Why I Eat Hedge Apples
Author: Karen Bergeron 12/03/2021 Partially finished
Are Hedge Apples Edible?
Why would you want to add Hedge Apple Fruit to your diet? Believe it or not, this so called "trash fruit" of the Osage Orange tree is full of antioxidants including Pomiferin and Osajin, and many others that are being researched for all kinds of medicinal properties. It is being studied for cytotoxicity to cancer cells, cannabinoid and opioid receptor activity, cardiovascular benefits, skin care, hair growth and more. Triterpene constituents have also been isolated from Hedge Apple fruit.
The Link List to Potential Medicinal Properties of the Osage Orange Tree
I have seen many references that say Hedge Apples, also known as Osage Oranges, are not edible. This is simply not true. The weird bumpy fruits of Osage Orange tree aren't the tastiest fruit, but when dried they can be a passable nibble. A mild, not unpleasant tasting, tea can be made from fruits that are sliced and dried.
I got lucky as a friend just got a large freeze dryer and wants to keep it busy, so that's a good way to make sure I'm keeping all the nutrients. . I just pinch of a piece of the freeze dried slices and steep in hot water for about 10 minutes and have a nice tea.
There is nothing in an Osage Orange that is toxic to most humans. They don't taste good and the texture is fibrous. The plant pulp isn't all that unpleasant, but will make you pucker from it's astringency. In rare cases, people may experience irritation from the latex plant sap. The infusions I have made from the freeze dried fruit taste is very mild as I only use a small bit of the dried fruit, about a teaspoon crumbled or ground.
The following is based on my personal experiences with Hedge Apple tea. I am not a medical professional.
I am not responsible for what happens to you if you decide to try it.
People have been eating 1-2 tablespoons of Hedge Apples a day as a folk remedy for cancer for a very long time. Eating more than 2 tbsp. a day may cause stomach upset or diarrhea, so start slowly. It may help to eat it with other foods.
I recently became more acquainted with the fruit and have become obsessed with everything Osage Orange, or as I call them, Hedge Apples. I've decided to name my Osage Orange products "Happy Hedge Apple" for very good reasons. This article might explain the effects that I experienced with an infusion of the dried fruit. "The crude extract exhibited significant activity towards cannabinoid receptors (CB1: 103.4% displacement; CB2: 68.8% displacement) and possibly allosteric interaction with δ and μ opioid receptors (-49.7 and -53.8% displacement, resp.)" Isolation and Biological Evaluation of Prenylated Flavonoids from Maclura pomifera I'm not a chemist or medical professional so the technical terms are beyond my understanding.
l really enjoy Hedge Apple tea. It seems to calm me, chases away apathy and worrying thoughts that waste energy. The first time I tried it was because one study mentioned it seemed to ease pain and inflammation from mice. See links below. (I have pain... my spine is fused from waist to shoulders with 40 year old hardware. Enough of that.) I was not expecting a mood change. My first thought was "this is what I expected to feel from CBD oil." I have no proof. I have shared it with friends who say it's calming and helps with focus, but they aren't depressed so aren't using it daily as I have for the last month. It doesn't make me tired. I actually feel more like doing things that I have been putting off for too long.
Side story on this... the mice were given carrageen an, a common food additive to induce pain and inflammation so that the effects of Hedge Apples could be tested. If you use a lot of coffee creamer, and/or have digestive health issues, read the label. You might want to find a replacement that doesn't contain carrageenan.
Read both pages of this article about carrageenan to see if it may be affecting your health.
Apparently the mice were able to tolerate having their paws pressed to a hotplate longer after they were given "two prenylated isoflavones: scandenone (I) and auriculasin (II), isolated from the fruits of Maclura pomifera."
and given carrageenan to inflict inflammation and pain.
Science isn't pretty.
My friend Judy Mullins has been telling me for years that people use them as a cancer remedy. If I had cancer, I would ask my doctor before using it.. This is not intended to be medical advice, it's just information about how people use it. They keep whole hedge apples in the freezer and then grate or cut off 1-2 tablespoons of the fruit and eat it daily. It is often mixed with applesauce to make it more palatable. People have reported that tumors have shrunk in a month's time but no one has provided solid proof. Pomiferin and other properties are shown to affect cancer cells in laboratory settings, but this has not been studied on humans.
When we think of herbal preparations, we often think a tincture is the best way to go. From my experiments, alcohol is not the best solvent for the soothing properties of Osage Orange. Water works much better.
People who cannot eat bananas or avocados because of the plant latex should avoid using Osage Orange. Many other herbs have latex as well : dandelions, wild lettuce, opium, and chicory to name a few. Not everyone who is allergic to latex has problems with these herbs. Sometimes when we add new strong herbs to out regiment, we may experience a "cleansing effect" that usually passes in a a few days when we are used to the new addition to our diets. This is common with a lot of wild plants.
I have a lot more to write about this and will continue to add information here. Below are some links to do your own research. It might surprise you when you read of all the possible benefits of eating Osage Oranges.
If you have some near you, and have room in your freezer or can slice and dehydrate them, go for it while they are available. I like them better when they all fully ripe and yellow.
Meet the man who turns Iowa's trash fruit into N.Y. cosmetics He obviously hasn't read the studies but his story is interesting.
Even if you don't fall in love with eating Hedge apples, or enjoying them as tea, and using them as a supplement for their antioxidant properties, they make wonderful natural craft material. I will be sure to add Facebook links for all the people getting creative with their bumpy fruits.
Why did I publish an unfinished article? So you can gather some before they are gone. Here in Tennessee, most have fallen but many have yet to ripen. I've got mine in the barn and hoping to see more happy yellow hedge apples soon! Hang on to them, and I'll tell you how to use them soon!
See Clinical Study Links below picture.