scientific name: Cecropia peltata other common names: Trumpet tree, trompette, imbauha growing areas: West Indies, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, Yucatan, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, and Suriname; also grown as an ornamental plant in Florida
physical description: This fast-growing tree can reach up to 65 feet in height. It produces a sap described as a watery or gummy latex. Its leaves have hairy stems. The flowers develop into a spike, which in turn develops into a fleshy fruit that is soft and Sweet when ripe.
traditional uses: Cubans use the leaf as a tea for asthma and the latex as an astringent as well as a treatment for calluses and ulcers. In Guatemala, a decoction is used as a diuretic and a remedy for whooping cough. In Argentina, it has been reportedly used for Parkinson's disease. It has a wide reputation in the Caribbean as a treatment for asthma.
availability and dosage: Available as powdered leaf. Dosages vary. Herbalists recommend a half cup of the leaf infusion up to two times a day.
contraindications: Patients with heart conditions should not take embauba.
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.
It has been used to treat diabetes in Barbados. But there is a risk that blood sugar will drop too low, possibly leading to diabetic coma.
medical research: A study in Cuba of an embauba extract showed that it had the ability to inhibit the growth of fungus.