Jackfruit – nutrition, proven benefits and uses

The scientific name of the Jackfruit is Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. Other names include

ASSAMESE: Konthal, Konto phol, Kontok phol, Kontoki.
BENGALI: Kathal.
CHINESE: Shu bo luo, Niu du zi guo, Bo luo mi, Mu bo luo.
DANISH: Jackfrugttrae.
DUTCH: Nangka.
FRENCH: Jacquier.
GERMAN: Indischer Brotfruchtbaum, Jackfrucht, Jackfruchtbaum.
GUJARATI: Phannasa.
HINDI: Cakki, Katahal, Kathal, Kanthal.
ITALIAN: Falso albero del pane.
JAPANESE: Nagami pannoki, Paramitsu.
KANNADA: Halasina hannu, Halasu, Panasero.
KHMER: Khnor.
KOREAN: Baramil
LAOTIAN: Mai mi, Mak mi, Mi.
MALAY: Nangka (Indonesia, Bali), Nangka bubor, Keledang (Timor).
MARATHI: Phanas.
NEPALESE: Rukh kutaherr.
ORIYA: Panasa.
PERSIAN: Derakhte nan.
SANSKRIT: Panasah, Panasam.
SPANISH: Arbol del pan, Fruta del pobre, Jaca, Jaka, Jaqueiro.
SWAHILI: Fenesi.
SWEDISH: Jacktrad.
TAMIL: Palaa, Palavu.
THAI: Khanun, Makmee, Maak laang.

Jackfruit is a smooth tree reaching a height of 8 to 15 meters. Leaves are alternate, leathery, elliptic-oblong to obovate, entire or sometimes 3-lobed, 7 to 15 centimeters long, the apex and base both pointed. Female heads are embraced by spathaceous, deciduous, stipular sheaths, 5 to 8 centimeters long. Sepals are two. Spike is 5 to 15 centimeters long. Fruit is green to greenish-yellow when ripe, fleshy, hanging on short stalks from the main stem or from large branches in old trees, oblong with pyramidal projections, 25 to 60 centimeters long. Seeds are numerous, oblong, 2.5 to 4 centimeters long. The testa is thin, coriaceous, surrounded by an edible luscious pulp.


· Jackfruit contains morin and a crystalline constituent, cyanomaclurin.

· Cyanomaclurin reported to contain a phoroglucinol group and is probably isomeric with catechins.

· Phytochemical screening yielded alkaloids, tannins, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and saponins.

· Chemical analysis yields moisture 28.50%, sugars (saccharose, fructose, glucose) 5.48%, fixed oil 6.64%, essential oil 0.15%, other extracts 22.39%, protein 18.85%, cellulose 14.47%, inorganic matter 3.52%.

· Pulp (lamukot) of the fruit contains vitamin C.

· Good source of provitamin A carotenoids.

· Of the components of essential oil, piperonal is noted.

· Study yielded a new flavonone, a new prenylflavone, a novel phenolic compound, heterophylol and nine known flavonoids.

· Study of seeds showed a high carbohydrate content; oil content was 11.39%. Elemental analysis yielded high potassium content of 2470.00 ppm, followed by sodium, magnesium and calcium.

· Evaluation of ethyl acetate extract of leaves yielded ursolic content of 376.5 mg/g. Elemental analysis yielded calcium 39.4%, potassium 29.6%, magnesium 2.06^, iron 0.99%, sulphur 1.83%, zinc 0.08%, strontium 0.23%, manganese 0.13%, and aluminum 0.0005%.

· Chemical analysis of A. heterophyllus wood yielded: ashes 15.5 g/kg, sodium nitrate-alcohol cellulose 467.6 g/kg, holo-cellulose 709.8 g/kg, pentosan 212.6 g/kg, acid-soluble lignin 44.9 g/kg, acid insoluble lignin 237.4 g/kg, organic solvent soluble lignin 248.3 g/kg. Phenolic hydroxyl content of organic solvent yielded soluble lignin 0.25 mmol/g. Trace element contents yielded: Fe 959 μg/ g, Mn 9.37 μg/g, Cu 5.60 μg/g, Zn 17.1 μg/g, Ca 2.26 mg/g, Mg 433μg/g, Na 28.1μg/g, K 1.05 mg/g, Al 46.2 μg/g, and Pb 0.603 μg/g.

