Definitions

carambola

carambola

[kar-uhm-boh-luh]
carambola, orange fleshy fruit of Averrhoa carambola, a small shrub in the wood sorrel family (Oxalidaceae). The fruits have five very prominent ridges, and in transverse section appear as a five-pointed star and thus are often called star fruit. The fruits contain high levels of oxalic acid which makes them sour to the taste. Cultivated varieties have been selected to be sweeter when eaten raw. The juice is often used to remove stains from clothing and other articles, because of the oxalic acid. Carambola is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Geraniales, family Oxalidaceae.
| |- | |- |} The carambola is a species of tree native to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka and is popular throughout Southeast Asia, Trinidad, Malaysia and parts of East Asia. It is also grown throughout the tropics. Carambola is commercially grown in the United States in south Florida and Hawaii for its fruit, known as the starfruit. It is closely related to the bilimbi.

Health risks

Individuals with kidney trouble should avoid consuming the fruit, because of the presence of oxalic acid. Juice made from carambola can be even more dangerous owing to its concentration of the acid. It can cause hiccups, vomiting, nausea, and mental confusion. Fatal outcomes after ingestion of star fruits have been described in uraemic patients.

Drug interactions

Like grapefruit, star fruit is considered to be a potent inhibitor of seven cytochrome P450 isoforms. These enzymes are significant in the first pass elimination of many medicines, and thus the consumption of star fruit or its juice in combination with certain medications can significantly increase their effective dosage within the body. Research into grapefruit juice has identified a number of common medications affected, including statins which are commonly used to treat cardiovascular illness, benzodiazepines (a tranquilizer family including diazepam) as well as other medicines. These interactions can be fatal if an unfortunate confluence of genetic, pharmacological, and lifestyle factors results in, for instance, heart failure, as could occur from the co-ingestion of star fruit or star fruit juice with atorvastatin (Lipitor).

History

The star fruit originally came from Sri Lanka and the Moluccas. For the past several hundred years, it has been cultivated in Malaysia.

In popular culture

The Paopu Fruit in Kingdom Hearts is based on the Carambola. Sales of Carambola rose following the release of the game.

Gallery

References

External links

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