Jatoba (Jatobazeiro) Nice to know about this Brazilian Tree

I was watching TV and I got to know about this Tree. And at the same moment I felt I need to write about this on my blog.

Jatoba (known as Jatobazeiro to Brazilians)

  • Family:Fabaceae
  • Genus:Hymenaea
  • Species:courbaril 

“Jatoba is a huge canopy tree, native to the Amazon rainforest, parts of Central & South America, and Caribbean region. The tree needs full or partial sun, moist soil and humid atmosphere for its growth. It grows as tall as 30-40m in height and produces bright green leaves in matched pairs, white, fragrant flowers (used widely as a landscaping tree) that are pollinated by bats. The tree has oblong, brown, pod-like fruit with large seeds inside.”

Jatoba contains terpene and phenolic chemicals which are responsible for protecting the tree from fungi in the rainforest. In fact, the Jatoba tree is one of the few trees in the rainforest that splashes a completely clean trunk bark, without mold and fungus that are found on many other trees in the humid environment!

The Hymenaea genus comprises two dozen species of tall trees distributed in tropical parts of South America, Mexico, and Cuba and have provided scientists with many traces to its prehistoric presence on earth, insects and other plants.

Also called as: West Indian locust, Stinking Toe (seedpods look like big, fat toes that smells like smelly feet or toes.), Algarrobo, Azucar huayo, Jataí, Brazilian copal, etc.

The Jatobazeiro tree: Every part of the tree is useful

The wood is heavy, hard and durable and so is used for making furniture and floorings.

The Resinous sap (obtained after the tree is cut) is used in varnishes, ointments and incense.

If the resin is left for long enough it will eventually change into amber, usually full of insects.

The thick shell surrounding the pod is used to make a tea which is said to be energizing.

Fruit:

The edible pulp which appears like a soluble fibre is present inside the tough shell that can get dissolved in water/milk. Eating the fruit raw is likely to get stick in the mouth and so people add sugar to get better taste. The fruit contains high source of starch and proteins. The delicious pulp is eaten fresh or made into a beverage for consumption.

Properties:

Anti-inflammatory, Antibacterial, Anticandidal, Antifungal, Hepatoprotective (liver protector), Molluscicidal (kills snails)

One Plant, many uses

The Jatoba is used in herbal medicines system throughout South America since ages. Below are its worldwide practical uses.

Stimulates digestion Reduces spasms Menstrual discharge, Diabetes
Increases energy Increases urination Diarrhoea Bronchitis
Asthma Dries secretions Fever Malaria
Haemorrhages Decongests bronchial Mouth ulcers Intestinal gas
Cough suppressant Expels worms Asthma Skin disorders
Wound healer Protects liver Eye problems Urinary insufficiency
Expels gas Urinary tract infections Stomach-ache, Rheumatism
Nail Fungus Candida and yeast infections Decongestant Prostatitis

Traditional Preparation: One-half to one cup bark decoction (extraction by boiling) 1-3 times daily. It is natural stimulant and so should be taken before 6 pm.

Precautions:  Jatoba leaves are not to be consumed by diabetics’ patients (hypoglycaemic effect), pregnant or nursing women and children.