Let's get acquainted with the Wild Almond tree (Kottakka Maram) which is already on the verge of extinction but is a cure for rheumatism and piles

"The Wild Almond tree, better known as 'Kottakka Maram' or 'Peenari Maram' in local parlance, is a commonly seen tree on the fields and grounds in villages. When no one actually cared about these trees, back in our childhood we used to eat the seeds after frying. Its seeds look similar to common almonds. When the picture of the tree was posted in Facebook, many readers approached me for the seeds. The chemicals generated from these seeds can destroy wrigglers (early form of mosquitoes)," says Surendran Master introducing the nearly extinct tree.

Surendran Master, a retired Head Master of Parakandy Mappila School in Kaviyoor of Kannur district, presently has this tree on his premises and is ready to supply seeds if anyone is interested. He lives nearby the Purameri Vettakkorumakan temple.

kottaka maram"Sterculia foetida is the scientific name for the tree and in different places it is known by different names including,  `Potta-kavalam','Aanathondimaram', 'Kavalam', 'Kithondi', 'Narukorumban', etc.

It belongs to the Malvaceae family and has a height of about 20 meters. It is usually found in the Western Ghats. The leaves of the Wild Almond trees are either round or heart shaped, says Surendran Master.

Beautiful flowers and colorful fruits form the major attracting elements of the tree. Of the flowers, the inside section of the petals are nearly purple coloured and outer section is yellow. The fruits are soft and have a velvety appearance. They grow immensely in places located 900 meters above sea level.

The wood is used in manufacturing packing crates and toys. While the tree's skin is used in developing a kind of fibre and also a glue named 'Kadirakam', which according to Surendran Master, is the best medicine for throat pain and related ailments.

kottaka maram“We are moving to a phase where the next generation have almost become strangers to nature and its precious belongings. There is a plant named Rhinacanthus nisuta kurz, better known as 'Oru Kal Mudanthi'. It grows widely on the sidewalks of roads and is mostly considered worthless. But it is the best cure for rheumatism and piles till date. Similarly, another plant Indian Acalypha widely known as 'Poocha Mayakki', is used as a remedy for skin infections, asthma and other inflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, today's generation is unaware of these plants or their therapeutic benefits,” Surendran Master said.

While speaking about these plants, Surendran Master also reminds us about the importance of preserving them.

Surendran Master used to grow vegetables on his premises but currently has stopped getting on the ground due to his leg ailments. Still he grows Clove Beans (Nithya Vazhuthana), Brinjal (Vazhuthana) and Green Chilly (Pacha Mulaku) which are used daily in homes.

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