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Piscidia erythrina

Jamaican Dogwood is a tropical tree of the pea family. In its native homelands it is also known as 'Fish poison tree', due to the fact that the bark and leaves contain a substance that is toxic to fish and amphibians, but not to man. It works by inhibiting the fish's ability to absorb oxygen from the water, which quickly kills them, thus making them an easy catch. The bark is also rich in tannins and has been used for tanning leather. For medicinal purposed the bark is stripped off in vertical pieces and is dried as quills. It develops a peculiar, opium like odour. Jamaican Dogwood is an extremely potent herbal remedy and must be used with due respect - large doses can be toxic. Even small doses sometimes do not produce the desired results, but instead cause convulsions, nausea and other unpleasant side effects.

Jamaican Dogwood is considered analgesic and indicated in cases where there is intense pain, especially nervous pain. Thus it can be used for nervous headaches, migraines, neuralgia, toothache as well as menstrual cramps and ovarian pain. It is very helpful in cases where intense nerve pain prevents a patient from falling asleep, but should not be used a general sedative as there are other herbs that are just as effective, but have less toxic potential. Jamaican Dogwood is strictly indicated for pain control. In Mayan medicine Jamaican Dogwood is indicated for the treatment of asthma, fever and ringworm.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.