Kafal (Myrica esculenta) is a small tree or large shrub. It is a well known medicinal plant in Ayurveda. Myrica esculenta is in hilly regions of Nepal and northern part of India especially in the region of Himalayan India, Garhwal, Kumaun, Khasia Mountains and silhiti especially at the height of 3 to 6 thousand. It is also found in the altitude below 1500 meters in mid hills of Nepal. Its common names include Box myrtle, Bayberry, Kafal (local name) It has a tree of medium height i.e. 20 to 25 feet. Bark is soft and brittle. Leaves are conjoint, 1 to 2 feet long that has leaflets in pairs of 6 to 9 and has a width of ¼ inch. Flowers are of white color and are found in bunches. Fruits are 6 to 18 inch long and have 6 veins with having a brown color. Seeds are triangular in shape and are astringent in taste. According to Ayurveda, it has two varieties based on the color of flower: Shwet (white) and Rakta (red). The oil that is extracted from the bark of the tree Myrica Nagi is used in various perfumes, tinctures and oils that are used in Aromatherapy. Although Myrica Nagi is a herb that is very safe to use, it should not be consumed before taking advice from a medical practitioner. It is wise to consult a doctor or a practicing medicine man before going ahead with the process of taking in any sort of herbs or herbal extracts. Planet Ayurveda provides customers with the option of obtaining medical advice from their medical practitioners online. Also, all products at Planet Ayurveda are 100 percent vegetarian; contain only herbs and have never been tested on animals.
They have a limited harvesting period and available for a short period of time only. When they were in season, local villagers picked and gathered the berries carefully from the wild growing areas and transported to Kathmandu in a wicker baskets (doko-daalo). Shelf life of kafal is very short, only 2-3 days. People love to eat the fruits with sprinkling of salt or rock salt and chili powder and it was a popular treat in the beginning of the summer months. Don’t eat under-ripe ones because they cause upset stomach, but we were hooked on these sweet, salty and spicy snack berries. Now I wonder how simple things in life that made us so happy. I had shared with you the much loved wild berries that is growing throughout many parts of Himalaya region. If you can get a hold of it, it is worth trying.