Catch 22 or the crown of god?


Have you ever experienced a situation where you have to make a difficult choice?

In my country we have a saying ‘bagaikan makan buah simalakama’ – when translated literally = as if eating simalakama fruit. The real meaning is similar to Catch 22 – a situation where no matter what choice you make, something bad is going to happen  or a no-win situation where all the possible solutions have a terrible or undesirable outcome.

So far I have never seen the so called simalakama fruit and I was not really sure if there is such a fruit or it was just an imaginary fruit used in a proverb……

until I checked with Mr. Google…….

Apparently the simalakama fruit exists in the real world. It is a fruit with red skin and white flesh that was cultivated in the vegetable gardens of the palaces of the Javanese sultans.

Simalakama Fuit

Simalakama is also called the crown of god (mahkota dewa) inspires mixed feelings. In some folktales, the fruit is  sacred.  A soldier who eats it will triumph in the battlefield. Plant it and you will prosper.The name given to this fruit implies that it descends from heaven, as a benediction from divinity to help mankind.

Glistening from its tree, this shiny red fruit invites the forbidden. It lures with a sense of ripeness, an urgency to be plucked from its branches and eaten……

buah mahkota dewa merah

But stop!

Refrain from this intention because the possibility of poisoning or even death may await.

Simalakama is sometimes cut, dried and served with hot water as medicinal tea. But there is a catch. People fall ill if the preparation and dosage is wrong. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t…….hence the proverb ‘as if eating simalakama fruit’

The scientific name of simalakama is Phaleria macrocarpa. It is known as one of medicinal plants in Indonesia. Originally from Papua. a plant from the family of Thymelaeaceae. 

Many scientific research proving the efficacy of crown god. Prof.Dr. Akio Mimura doing research in Tokyo,Japan and the crown god is proven as one of the anti cancer herbs.

The crown god contain antihistamines, alkaloids, saponins, and polyphenols (lignans). Fruit skins contain alkaloids, saponins, and flavonoids.

Part used
The plant is used as medicine are the leaves, fruit flesh and skin. The leaves and fruit skin can be used fresh or dried, while the fruit is used after being dried.

Crown of god


The skin and flesh of fruit is used for: dysentery, psoriasis, and acne. Leaves and seeds used for treatment of skin diseases, such as eczema and itching.

Examples of usage in the community
Dysentery, boiled rind of dried fruit (15 g) with two cups water to boil for 15 minutes. Once cool, strain and drink the water at once. Do it 2-3 times a day.

Psoriasis, split the fresh fruit (three pieces), seeds removed, then sliced thinly and dry in the sun to dry. Boil in one liter of water over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer until the water remain one quarter. Once cool, strain and drink the water twice a day. If symptoms of poisoning, lower the dose or discontinue use.

Eczema or hives, wash the fresh leaves of the crown of god sufficiently, then milled until smooth. Stick it on the skin. Replace 2-3 times a day.


The use of medicinal plants should be based on the principle of benefit and safety. If useful to cure disease, but not safe because toxic, must think about the possibility of acute poisoning and chronic poisoning may occur.

Part of fruit, especially poisonous seeds. If fresh fruit eaten immediately, can cause swelling in the mouth, thrush, intoxication, seizures, unconscious.

Using excessive doses for long periods can cause side effects, such as chronic headaches and pregnant women are prohibited from taking these herbs.



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