DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.
A tender tree of Central America and the northern portions of South America, reaching from 20 to 50 feet in height with a tree top umbrella-like spread of 10 to 30 feet. LEAVES are up 3 feet long, being divided into leaflets. FLOWERS are mildly fragrant and dark yellow to gold with 5 petals. The one-seeded FRUITS are ovoid. SEEDS are large and have a coconut-like aroma.
PROPAGATION: By RIPE SEED in spring; by HARDWOOD CUTTINGS in fall.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in well-drained soil. Hardy to 60ºF.
HARVEST: Ripe seeds
PART USED: Dried seeds
RELATED SPECIES: Simaba versicolor: Has similar uses.
Exceptionally bitter, tonic, febrifuge, antiseptic, nervine, anti-inflammatory, stomachic.
Has been used for spasms, convulsions, nervous problems.
Has been used internally for malaria and other intermittent fevers.
Has been used both internally and externally by native peoples of Central and South America for snakebite (as a strong tea - taken 4 times daily, 1 tbsp at a time); externally, a cloth was soaked in the tea, placed over the bite area and kept saturated with the tea.
TRADITIONAL DOSES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY! All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
NOTE: One historical source (Maude Grieve, A Modern Herbal) gives reference to its having been used as an injection in the amount of 1/15th of a grain, but does not say for what conditions this mode of administration was used. Possibly convulsions or spasms.
POWDERED SEEDS = 1 to 10 grains
INFUSION = 1 oz of crushed dried seeds in 1 pint of boiling water; steep 10 to 15 minutes.
The powdered BARK was once used to eradicate vermin.