The stone flower is a lichen that is used as a spice in India. This spice is also known as chharila, patthar phool, kalpasi, or dagad phool. It is an edible fungus that grows on trees and rocks naturally without any cultivation. The species can be found in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. Stone flowers are soft, black, and brown colored lichen and may add their distinctive black color to various masalas like Kala masala or goda masala.
These spice mixes are popularly used in Indian delicacies and snacks. The stone flower has a very dry, light, and fluffy texture, and a strong earthy aroma. Apart from the taste that it imparts, it also contributes to your health.
- It can help treat skin problems and reduce inflammation. It may improve digestion and help suppress respiratory disorders.
- Stone flower, according to Ayurvedic texts, can help prevent and remove Mutrashmari (renal calculi) or kidney stones by boosting urine production due to its diuretic properties.
- It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory characteristics and is considered to be particularly efficient in promoting healing.
- The stone flower is also said to help manage asthma due to its Kapha-Vata balancing properties. These properties can also help remove obstructions in respiratory pathways, thereby making breathing easier.
- The Ayurvedic tradition also states that this spice can help manage urinary tract infections due to its pungent, bitter, and astringent properties.
- It is also said to help treat skin problems and reduce inflammation.
- It can help improve digestion and contribute towards suppressing respiratory disorders.
It is commonly used in meat dishes like Bombay biryani, nahari (paaya), and mutton stews. It is also used as an ingredient in various vegetarian dishes. It is an important component of East Indian bottle masala—a spice blend that is used to cook meats, seafood, and vegetables.