Abarema jupunba | Genus Abarema | Family Fabaceae

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Genus Abarema

Classification: Plantae > Tracheophyta > Magnoliopsida > Fabales > Fabaceae > Abarema > Abarema jupunba

Brazil. Perennial non-climbing tree, young parts rusty pubescent, whitish corolla

in English: bread-and-cheese, soapwood

in Guyana: huriasa, huruasa, pakuri

General Information

Abarema jupunba is an evergreen tree with a dense, roundish crown; it can grow 10 – 30 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be 30 – 60cm in diameter. The tree sometimes has low buttresses. The tree is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of a parasiticidal soap and for its wood. An ornamental tree, it is suitable for landscaping.

Abarema jupunba (Willd.) Britton & Killip
Abarema jupunba (Willd.) Britton & Killip

Uses

Whole plant: Reputedly a parasiticide.

Root: Infusion of scraped roots is used to treat dandruff and to stimulate hair growth.

Bark: Macerated bark is used as a shampoo and a soap, by the Guyana Patamona. Inner bark is used for treating itchy scalp, by the Guyana Patamona. Soap with anti-parasitic properties is extracted from the bark and used by Amerindians at Kurupukari, Guyana.

Bark and Leaf: Macerated leaves and inner bark are used as a detergent or as a treatment for itchy and scaling scalp, by the Guyana Patamona.

Seed: Swallowed by young women just before engaging in sexual intercourse, as a fertility drug.

Range

  1. America – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, theGuyanas; Caribbean – Trinidad to Guadeloupe.

Habitat

Rainforests, usually in areas not subject to inundation Rain, marsh and savannah forests

Cultivation Details

Succeeds in full sun and in dappled shade Established plants are drought tolerant.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby

Edible UsesN

None known

Medicinal

The whole plant is said to be a parasiticide.

An infusion of the scraped roots is used to treat dandruff and to stimulate hair growth.

The inner bark is used for treating itchy scalp.

A soap extracted from the bark has anti-parasitic properties. The macerated leaves and inner bark are used as a detergent or as a treatment for itchy and scaling scalp

The seed is swallowed by young women just before engaging in sexual intercourse, as a fertility drug.

Other Uses

The macerated bark is used as a shampoo and a soap The soap also helps to destroy body parasites

The wood is medium-textured, straight-grained, heavy, soft, with poor mechanical properties and not very durableIt is only used for low value items such as boxes, crates and tool handles
The wood is used for fuel

Propagation

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe Sow in a sunny position in a nursery seedbed. Germination rates are usually low, with the seed sprouting in 3 – 4 weeks

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