Medicinal Properties of jackfruit

· Root is considered antiasthmatic.

· Ripe fruit is sweet, cooling, demulcent, nutritive, laxative, aphrodisiac.

· Unripe fruit is acrid, astringent, carminative and tonic.

· Pulp or flesh surrounding the seed is aromatic, cooling and tonic.

· Seeds are sweet, diuretic, aphrodisiac.

· Bark is considered sedative.

Parts utilized

· Leaves, fruit, bark, seeds

Nutrition / Edibility

– The young fruit is also a vegetable.

– Fruit has a high carbohydrate content.

– Seeds are very rich in starch, but a poor source of calcium and iron.

– The pulp or flesh (lamukot) surrounding the seeds is rich, yellow, sweet and aromatic, rich in vitamin C, eaten fresh or cooked or preserved.

– The seeds are boiled or roasted.

– The unripe fruit can be pickled.

– In India, the unripe fruit used in the preparation of pickles.

Folkloric traditional remedies and uses of jackfruit

· Skin diseases, ulcers and wounds: Ash of burnt leaves applied on wounds and ulcers as cicatrizant.

· Burnt ashes of leaves (preferably fresh) with coconut oil, and as ointment, also used for ulcers and wounds.

· Diarrhea, fever and asthma: A decoction of the root (preferably chopped into small pieces before boiling) of the tree, three to four cups daily.

· Glandular swelling and snake bites: Apply the milky juice of the tree.

· When mixed with vinegar, it is especially beneficial for glandular swelling and abscesses, promoting absorption and suppuration.

· Leaves used for fever, wounds, abscesses,

· The ripe fruit is laxative; in large quantities, it produces diarrhea.

· The roasted seeds believed to have aphrodisiac properties.

· Pulp envelopes or arils of seeds considered cooling, tonic and nutritious China.

· In India, the leaves and bark of Artocarpus heterophyllus and Mangifera indica, boiled in water, are used as postpartum bath, to rejuvenate the mothers after delivery.

· Starch of seeds given in bilious colic.

· In China, roasted seeds used as aphrodisiac.

· Root extract used for asthma , fever and diarrhea.

· Bark is considered sedative.

· In Sri Lanka and India, extracts of mature leaves used for treatment of diabetes.

· In China, pulp of fruit also considered useful in suppressing alcohol in the body.

· In Indian medicine, bark used in fever, boils, wounds, skin diseases.

· In Mauritius, used for diabetes.

· In Ayurvedic medicine, hot water extract of mature leaves used for treatment of diabetes.

Other uses

· Lambanog additive: Fruit used to flavor and age lambanog; locals believe it increases alcohol potency.

· Adhesive: Tree latex is used as bird lime; and when heated makes a good cement for china.

· Rope: Bark sometimes used for making rope and cloth.

· Dye: Wood has limited use as source of yellow dye.

Scientific proven health benefits and uses of jackfruit


Study isolated flavonoids including: 1-cycloartomunin, 2-cyclomorusin, 3- dihydrocycloartomunin, 4- dihydroisocycloartomunin, 5- cudraflavone A, 6- cyclocommunin, 7-artomunoxanthone, 8- cycloheterohyllin, 9- artonin A, 10- artonin-B, 11- artocarpanone, 12- artocarpanone A, 13, 14, 15 -heteroflavanones A, B and C. Many of the compounds exhibited varying degrees of antiinflammatory activities–inhibitory effects on chemical mediator release from mast cells, neutrophils and macrophages.

Inhibition of Melanin Biosynthesis / Artocarpanone:

Study showed the extract of AH to be one of the strongest inhibitor of tyrosinase activity. Study isolated Artocarpanone, which inhibited both mushroom tyrosinase activity and melanin production in B16 melanoma cells and presents as a potential as a remedy for hyperpigmentation in human skin.

Inhibition of Melanin Biosynthesis / Melanoma Cells:

Structure-Activity Relationship of Prenyl-Substituted Polyphenols from Artocarpus heterophyllus as Inhibitors of Melanin Biosynthesis in Cultured Melanoma Cells: Study isolated flavone-based polyphenols which were found to be active inhibitors of the in vivo melanin biosynthesis in B16 melanoma cells.

