Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kapok Tree and its benefits

Kapok tree is a large and erect tree that reaches a height of 15 meters height. Its trunk is cylindrical in shape, usually bearing scattered & large spines. Its branches are distant whorls and spread horizontally. Leaves are compound with 5-8 lanceolate leaflets, 6-15 cm long on both ends.  This tree is native to tropical countries and can be found anywhere in the Philippines.

Its bark is used as a vomitive and diuretic. It is commonly used to treat fever and diarrhea. It is also applied on wounds and swollen fingers. A decoction of its flowers is used to relieve constipation. An infusion of the leaves is cure for cough, hoarseness, intestinal catarrh and urethritis. The tender leaves are administered for gonorrhea.

Here's more, the unripe fruit is regarded as a demulcent (soothing medicine; provides a protective coating on mucus membranes) and an astringent. It is also used as emollient. A decoction of the roots is given for chronic dysentery, diarrhea, ascites (abnormal accumulation of serious fluid in the abdominal cavity) and anasarca (edema characterized by accumulation of serum in the connective tissue of the body). Its gum is an astringent and useful as a styptic (having a harsh acrid, acid flavor). It is given with milk as cooling laxative to children. It is also used for incontinence of urine of children.

Aside from its medicinal benefits, its fruits when old enough is used as insert/body for pillows because it has cottony and soft properties. This tree can last 50-75 years, though its not best used as lumber but because of its other unique properties, it is still widely planted across the country.

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