|Bixa orellana - annatto seeds - image released into the public domain by author Madhavi.|
aka Achiote tree , Latkan in Hindi, Sinduri in Gujarati ,Rangmali in Kannada.
These seeds are small and used as a natural coloring agent in foods,crafts and cosmetics.It is also used in recipes because it imparts a rich yellow to orange color to the dish.The red color comes from the rusty coating over the seeds.These hard seeds are usually fried in oil in medium heat for a few seconds and discarded after 1-2 minutes and the remaining annatto oil is used in recipes.
Bixin and norbixin are the main pigments which are responsible for the color. The entire plant has medicinal value but the seeds are especially known to have a protective action on the liver . Pregnant women and diabetics may avoid using this.