JAMAICAN DOGWOOD: USES AND BENEFITS
Jamaican dogwood is a medium-sized tree that’s mostly found in Florida, Central America, Texas, the West Indies, Mexico and the northern part of South America. Its leaves have an irregular shape, with veins arranged on each side of a common axis. The fruit of the Jamaican dogwood tree is classified as a legume.
The bark of the tree has a very bitter taste, and is used as a kind of fish poison by natives in Central America and the West Indies. Properties of the tree bark tranquilizes the fishes, making it easy for the fishermen to catch them. Other lower animals are also affected by the herb in this way. This is why the plant is called “Jamaican dogwood”.
The bark of the plant has a light-brown colour with irregular dark patches and is very thin. It also has small scales scattered all over it. The scent of the bark is pungent and offensive. When ingested, it leaves a bitter taste and burning sensation in the mouth.
Uses Of Jamaican Dogwood
Jamaican dogwood is not only used as fish poison; it can also be used as medicine. In 1844, Western scientists discovered that the plant has anesthetic properties, and since then it has been used to relieve pain, treat stress-related disorders, uterus disorders, rheumatism, toothache, neuralgia, etc. Jamaican dogwood has a lot of medicinal uses. However, extreme caution must always be applied when using the plant, because it can have toxic effects on humans when used inappropriately. The herb should only be used under the direct supervision of a qualified medical practitioner.
How To Use Jamaican Dogwood Bark
The dehydrated bark of the Jamaican dogwood can either be prepared as a decoction, tea or tincture.
- Preparing A Decoction: Research has shown that the properties of the Jamaican dogwood tree bark does not leach easily when soaked in ordinary water. So hot water is needed to make a potent decoction. To make a decoction from the herb, add 2 or 3 grams (that’s like 1 to 2 teaspoonful) of the dried tree bark in a 250 ml cup of water and boil mildly for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Preparing Tea: It’s advisable to always use ceramic or glass cups when making healing tea with the Jamaican dogwood tree bark. This is because unlike other materials, glass and ceramic protect the tea from contamination. When metal containers are used, the herb reacts with the metals, polluting the tea. In order to stay safe you should never use cups or utensils made from aluminium to prepare herbal mixtures or store them. Make sure you follow the directions of your physician while taking the tea.
- Preparing A Tincture: When making a tincture with the Jamaican dogwood bark, add the herb (in a ratio of 1:5) to adulterated ethanol and allow it to mix properly. Normally, the herbal tincture should be taken in portions (about 1 ml to 2 ml, three times a day), but you can also follow the directions of your physician while taking it.