Jatoba (Hymenaea courbaril) is also known as stinking toe, copal, Brazilian copal, and South American locust. It is a large Amazon Rainforest canopy tree whose trunk can grow up to 90 feet tall and 6 feet in diameter. It is used for timber due to its strength and hardness, and its resin and bark are used for varnish, incense, and pottery glaze.
The tree is strongly anti-fungal and does not rot when it dies and falls in the rainforest, as do most other rainforest trees. Many of its benefits are related to its antifungal and antimicrobial properties. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
The bark, resin, and leaves are used for a variety of health conditions, including candida, diabetes, asthma, bronchitis, and prostatitis. Jatoba can be made into a decoction or tea, or taken as a supplement. Some users find that it has a mild stimulant effect and thus avoid consuming it at night.
Benefits of Jatoba
Jatoba’s strong antifungal nature make it quite effective for dealing with topical fungal infections such as athlete’s foot and nail fungus. Jatoba can be applied topically as well as taken internally for these conditions.
It can also be taken internally for urinary tract infections (including bladder infections) and both internally and as a douche for yeast infections.
According to Leslie Taylor, ND, many chronic conditions such as cystitis and prostatitis are now found to be fungal rather than bacterial, and thus do not respond well to prescription antibiotics, and can actually be worsened when the medications increase growth of yeast and fungus. These conditions do respond to jatoba’s antifungal properties.
Jatoba has antiinflammatory properties which render it beneficial for dealing with inflammation of the respiratory tract, as in asthma and bronchitis. It has been found to be an inhibitor of the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, which is involved in prostaglandin production. Prostaglandins are inflammatory agents, and one of them (leukotriene B4) is responsible for inflammation in air passages.
Other benefits of jatoba include relief from joint problems due to its anti-inflammatory action, and for treating internal parasites and stomach conditions. It has been shown to also have the ability to protect the liver. Jatoba also shows promise as a decongestant, for relieving diarrhea, and for increasing energy and strength. It has antiviral properties, and some herbalists recommend it for eye washes and for cleansing ears.
The leaves of jatoba can cause a hypoglycemic effect, so diabetics and hypoglycemics should consult a physician or herbalist for guidance.
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Sources & Resources
Amazon Herbs A-Z: Herbal Recipes & Remedies, V. Osalina Berman
Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Phyllis A. Balch
Miracle Medicines of the Rainforest: a Doctor’s Revolutionary Work with Cancer and AIDS Patients, Thomas David & J. Michael Beasley
The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs, Leslie Taylor, ND
This post is part of the series: Amazon Rainforest Herbs
Learn about the health benefits of a series of Amazon Rainforest Herbs, based on traditional use in indigenous communities and on research studies.