Other names: South American Cherry, Copal, Locust
Botanical name: Hymenaea courbaril (Fabaceae-caesalpinioideae)
Jatoba is a big, exciting and fine tropical tree growing in tropical America. The tree is part of the Hymenaea tree family. The name Hymeneae derives its origin from the Greek word Hymen, meaning the God of marriage. The Indians use the Jatobaís resin to make love potions and to create atmosphere in wedding ceremonies. They burn the resin to create a pleasant, aromatic pine scent.
Jatoba and its prehistoric Hymenaea tree family have grown on the Earth for millions of years. Jatobasí, as well as any Hymenaea treesí resin is extraordinary. This orange, sticky gum like substance oozes from the tree in order to protect wounded bark. After millions of years, the resin has fossilized and formed amber. The insects and plants stuck in it provide scientists with pre-historical information.
THE FRUITS AND THE FLOWERS
Jatoba grows slowly- approximately one meter per year. The height can be up to 45 m (148 ft), and the trunk might reach 2m (6.5 ft) in diameter. A fully grown tree can be hundreds of years old, with a beautiful round and bushy crown. Jatoba can be recognized by its fascinatingly special leaves. Each leaf is formed from two narrow leaves matched like a couple. The wood is used to manufacture expensive furniture. Due to its popularity, Jatoba is becoming an endangered species.
When it blooms it has lovely white, fragrant flowers. Jatoba bears fruit from December to July, the fruits being nutlike capsules of 7-12 cm (2.5-4.5 inch) in length. The mealy inside smells like a strong cheese. Despite the powerful aroma, the inside is not only edible but also very nutritious.
TREE HEALS POWERFULLY
The medical uses of Jatoba are wide and impressive. The resin has been used to treat upper respiratory infections. The medicinal tea made out of bark is even used to treat sore eyes. The tea is also used to kill intestinal parasites and cure yeast infections and Candida in the stomach. The bark tea is used externally to treat foot and nail fungus. The medicinal tea made from bark and leaves stimulates digestion and is a refreshing natural energy tonic if taken in correct doses and prepared properly. The Jacob fruit itself is used to cure mouth ulcers and the tea made from the leaves is also used to treat diabetes.