Kewra or Kewda or Keora Floral Water

Kewra water is an extract that is distilled from pandanus flowers. It is a transparent liquid, almost similar to rose water. Although pandanus trees grow almost everywhere in tropical Asia, kewra water is still mainly a Northern Indian flavoring that is not used anywhere else. In Western cooking, kewra water makes a fine alternative to the flower essences like rose or orange essence. It can be substituted with kewra essence, which is more concentrated.

Kewra Jal or Screw pine water is used to flavor a lot Indian curries, biryanis, drinks and desserts particularly those which are milk based. It is also used in lot of Indian sweets made out of squashes and dried milk. Drinks prepared with Kewra are said to be have a cooling effect on the body during the scorching summer months. Similar to rose-water or orange blossom water, the essence is more concentrated than Kewra water. The essence may be yellowish or transparent in color.

Other than food, if you happen to visit the beach destinations of India, you can indulge in Kewra water bath and spa sessions at many of the resorts and hotels. Perfumes and body lotions containing essential oils made with Kewra are also popular as stimulants to cure headaches and provide general relaxation to body. Ayurveda, the ancient form of medicinal cure with natural products is known to use Kewra for healing joint pains and bone related problems. All in all Kewra is supposed to have catered to those senses of your body which provide calmness to mind and soul.

Leaves are used as a spice in South East Asia to flavor curries and desserts. These trees grow in tropical Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands. The ripe fruits of Pandanus trees have their distinctive aroma because of the essential oil they contain.

It has grows all along the eastern coast of India and is particularly famous in Orissa where a lot of the distilled water comes from. This tree flowers in the monsoon season and is harvested in the early morning before the flowers open as they lose their fragrance quickly when they open. Sandalwood is added to the distillation to produce attar kewra which is used in the perfume industry, and ruh kewra is the essential oil that is produced, not mixed with anything and expensive. This name is interesting as ruh means soul in Urdu so the name could mean refresher of the soul. The aroma of this oil has a calming effect and is good as an aid to mental relaxation, as well as having anti-oxidant properties.

Benefit & Uses: In traditional medicine the powdered anthers and tops of the flower bracts are used to cure headaches and to treat rheumatism and epilepsy. The powder obtained from inside the anthers is inhaled or smoked like a cigarette as a cure for sore throats. It is believed that the root boiled in milk can cure female sterility and can prevent a miscarriage. In the Asian subcontinent it is thought that the oil is an aphrodisiac, and a decoction of the bark is said to help wounds heal quickly. Seeds from the plant are used to strengthen the liver and heart, and the oil is used for earache. It has antiseptic qualities similar to eucalyptus oil and the roots are diuretic, and used as a tonic and a purifier, so the whole of the tree is beneficial to our health.

Another application is in the highly aromatic rice dishes, especially of the Mogul cuisine. The most elaborate rice recipes sometimes call for kewra water to be sprinkled over the rice just before serving.
It can be combined with other floral waters such as rose water and added together on the recipe. It can be used as a health drink.


Kewra is said to have antioxidant properties and helps fight cancer. Its floral fragrance gives a calming effect, thus helps in mental relaxation.


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