Melicocca bijuga L.

Nota de alcance (en)

Origin
Tropical America. Central and north of South America, West Indies, Nicaragua, Colombia, Venezuela.

Occurrence
In Venezuela the tree grows wild in the hot regions and is also cultivated for its edible fruits. It occurs from sea level up to 1000 m.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Nutritional use
The plant is cultivated as a fruit-tree due to the large quantities of fruit which it yields. The fruit is eaten raw or as a refreshing drink called leche de mamon or mamonada which is prepared by adding sugar, water and milk. Likewise sweets can be made of the pulp (aril) which adopt a beautiful salmon red colour. Although the aril is not of high nutritive value, the kernels contain an elevated quantity of protein (more than 6% ofthe humid matter). They are eaten toasted by the natives. A kind of meal is also prepared of the seeds. The flowers supply honey.

Economical utilization
The tree is also cultivated as an ornamental for its beautiful appearance, the abundant foliage of its crown makes it appropiate as a shade tree in parks, gardens and in urban places and squares. Furthermore, the flowers contain a large quantiy of pollen which is a great attraction for bees.

Medical use
When the fruit is not completely ripe, the aril has a very astringent taste. Because of its high content of tannin, the aril is therefore used as an antidiarrhoeic in the form of a refreshing drink. It is particularly given to children and may substitute for the grated pulp of an apple. The seeds may also be pulverized and mixed with honey to control diarrhoea. A decoction of the bark is used for dysentery. Curative properties for the breast and the stomach were also observed.

Seed: diarrhea

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Leaf: Infusion used to decrease or retard perspiration.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

1) South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

2) Barret, Bruce Economic Botany vol. 48, nro. 1 .-- p. 8-20 1994

3) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017

Melicocca bijuga L.
Término aceptado: 24-Mar-2017