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    Traditional and Modern Day Uses For Jagua

    Jagua_Fruit_Vertical_Section_Plus_Whole_Cropped The jagua tree has been used for as long as can be remembered throughout the rainforest’s of Central and South America. Like many of the rainforest plants, the jagua tree is treasured for its many uses as detailed below. These days the jagua tree is still native throughout the biodiverse rainforest’s of Latin America, and the indigenous people still utilize the trees as they have for generations upon generations. Jagua fruit is the most treasured part of the tree, because it provides so many resources. The fruit is eaten when ripe, and made into beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and desserts. The unripe fruit is used for traditional body art, for everyday wear and for celebrational occasions. When jagua is used to stain the skin it also offers protection from some biting insects (especially sand flies) and also offers camouflage and some protection from the sun. It’s not at all uncommon to see young infants completely covered in jagua! Jagua is even used to stain ropes and fabrics. Jagua fruit also has various medicinal purposes, which are considered ‘Traditional Knowledge’ these medicinal uses are practiced throughout the rainforest. Today there are many scientists working on Western Medicines who are currently researching some of the interesting phytochemicals of the jagua tree. After all, many of our Western Medicines were derived from other rainforest plants and the traditional knowledge that highlighted their medicinal benefits. In list format below I have detailed both the modernday and traditional uses for the different parts of the henna plant; these uses are known as Ethnobotanical uses.

    Traditional and Modernday Uses for Jagua:
    Fruit – provides a valuable food source for most of the year.

    • Ripe fruit is eaten raw
    • The fruit is also processed to produce; desserts (e.g. bullet of jenipapo), jams, syrups, non alcoholic beverages and sherbets, wines and liqueurs (e.g. huitochado, jenipapada)

    Fruit – provides a valuable source of traditional medicines.

    • Used to treat such ailments as; Colds, sore throats, asthma, chest infections and other respiratory problems
    • Used for its antiseptic, antibiotic, bactericidal and fungicidal properties
    • Used for its insect repelling qualities
    • Used for protection from sunburn

    Fruit – provides a valuable source of natural dye

    • Used to decorate the body
    • Used to decorate fabrics and other natural materials

    Wood – a quick growing sustainable supply with a tree that is native to the Amazon

    • Firewood; relatively young trees, 5 years old
    • Timber; relatively young trees, 10 years old

    Bark – a by-product of firewood and timber

    • High in tannin; used for treating leather
    • Fibres; used for cordage

    Leaves – available all year round

    • Fodder; eaten by cattle

    Monday, March 5th, 2007 at 12:10 amand is filed under Fact or Fiction?, Traditional and Customs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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