Kokum Cooler – An Ayurvedic Summer Drink

R, an old friend, facebooked me from Los Angeles last week with a quick question:

Kokum Cooler is a perfect summer drink

R: Hi hon. How are you? Hope all is well. I had a quick question. When your Mom and you were in LA a while ago, you guys had served 2 really refreshing drinks – one green and one pink with little pieces of chopped up fruit on top. Could you send me the recipes coz I would love to make them?? xoxo


I am always thrilled to hear from friends anywhere, especially those I haven’t seen in a while but R’s question left me wondering. “Refreshing drinks” could be anything – I prepare Ayurveda based drinks all the time. Was she talking about a daytime drink? A night time drink? Alcoholic or not? Sweet, sour? The choices are endless.

R: It was yummy and refreshing. We had it during the day, going into the evening. Non alcoholic but I’m sure we could jazz it up it was sweet but refreshingly so, not too sweet. 
I guess it was your take on jaljeera?

Judging by her description, I am guessing that the ‘pink’ drink is Kokum Cooler, my version of Kokum kadi, a popular summer drink in Karnataka and Goa.

Kokum grows along India’s Konkan coast

Kokum (Garcinia Indica), a dark red fruit that grows along India’s Konkan coast is yet another Ayurvedic wonder-drug. Perfect for reducing heat and inflammation, it is an ideal anti-dote for the Pitta dosha. Drinking kokum infused water helps expel heat, counter acidity and relieve sunstroke. The fruit pulp can also be applied directly to the skin to alleviate rashes caused by allergies. The emollient properties of kokum butter (prepared from the seeds) are helpful in treating burns, scalds and chafed skin.

Kokum kadi, a decoction of fresh kokum fruits in water is a popular drink in households on India’s Konkan coast, especially during the hot months, when fresh kokum is available in large quantities. My version, Kokum Cooler, has always been a huge hit with my friends and clients in California. Most of them go for the taste and do not even realize the it wonderfully healing properties.

The drink is easy enough to prepare at home. If you are in India and have access to the fresh fruit then this is always my preferred option. If not, then look for the dried fruit skins at a natural foods store or at an Indian grocery store. Make sure that the skins have a soft, chewy consistency – hard, dried fruits mean that they have been been sitting in the store for a while and have probably lost much of their taste and healing properties.

Kokum Cooler – A perfect antidote to the pitta dosha



  • 2 whole fresh kokum or 4-5 dry kokum skins
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 fresh green chillies
  • 1 fresh red chilli
  • 1 tsp jaggery (or you can replace with stevia or molasses but not honey)
  • A pinch asafoetida
  • Natural rock salt

For the seasoning:

  • 1 Tbs ghee
  • 1tsp whole mustard seeds
  • 1-2 chopped fresh (or dried) red chillies
  • 1 tsp chopped, fresh (or dried) kokum


Mix the kokum with water. If you are using the fresh fruit then squeeze it with your hands until it colors the water. If fresh kokum is not available then you can used dried skins. Leave them in water for about 30 mins. Mix kokum water with salt, jaggery, salt and green chillies. Dilute the asafoetida in water and add to the mixture. Then prepare the seasoning: Heat the oil, add mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the chopped red chili and dried/fresh kokum pieces.

The drink chilled is most refreshing when served chilled.  Now I need to figure what R meant by “green” drink!

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6 Responses to Kokum Cooler – An Ayurvedic Summer Drink

  1. Solange says:

    Hi Reenita, so kokum is also good for me as I’m mostly a Kapha Type. Thanks for the information.
    In these days I’m fasting… It’s my fifth week, and I intend to do one more. I only drink special detox herbal tee (6 different types !) , a little vegetable juce extrat (beet mostly, and some carrots, celery, black radish and potato) and an onion broth cup at lunch. I’m doing this because I want to get rid of some cysts witch could become nasty some day. I’ve already lost 11 kg (22 pounds). The cysts are no more there (for those I can feel directly. I feel mutch better, even if I’ve never done some thing so hard (I’m dreaming of food every night !!).
    I’d like to have your opinion about fasting, and how to go back to eating progresivly.
    Thanks a lot !
    PS I’m glag I could by your new book at last.

    • admin says:

      Hi Solange

      I am so glad to hear that you have gotten rid of your cysts. Good on you — I wish everyone had the discipline and willingness to take care of themselves like you do.

      I hope you have received my book by now. Towards the end, you will find the weekend detox chapter. Basically, it will advise not to go back to solid foods in a hurry. Take it gently – start perhaps with all liquids, then semi-solids, then solids mad from unprocessed grains etc. Essentially, after you have been on any kind of cleansing diet, you want to be gentle on your digestive system.

      Hope this is helpful.


  2. S. Black says:

    How often should leech therapy be used for detox? And how many leeches should be used at one time?

    Thank you.

    • admin says:

      Once a year but best to check in with a licensed Ayurvedic professional as this will be tailored to your specific needs.

  3. Danae says:

    Thanks for this receipe. As the days become warmer I am looking for just a drink like this to keep my ‘fire/pitta’ husband cool & happy… unfortunately, here in Munich there is no fresh Kokum fruit but I can purchase the powder. Would that work too? Or is there another way to prepare the drink in this case?

    Personally, I love Ayurveda since I first read about the deep vibrant wisdom of its spiritual roots. Since I am living a detox lifestyle for 3 years I am on the way to balance but the last hurdle seems to be difficult as my liver still plays up (my accupuncturist tells me it is stagnant – I am aware of the cause but are looking for natural ways to heal it). Intergrating turmeric twice a day but are looking for a book which can give me the next insights heal myself. Would your book be a good read (and if yes, which one?) or is there something else like an ancient Ayurvedic book or reference books lesser known in the West which you would recommend?

    • admin says:


      Many thanks for your kind note.

      Kokum powder is do-able but rather than that, I would suggest purchasing the dried kokum fruit. It should be available at a South Asian grocery store. If note, certainly try the powder and let me know how that works for you.

      I am glad to know that you are integrating turmeric but for liver issues, this is only a begin. It sounds like inflammation might be an issue and it should be dealt with on a continuous basis. If you need to take your detox lifestyle to the next step then I would certainly recommend my books. “Forever Young – Unleashing the Magic of Ayurveda” gives actual practical advice on incorporating Ayurvedic self care methods into your lifestyle so this is the one I would recommend. Unfortunately, it is not available in Germany’s bookstores but you can certainly find it on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/9382616020.

      Let me know how it goes. I look forward to hearing back from you.


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