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Bhimseni Camphor-Edible (भीमसेनी क़पुर)
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Camphor is obtained from the bark of the tree Cinnamonun camphora. Only 50-year old trees produce a waxy substance which is used as camphor oil. The process of steam distillation is used to extract camphor oil from the stems of the tree. The camphor tree is said to be a native of Hiroshima, Japan. It is evergreen and now grows all over Asia, primarily in Indonesia. The Indonesian variety is named Dryobalanops camphora.
Any edible camphor which is derived from trees/plants/weeds is called Pacha Kapoor.
Edible camphor is used to enhance the taste and flavour of various sweets and desserts, especially in South India. It is not only used for flavouring a dish but is also known for its medicinal properties.
The use of edible camphor helps to cure digestive problems, inflammation, colds and cough, improves blood circulation, stimulates hormones, and may also relieve you from spasms.
Culinary Uses Of Edible Camphor
- Camphor is used to flavour desserts, especially during the festival of Pongal or Sankranti, also known as Suggi Habba. People prepare Chakkara Pongal, or sweet Pongal, which is cooked with rice and yellow lentils sweetened with jaggery. One of the ingredients added to the dish is edible camphor, or pacha karpuram, which lends a unique flavour to this dish.
- People add a dash of camphor in sweet rice with milk, bay leaves and black pepper and offer as bhog to deities.
- A pinch of edible camphor may also help you to get a sound sleep. Add some of it in warm milk and ensure a good night’s sleep.
- Boil a dash of edible camphor and ajwain seeds in half a cup of water. Allow it to reduce to half of the original quantity. Filter the water before drinking it regularly. This concoction will treat various digestive problems.
- Edible camphor is used as one of the ingredients in the preparation of a paan with other ingredients like fennel seeds, katha, and cardamom.