Scientific name – Spondias mombin Linn.
Common names – yellow mombin, hog plum, jamaica-plum, ijikara (Igbo) and iyeye (Yoruba).
A deciduous tree up to 60 ft. high with a dense, spreading crown. The bole can be 60cm or more in diameter with a thick, corky bark. The leaves are compound, comprising five to nine pairs of leaflets. The flowers occur on terminal stalks. The fruits are ovoid, small and yellow. They have leathery skin and thin layer of pulp; and are single-seeded.
Parts used – seeds, flowers, leaves and bark.
The hog plum tree has multiple uses. Due to its numerous and beautiful large panicles of small white flowers, it is usually planted as an ornamental shade tree. The wood is ideal for general carpentry, tool handles, boxes, fuel, matches, hunting and fishing implement. It is also utilised for live fence posts and widely cultivated in the tropics for its edible fruit. The pulp can be eaten fresh or made into wines, jams, desserts or juice. Juices improve with keeping overnight as the mild astringency of the fresh fruit disappears. There is great variation in fruit quality from region to region, some being sweet and pleasant to taste while others are quite disagreeable in flavor. The young leaves are used as vegetable and consumed raw or cooked. The wood ash is used in soap making.
In addition to these benefits, the hog plum has many therapeutic applications in many traditional medicines as anti-diarrhea, anti bacterial, anti-fungal, analgesic, digestive and aphrodisiac functions. Documentation and research carried out on parts of the species indicate its potential benefits for many health conditions including:
Lower back pain and rheumatism – Both the bark and flowers are used. The flowers may not be readily available and so you can make do with the bark alone. An infused oil of the leaves is also beneficial and used as a local massage to reduce muscular and rheumatic pains of the joints.
Chronic pains- Leaf extracts are known for their analgesic potentials. Take for 2-3 X daily for all forms of body aches and pains.
Gonorrhoea- A decoction of the bark and leaves is used as a remedy for gonorrhoea. Take half a tumbler three times daily.
Infertility in women- Young tender leaves are pounded and extracted for all cases of infertility. Infusions of the leaves are also taken internally and applied topically as a lotion by women in confinement and those with a history of miscarriage.
Fibroids- Ground to a powder, the seeds may be taken as a hormone regulator to help shrink uterine fibroids. Take 1 teaspoon 2 X daily.
Cough- A decoction of the bark is taken for severe cough with inflammatory symptoms. An infusion of the leaves is also highly beneficial.
Sore throat- Fresh or dry leaves can be used. The infusion should be gargled 2-3 X daily.
Toothache– The leaves are held to have anodynal, healing and haemostatic properties. It is taken as a mouth-wash for toothache.
Chronic skin afflictions- Ashes from the leaves and barks are added to black soap, shea butter or palm kernel oil for their anti-microbial properties. The dry powdered bark is applied as a wound-dressing in circumcision and may be sprinkled directly on sores. Leaves extracts can also be applied to new sores to prevent infection. Your skin will smile after a short while of consistent applications.
Acne- plant extracts exhibit antibacterial properties, and a decoction of the bark is considered antiseptic.
Athletes foot- Scrap the fresh bark and apply 2 X daily. You can also use powder from the dried leaf and root bark. This takes care of the worst fungal infections of the feet.
Chronic constipation -The fresh leaves are purgative in effect. Eat raw or cooked.
Nausea– Freshly prepared decoction with pure honey has been used to take care of nausea and indigestion problems.
Many other uses of hog plum include:
Digestive track problems, stomach aches/troubles, angina, urethritis, hemorrhages, congestion and colds.
Plant extracts are in general use for bronchitis and as a poison-antidote.
A root-macerate is used for colic with pain. Extracts from young fresh leaves is given to children for stomach-troubles. Also the crushed leaves is said to be a wonderful remedy for helminthiasis in children.
Root-preparations are said to be febrifugal and are sometimes prescribed with other medicinal plants as decoctions or baths for this effect. The leaf infusions is also powerful against malarial fever and a great diuretic.
A leaf-decoction is taken in for dysentery and other intestinal disorders.
The root decoction is sometimes used as an aphrodisiac. The fruits can be fermented into a kind of beer and also used as an aphrodisiac. The fruit generally makes a refreshing drink.
The leaves are used on malignant tumors and it is noted that decoctions of the bark is administered for uterine cancer.
A combination of the leaf-bark preparation is great for postpartum hemorrhage.
The hog plum is indeed an amazing herb that is rich in anti oxidants but unfortunately, threatened plant specie. To continue benefiting from its wide range of health potentials, the specie should be conserved to prevent its extinction.