Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Herbs: Jacote


scientific name: Spondia mombin

other common names: Jobo, job megro, ciruela de jobo, Spanish plum

growing areas: Native to Southeast Asia and Malaysia; cultivated throught the West Indies, as well as much of Mexico and the rest of Latin America

physical description: This tree can reach 60 feet or higher. It has fragrant red flowers. Its fruit, which are oblong, red or yellow, and fragrant and contain a juicy and acidic pulp, hang in clusters from the tree.

traditional uses: In traditional medicine of Latin America, jacote has many uses for a wide range of illnesses. Brazilians use the bark to make a decoction for the treatment of diarrhea, while a decoction from the flowers and leaves is reportedly used to relieve constipation and stomachache. Famed ethnobotanist Richard Schultes reports that the Tikunas Indians of the Amazon area use a decoction of the bark to relieve pain and to prevent excessive bleeding during menstruation. He says they also use it to treat stomach pains and diarrhea as well as as a wash for wounds. According to Julia Morton, Cubans have traditionally eaten large amounts of the fruit as an emetic, while Haitians take the fruit syrup as a remedy for angina. Mexicans use it to treat diarrhea, while Dominicans have used it as a laxative. Its bark also has a reputation in folk medicine for being useful in treating minor skin ulcers.
The fruit is eaten as a food and can be made into jellies and preserves. The wood is used in the manufacture of crates and other light items.

availability and dosage: It can be purchased through mail-order herbal suppliers in Central America.

contraindications: None noted.

special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.

Schultes reports the Amazon Indian belief that "permanent sterility" would result from the drinking of one cup a day of a decoction of jacote following childbirth. According to Morton, Colombians believe the fruit is bad for the throat and that the leaves and bark contain tannin and thus are astringent.
medical research: None noted.

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