Woman preparing home-made medicine for her sick daughter. Photo: Richard Hanson/Tearfund
Traditional medicines often include one or more tree parts or products. These may be the fruit, leaves, flowers, bark, roots, seeds or oil. Here we share some information about a few medicinal trees in the humid and arid tropics. We strongly recommend that you consult a local herbalist first about the correct quantities and use. In the case of serious symptoms, you should consult a doctor.
KAMALA – Mallotus philippensis
Found in humid tropical forests in Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, southern China, India and Australia.
TOLU BALSAM, PERU BALSAM, QUINOQUINO - Myroxylon balsamum
Found in the tropical forests of South America.
JATROPHA – Jatropha curcas
Found in all parts of the arid tropics.
ACACIA – Acacia nilotica, Acacia arabica
Found in Africa and Asia.
Honey also has medicinal properties. Dabbing honey on a wound or burn promotes healing. Some honeys are anti-bacterial, and this explains why honey can be effective in soothing sore throats. Evidence for the effectiveness of honey remedies has not been established.
The material in this article has been drawn from Medicine trees of the tropics by Robin Levingston and Rogelio Zamora, published by the Forestry Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.