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Cabbage palm

( Anthocleista nobilis )

 

Family

Loganiaceae

 

Synonyms

cabbage tree, bontodi, fante, awudifoakete, ashanti, wasaw, hororoho

 

Character

antiparasitic, astringent, antibacterial

 

Description

The cabbage palm tree has a light grey bark and produces oblong, dark green leaves with white, fleshy flowers. Its fruit consists of an oblong berry with numerous brown seeds. It is found in northwestern forested areas of Africa.

 

Phytochemistry

The bark contains the alkaloids brucine and loganine.

 

Traditional rain forest use

In areas of Ghana, cabbage tree bark is boiled and the extract which remains is used to treat intestinal disorders, worms, and hemorrhoids. The Fantis people take root bark extracts of this plant and combine them with red pepper and ginger to use as an enema preparation for the treatment of a hernia. Bark decoctions and infusions are used for gonorrhea and sitz baths are used for colic and abdominal pain. Various tribes would make a pulp out of the bark for enemas used to treat intestinal parasites in children. tribes of the Central African Republic used cabbage palm's green leaves in powder form to treat ulcers. The leaves mixed with lemon were especially popular in areas of Sierra Leone for uterine disorders. Baths made from whole plant teas were used for skin infections and conjunctivitis.

 

Modern medicinal applications

Alcohol extracts of the root bark are used to treat blood sugar disorders such as hypoglycemia and diabetes. Compounds found in cabbage palm seem beneficial for obese diabetics who also suffer from high blood pressure. Decoctions of the root have also been used to treat fever. this particular plant is been used in Gabon and other areas as a medicinal staple.

 

Safety

This herb is not currently available for consumer use in this country, and has yet to be assessed for safety. Anecdotal reports indicate that the plant can be poisonous.

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