Antibacterial/ Multibeneficial natural material:

Dye from heartwood of Artocarpus heterophyllus Lamk: Material isolated could be used as a direct dye for wool and silk; with antibacterial activity against B. subtilis, B. cereus, S. aureus, E coli, K pneumonia.

Source of Provitamin A carotenoids:

Analysis of carotenoids in ripe jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) kernel and study of their bioconversion in rats: Study showed jackfruit to be a good source of provitamin A carotenoids (not as good as papaya).

Antioxidant activity / Scavenging Activity:

Study showed prenylated flavonoid with more antioxidant than non-prenylated flavonoid. (•) Study isolated prenylflavones cycloheterophyllin and artonins A and B which inhibited iron-induced lipid peroxidation and also show radical scavenging activity.

Hypoglycemic / Anti-Diabetic:

Screening of traditional antidiabetic medicinal plants of mauritius for possible -amylase inhibitory effects in vitro: Of several medicinal plants studied in Mauritius, only Artocarpus heterophyllus significantly inhibited a-amylase activity in vitro indicating that AH could act as a starch blocker to decrease post-prandial glucose peaks.

Study in male Wistar rats showed the flavonoid fraction of the leaf of AH to have a higher hypoglycemic effect than the sulfonylurea drug tolbutamide with no significant effects on the liver, kidney and heart.

Study of jackfruit extract showed potential as antidiabetic agent with antioxidant activity and inhibition of hemoglobin glycation lowering HbA1c.

Sexual Competence Inhibition:

Study sought to resolve the conflicting beliefs on the roasted seeds of AH – its aphrodisiac activity vs the claim that use of the seeds prior to coitus disrupts sexual function. Study in rats utilizing a seed suspension markedly inhibited libido, sexual arousal, sexual vigor and performance while also causing mild erectile dysfunction. The results suggest that AH seeds do not have aphrodisiac activity, at least, in rats.

Cytotoxicity / Anti-Tumor:

Study showed the methanol extract to have maximum cytotoxicity on HEp2 cells with cell aggregation, cell rounding and cell death. Results suggest a potential use of the crude extract from the tegmen of AH as an antitumor agent.

Anti-Inflammatory / Bark:

Study of a methanolic extract of A. heterophyllus on a carrageenan-induced model in albino rats showed dose-dependent anti-inflammatory activity.

Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Leaves:

Study of ethyl acetate fraction of A. heterophyllus leaves in STZ-induced diabetic rats showed significant lowering of serum glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Study concludes the EA fraction contains one or more hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic principles with a potential for further development for diabetes treatment.

Improved Glucose Tolerance / Type-2 Diabetes:

Study showed the extracts of both Artocarpus heterophyllus and Asteracanthus longifolia significantly improved glucose tolerance in both normal subjects and diabetic patients.

Hypoglycemic / Hypolipidemic / Antioxidant Pathway:

Ethanol and butanol extracts showed hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects in STZ-diabetic rats through an oxidative pathway that may be attributed to flavonoid contents.
Jacalin / Seed-Derived Lectin / Immunobiologic Applications:

Jacalin, a major lectin protein from the jackfruit seed has been found strongly mitogenic for human CD4+ T lymphocytes. It has been found to have diverse applications: as a tool for evaluation of immune status in HIV-1, isolation of hum plasma glycoproteins, investigation of IgA -nephropathy, and detection of tumors.

Seed Starch Binding Property:

Study showed the starch obtained from A. heterophyllus fruit seeds showed comparable binding properties.

Latex / Protease 48-kDa / Antimicrobial:

A protease isolated and purified from crude latex of a jackfruit tree, designated as antimicrobial protease-48 kDa or AMP48 inhibited the growths of Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC27853 and clinical isolated Candida albicans.

Nutritional Assessment of Jackfruit Meal/ Protease / Antimicrobial:

In Sri Lanka, the jackfruit is consumed either as main meal or supplement. A nutritional assessment of a meal composed of flesh (80% available carbohydrate) and seeds (20% available carbohydrate) showed it to be a good source of starch (22%) and dietary fiber, and categorized as a low GI meal.

Antitumor / Tegmen:

Study evaluated crude extracts from the tegmen of Artocarpus heterophyllus for in vitro antitumor activity. A methanol extract yielded the maximum polyphenol content and showed maximum cytotoxicity on HEP2 cells, with cell aggregation, cell rounding, and cell death. Results suggest a potential as an antitumor agent.

