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Black stone flower

It is an edible type of fungus which grows on trees and rocks.

· Spice

The weird name, the weirder look and a moss that grows on rocks in running streams or in rivers on hill stations… Is it capable of providing an ultimate authentic Indian taste to a dish? Can it be one of the healing spices?

Yes, this spice is known as a “Black stone flower”. More regional Indian names for the stone flower are Dagad phool or Patthar ka phool or Kalpasi.

Exploring black stone flowers

The black stone flowers are native to the Himalayas, from Himachal Pradesh to Arunachal Pradesh. They require a slight elevation above sea level for proper growth thus they are also found in Ooty and Kodaikanal region.

The black stone flowers are light green moss, which look like dried mushrooms or dried flowers. It is an edible type of fungus which grows on trees and rocks. It grows naturally and not cultivated as such. It has a very light fluffy texture.

It isn’t very aromatic or flavorful in its dried/raw form. To release its fragrance and flavor you will have to roast it in a little oil. It releases a very strong earthy aroma when tempered properly and adds a unique flavor to the curries and gravies.
The spice gives the signature color and flavor to the Maharashtrian special ‘goda masala’(traditional Spice mix). It is also extensively used in south Indian cuisine especially chettinad cuisine from Tamil Nadu. Similarly, it is one of the main ingredients in “potli masala”.

The black stone flowers are not very well-known as a spice and lesser known for their medicinal values. There are not many scientific studies stating its therapeutic properties, but traditional healers believe in its healing properties.

Health benefits

1. The black stone flower can help dissolve kidney stones.
In Ayurveda, the black stone flowers are used for the treatment of renal conditions mainly kidney stones. Its antilithiatic property help prevent urinary tract infections and the formation of renal stones. As a lithotriptic, it helps dissolve kidney stones.

2. Stone flowers are excellent for pain relief and skin problems.
They possess anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral and antimicrobial properties. They help reduce inflammation in the body and thus provide relief from pain. It also helps treat skin problems with its anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties.

3. Stone flowers promotes wound healing.
The black stone flowers with the help of their astringent properties promotes early healing of wounds.

The black stone flowers help to maintain normal body temperature, they improve digestion of food and help suppress respiratory disorders like cough and asthma.

In the kitchen

Me being from Maharashtra we use “Goda masala”/ traditional spice mix recipe..
Here is the authentic recipe:

  • coriander seeds 150 gm
  • grated coconut 30 gm
  • cumin 25 gm
  • poppy seeds 25 gm
  • black pepper 25 gm
  • fennel seeds 20 gm
  • turmeric 20 gm
  • black stone flower 20 gm
  • asafetida 20 gm
  • cloves 15 gm
  • bay leaves 15 gm
  • cinnamon 15 gm
  • mace 10 gm
  • dry ginger 10 gm
  • black cardamom 5 gm
  • cardamom 5 gm
  • black cumin 5 gm
  • trifala 5 gm
  • nutmeg 1 whole

1. In a pan, firstly dry roast the coriander seeds in a low flame until it turns brown in color, grind to a fine powder and strain the mixture discarding the bigger particles.
2. Then dry roast the grated coconut.
3. Now dry roast each spice one by one till they get darker in color.
4. Make sure to keep stirring to avoid spices to burn.
5. Let the roasted spices cool down.
6. Grind them into fine powder.
7. Mix to the coriander seeds powder and once again give it a quick stir in a grinder.
8. Your special masala mix is ready to be used in curries.

Home remedies

1. For a quick pain relief apply paste of the black stone flower with hot water over the affected area.