Kafal – Wild Edible of Uttarakhand
The common name is Bayberry and belongs to family Myricaceae. A native plant to the hills of Uttarakhand and Nepal and also described in the folk lore of Uttarakhand and Nepal. Kafal is a sub-temperate evergreen tree found throughout the mid-Himalayas, starting from about 1,300 metres and going up to about 2,100 metres. The tree yields a drupaceous fruit which is one of the tastiest wild fruits of the sub-Himalayan region. This fruit tree carries a lot of commercial importance and every year its fruits worth thousands of rupees are sold in different towns of hills. These fruits are very much liked by all. It has a very pleasant sweet and sour taste, but like most other small fruits, it does not keep for very long and its shelf life is just two days. The flowering season starts from the first fortnight of February and continues till the second fortnight of April but the peak flowering season was observed to occur during the first fortnight of March. Similarly the fruiting season started from the first week of May and continued till the last week of this month.
Kafal is an important medicinal tree, which is safely and effectively used to treat various disorders in Ayurvedic system of medicines since ancient times. Kafal had a good nutritional value so it could be used in a specific quantity for human beings nutrition and adequate protection could be obtained against diseases arising from malnutrition. The fruit also contains many minerals such as Sodium, Potassium, Calcium, Manganese, Copper, Iron and Zinc. Bayberry is the best remedy for coughs, colds and flu, it reduces fever. It is best remedy to clean teeth, mouth and removes the offensive breath. It treats diarrhea, dysentery, bowel inflammation, sore throats and sores in the mouth.