Jamaican Traditional Tropical Fruits as Medicine

Breadfruit Tree Jamaica


This is a Jamaican Breadfruit tree. Jamaican fruits are well-known for their medicinal qualities. Travellers often feel like they have been to a health farm after a visit to Jamaica. Coconut water, ackee, sorrel, soursop and the list goes on.  Original varieties of fruits, old varieties, not frankenfood that is sold in the supermarkets today.

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Ackee

Blighia sapida Ackee and salt fish is the “national dish”. The Ackee was first brought from West Africa on a slave ship. It is a tropical evergreen tree that grows to thirty feet tall with leathery leaves and fragrant smelling flowers. Ackee, though cooked and used as a vegetable, is a fruit. It is Jamaica’s national fruit. It is very soft and resembles scrambled egg. A source of protein in hard times there are many wild ackee trees growing in Jamaica for the people to pick. Part of the fruit is poisonous so knowledge in preparation is required Read more about Ackee

Stinking Toe West Indian Locust

Hymenaea courbaril A huge canopy tree growing to thirty metres the Stinking Toe is indigenous to the Amazon jungle. It has termite resistant hard timber used in building. The fruit of this brown with the shape of a large toe. The shell is hard and not easy to break. The inside substance is dry, hairy, powdery and yellow. The seed is the same shape as the fruit itself only smaller. Once the shell is open an odor is released that can be said to be just about unbearable. This is a strange thing because the locust fruit tastes so good once one engages in the eating of it. Then it’s not easy to be satisfied by eating just one. Hymenaea based herbs are said to aid in the treatment of a wide variety of health disorders such as diarrhea, dysentery, general fatigue, constipation, prostate problems, asthma, laryngitis and bronchitis as well as athlete’s foot and nail fungus. In fact, it would be difficult to name an ailment that wouldn’t be alleviated by some form of the stinking toe. Although the fruit of the locust smells like a stinking toe, the hardened sap has a beautifully fragrant aroma and has been used for many centuries to make incense. The ancient Mayans and Aztecs used copal incense in rituals of purification and sanctification and large amounts were burned on the tops of their pyramids.

Soursop

Annona muricata Buy Graviola Annona muricata powder The soursop tree is low-branching and bushy but slender because of its upturned limbs, and reaches a height of 25 or 30 ft (7.5-9 m). The fruit is more or less oval or heart-shaped, some times irregular, lopsided or curved, due to improper carpel development or insect injury. The size ranges from 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long and up to 6 in (15 cm) in width, and the weight may be up to 10 or 15 lbs (4.5-6.8 kg). The skin is dark-green in the immature fruit, becoming slightly yellowish-green before the mature fruit is soft to the touch. Its inner surface is cream-colored and granular and separates easily from the mass of snow-white, fibrous, juicy segments—much like flakes of raw fish—surrounding the central, soft-pithy core. In aroma, the pulp is somewhat pineapple-like, but its musky, subacid to acid flavor is unique. Most of the closely-packed segments are seedless. In each fertile segment there is a single oval, smooth, hard, black seed, l/2 to 3/4 in (1.25-2 cm) long; and a large fruit may contain from a few dozen to 200 or more seeds. Soursop makes a delicious drink and is enjoyed in many tropical countries of the world. It is a medicinal plant and the drink made from Soursop is renowned in folk medicine as a nerve tonic. The leaf decoction is lethal to head lice and bedbugs. Read more about the amazing Soursop Annona muricata

Guinep Mamon or Spanish Lime

Melicoccus bijugatus Another very large tree growing to thirty metres tall this is a delicious fruit It is grown and cultivated for its ovoid, green fruit, which grow in bunches. The fruit ripen during the summer. The fruit, similar to that of the related lychee, is classified as a drupe. A mamoncillo fruit has a tight and thin but rigid layer of skin, traditionally cracked by the teeth. Inside the skin is the tart, tangy, cream pulp of the fruit, which is sucked by putting the whole fruit inside the mouth (the seed takes most of the volume of what is inside the skin). Despite the light color of the fruit’s flesh, the juice stains a dark brown color, and was often used by indigenous Arawak natives to dye cloth. Read more about this delicious Jamaican or Spanish Lime

Breadfruit

Artocarpus altilis The Breadfruit was brought to Jamaica from Tahiti in 1793 by Captain Bligh. It is a staple food crop eaten around the world and prepared in many different ways. The breadfruit tree is handsome and fast growing, reaching 85 ft (26 m) in height, often with a clear trunk to 20 ft (6 m) becoming 2 to 6 ft (0.6-1.8 m) in width and often buttressed at the base, though some varieties may never exceed 1/4 or 1/2 of these dimensions. In the green stage, the fruit is hard and the interior is white, starchy and somewhat fibrous. When fully ripe, the fruit is somewhat soft, the interior is cream colored or yellow and pasty, also sweetly fragrant. Like the banana and plantain, the breadfruit may be eaten ripe as a fruit or underripe as a vegetable. For the latter purpose, it is picked while still starchy and is boiled or, in the traditional Pacific Island fashion, roasted in an underground oven on pre-heated rocks. Sometimes it is cored and stuffed with coconut before roasting. Malayans peel firm-ripe fruits, slice the pulp and fry it in sirup or palm sugar until it is crisp and brown. Filipinos enjoy the cooked fruit with coconut and sugar. Read more about this amazing fruit from the Moraceae family

Hog Apple Duppy Soursop

Buy Morinda Fruit Powder here Morinda citrifolia This plant was fed to the Hogs, hence it’s name. In recent years the amazing medicinal qualities have been realised and now they are all being collected as cures for this and that. As with the Breadfruit it was probably also brought along with Captain Bligh. Hog Apple is a small tree and grows in shady forests as well as on open rocky or sandy shores. It reaches maturity in about 18 months and then yields between 4-8 kg of fruit every month throughout the year. It is tolerant of saline soils. Morinda citrifolia L. (Noni) is one of the most important traditional Polynesian medicinal plants. The results of this study clearly indicated the anti-inflammatory potential of both orally and ip administered noni fruit juice extract. The results also suggest that there is a high probability for therapeutic effectiveness of the fruit juice against some inflammatory conditions as claimed by folklore practitioners in Jamaica. Morinda citrifolia (Noni) is reported to have antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, antihelminthic, analgesic, hypotensive, anti-inflammatory, and immune enhancing effects. Read more about Hog Apple Morinda citrifolia [youtube 492CPNEJkD8&hl]

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