Sugar Palm Fruit Makes You Feel Itchy !

My father used to harvest half-ripe sugar palm fruits. Immediately after picking, they were boiling the fruits to give it a soft jelly-like consistency. It is then pricked out with a short sharp stick. Soaked and washed in several changes of water for few days. The jelly-like flesh called “kaong” was ready for market. It is use for sweet delicacies.

However, that’s not the main issue . Then process mentioned above always make my body very itchy. They told me to stop talking while the process is on-going. Talking makes me feel itchy? I guessed not.

Half-ripe sugar palm fruits contains high levels of irritating oxalate crystals, calcium oxalate. It is a chemical compound that forms needle-shaped structures. It plays an important role in development of kidney stones.  Some oxalate containing foods are sweet potatoes, black indian tea, okra, chocolate, soybean crackers, peanuts, swiss chard, wheat germ, spinach, beets and rhubarb.

Oxalate crystals is poisonous when ingested. Even small doses of oxalate toxin is enough to cause intense sensations of burning in the mouth and throat, swelling, and choking.  Larger doses cause severe digestive upset, breathing difficulties,  convulsions, coma and death. Recovery from severe oxalate poisoning is possible, but permanent liver and kidney damage is irreversible.

You don’t have to worry . Oxalate crystals reside only on walls and stalk of fruits. The processed “kaong” is  safe to eat. Itching can be prevented by wearing gloves and long sleeves while processing.


updated: May 2017 has clearer explanation regarding calcium oxalate. It is a water insoluble salt that forms a bundle of needle-like crystals called raphides. Contact with moisture causes plant cells to eject these raphides, which may come contact with skin or mucosal surfaces. Raphides longer than 180 micros are believed to be more potent. Upon skin contact, they allow entry of other irritant such as proteases, saponins etc.

So calcium oxalate is like a bunch of tiny thousand arrow traps dabbed with toxin. Water serves as trigger. Piercing effect hurts. Added toxins magnifies pain several times.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.

4 Replies to “Sugar Palm Fruit Makes You Feel Itchy !”

  1. This is good post, I will keep this in mind. If you add more video and pictures because it helps understanding 🙂

  2. I love to have sweet delicacies but I have never tried the kaong containing recepies.The process of preparing it sounds interesting.
    As far as itching is concerned, some skins are quite sensitive and also can be prevented.If it’s the matter of any dish, I would like to try.

  3. sir i am a student of cavite state university…i am currently taking a course of BS agriculture..i am now in third year level and i would like to know the author of this site.. because i am interested to conduct my research about sugar palm..and i would like to contact the person behind this site..for the background of my study.. thanks you very much..have a nice day..

    1. I am marvin vicedo, a previous employee of Cavite State University. My boss there was Ms. Fe N. Dimero.

      Feel free to use any information that you might find useful for your venture.

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