Simaba cedron

Simaba cedron

The Cedron (Simaba cedron Planch.) Is a shrub species belonging to the Simaroubaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Sapindales Order,
Simaroubaceae family,
Genre Simaba,
S. cedron species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Quassia cedron (Planch.) D.Dietr .;
– Aruba cedron (Planch.) Kuntze.

Etymology –
The term Simaba refers to the Simaroubaceae family.
The specific cedron epithet comes from the Latin citrus, cider “cedar” + -ón.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Simaba cedron is a plant native to Colombia and Central America and present in South America, eastern, central and northern Brazil, Bolivia.
Its habitat is that of the high slopes of the Atlantic rainforest, generally on well-drained soils.

Description –
The Simaba cedron is a semi-deciduous shrub, which can also grow in the form of a small tree with an elongated and sparse crown, up to a height of 4 – 7 meters in height, but with occasional specimens up to 15 meters.
This plant has a bitter bark.
The leaves are pinnate and opposite, lanceolate.
The flowers are small, light greenish flowers with whitish anthers.
The tree bears large quantities of brownish fruits, consisting of the large seed and a layer, 5 – 15 mm thick, of reddish yellow, bitter and acrid pulp.
The seeds are intensely bitter, poisonous and weigh: 1.5 – 2 grams.

Cultivation –
Simaba cedron is a plant that is used, especially in Central America for various remedies and medicinal treatments.
It is usually harvested in the wild but sometimes grown as a medicinal plant in Central America, and the seed traded for this purpose.
It is a plant from the tropics that grows in a sunny position or in partial shade and prefers well-drained soil.
The plants have a moderate growth rate and the propagation takes place by seed which must be sown as soon as it is ripe in a partially shaded position in the seedbed.
A germination rate of around 65% can be expected, with seeds germinating within 20 – 35 days.

Customs and Traditions –
Simaba cedron is a plant that enjoys an excellent reputation as a treatment for fever and snake bites in Central America.
It also produces an edible fruit, although reports on its quality vary.
The seeds are very bitter and poisonous: given in a single dose, they can cause death.
For medicinal use, the seeds are used, which are intensely bitter, and probably rich in tannins. Cotyledons are used in the treatment of fevers and as an antidote to snake bites.
They are also used in the treatment of hydrophobia (rabies) and dysentery; however, as mentioned, one must be very careful with this remedy, as an excess can lead to death.
The bark of this plant is macerated in rum to make a vermifuge, antimalarial and bitter tonic.
A decoction is obtained from the inner bark which is used as a remedy against malaria, to wash skin rashes and to assist in childbirth.
An infusion of the bark and seeds is used as an antidote for snakebite and as a febrifuge for mild or intermittent fevers.
The seeds contain the quassinoids cedrina, cedronina and cedronilina.
The bark also contains the bitter citron alkaloid.
As for the other uses, the wood, which is of medium texture, irregular grain, light weight and little susceptible to xylophagous insects, is of low quality and is used only as fuel and to make charcoal.
In addition, the seeds are scraped and the powder obtained is mixed with an ointment and once applied it serves to eliminate lice and fleas.

Preparation Method –
Simaba cedron is a plant that has a long history of use in Central and South America for medical uses in the traditional medicine of local peoples.
Both the bark and the seeds are used.
The bark is macerated in rum to prepare wormers and bitter tonics, or from the inside decoctions and infusions are prepared for the aforementioned remedies.
From the seeds it is possible to obtain powders used against some insects.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Photo source:
https://static.inaturalist.org/photos/72079152/original.jpeg
http://sweetgum.nybg.org/images3/2178/914/02704968.jpg

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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