Family: Moraceae
Genus: Artocarpus
Species: A. lacucha
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