Cytotoxicity / A549 Cell Line:

A methanolic extract of A. heterophyllus showed excellent cytotoxicity against A549 cell line, but had no activity against HeLa and MCF-7 cell lines. Results showed potential cytotoxicity against lung cancer, with no toxicity to normal cells (HEK293 cell line) as compared to methotrexate.

Wound Healing / Leaves:

Study of a methanol leaf extract on excision would healing model showed significant wound healing activity, comparable with standard (Betadine). The period of epithelization of the extract treated group was higher than the control group.

Study showed ex-vivo wound healing activity of flavonoid rich fraction of an ethyl acetate extract of leaves using porcine skin wound healing model.

Cartotenoid Composition / Bioconversion:

Study of fruit kernels yielded six carotenoids: β-carotene, α-carotene, β-zeacarotene, α-zeacarotene and β-carotene-5,6-epoxide and a dicarboxylic carotenoid, crocetin. Serum retinol concentrations in rats supplemented with jackfruit carotenoids were significantly higher than control. Study suggest a satisfactory biological conversion of provitamin A in jackfruit kernel.

Adsorbent for Methylene Blue:

Methylene blue is the most common of dyes in its category, generally used for dyeing cotton and silk. Study evaluated removal of methylene blue in batch sorption experiments using jackfruit leaf powder. Results showed JLP can be effectively used for the removal of MB from aqueous solutions. The desorption increased by decreasing the pH of the solution.

Mucilage / Sustained Release Tablets:

Study evaluated the release modifying potential of mucilage extracted from A. heterophyllus in the formulation of oral sustained release tables of diclofenac sodium. Results showed AH mucilage can be used as drug release modifier in a particular concentration range and as binding agent in formulating sustained release tablets.

Adsorbent / Activated Carbon from Peel:

Study evaluated the effectiveness of an adsorbent prepared from jackfruit peel, an agricultural waste, for removal of phenol, 2‐chlorophenol, 4‐chlorophenol, 2,4‐dichlorophenol from aqueous solutions. Results showed the activated carbon can be economical for removal of phenols.

Latex / Antimicrobial / Dental Application:

Study evaluated the potential use of different components of jackfruit in dental health. Results showed the antibacterial and antifungal activities of protease isolated from jackfruit latex. Potential less expensive dental applications are presented i.e., as cementing medium, irrigation solution, denture cleaning solution, and use for dental microbiology.

Gold Nanoparticles / Antimicrobial / Fruit:

Study reported on the cost-effective end ecofriendly synthesis of gold nanoparticles using aqueous fruit extracts of AH. The gold nanoparticles showed antimicrobial activity against investigated microbes, esp. E. coli and Streptobacillus.

Jacalin / Seed Lectin / Anticancer:

Study evaluated jacalin, a protein extract from AH seed, against human breast cancer (MCF7) and non-small cell lung carcinoma (H1299). Results showed jacalin was more effective than crude protein and was more active against MCF7 compared to H1299 cancer cells.

Hepatoprotective / Inhibition of FeCl3 induced Hepatic lipidperoxidation / Peel:

Study evaluated three vegetables viz., A. heterophyllus, Colocasia esculenta (taro) and Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) for in-vitro inhibition of FeCl3 induced LPO. Jackfruit peel showed the maximum inhibition at lowest concentration. The hepatoprotective potential was attributed to polyphenol and flavonoid contents.

Silver Nanoparticles / Antimicrobial / Leaves:

Study reports on a simplistic method for synthesis of colloidal silver nanoparticles using a leaf extract. The silver nanoparticles demonstrated potent antibacterial activity against E. coli, S. aureus, and Bacillus subtilis and antifungal activity against A. niger and the yeast, Pichia pastoris.

Pectin from Jam:

Study reports that jackfruit is a promising industrial source of pectin which can be successfully applied in food gel system such as fruit jams. It can significantly reduce wastage and waste disposal problems associated with handling jack fruits.

Jackfruit Wine:

Study reports on the process optimization for the fermentation of wine from Jackfruit. The wine also showed good antioxidant activity while also exuding a sweet aroma Wine production provides value addition while decreasing post harvest loss.

Jackfruit Seed Starch as Thickener and Stabilizer:

Study showed jackfruit seed starch is suitable as a thickener and useful as a stabilizer in a high acid sauce.

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