History And Traditional Uses Of Jagua
Jagua has been used for as long as can be remembered throughout the rainforests of Central and South America. Like many of
the Rainforest plants, the Jagua Tree is treasured for its many uses:
- It is a fast growing tree, and it’s wood is harvested, for fuel and timber.
- It’s over ripe fruit is harvested as a valuable food source. A host of traditional beverages, jams, deserts and alcoholic beverages are also made from the over ripe fruit.
- It’s fruit in various formats, is also valued for its medicinal purposes, it is used to help with sore throats, bronchitis, asthma, rheumatism, itching, it is has bactericidal properties amongst others.
- Its unripe fruits contain the active ingredient ‘Genipine’ which is responsible for the blue/black staining power of the juice.
- This juice is used to paint the skin with both intricate and bold geometric patterns for ceremonial and celebrationary purposes
- The juice is also used to paint the skin to offer protection from the sun and as an insect repellent, specifically sand flies. You will often see small children and babies almost entirely covered with Jagua Colouring.
It is most likely that these many valued uses are the reason why this fruiting tree is so well dispersed throughout all of
tropical and Sub tropical Central and South America.
No one can say exactly how long Jagua Body painting has been carried out by the indigenous people of Amazonia. A lot of the
tribes are very remote and are still completely cut off from ‘Western Civilisation’. However as the world becomes a smaller
place, there are now indigenous people who have opened up their worlds to us. For example, the Wounan & Emberra of Panama
and Columbia, the Bakairi of Brazil and the Kadiewéu of Paraguay.
It is apparent however that the Jagua Body Painting Tradition is an old one, it goes back as long as people can remember.
Passed down through the generations, different tribes have different techniques for preparing their paint, different tools
and methods of application and many varied reasons and occasions for applying it and of course they also have different
designs and patterns to symbolise and capture different aspects of their cultures.
Jagua Tattoos will no doubt be commonplace throughout Western Youth Culture in the not too distant future, just as Henna
Tattoos are now available everywhere. The introduction of this amazing product to the western world is an opportunity for
the developing countries of South America to export a new product at a fair price. You can be assured that we can trace
our products back to the rainforest where the fruit is harvested responsibly and the local economy benefits accordingly.