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Trumpet Tree

Trumpet tree grows in Central and South America and the Caribbean and can reach up to 20m in height. The tree is fast growing and the trunk is hollow, it has large, lobed leaves which can be up to 30cm in diameter and bears grey-brown fruits, which are popular with bats.

Traditional Uses

Trumpet Tree

Scientific Name:
(Cecropia peltata – Cecropiaceae)
Other Names:
Snake Wood Tree, Bois Trompette, Bois Canon, Embauba
Parts Used:
Leaves, Latex

In Jamaica trumpet tree is reputed to be a remedy for sore throat, hoarseness and for nerves. In Cuba the latex from the trunk is used to treat warts, corns, calluses, herpes and skin ulcers. The leaves are used to treat liver disorders and to increase menstruation. In Trinidad, the leaves are used to treat colds, fever, flu, snake and scorpion bites.

Across Latin America a tea made from trumpet tree leaves is regarded as a cure for asthma and is popularly used for various upper respiratory tract infections. Trumpet tree is also used to treat diabetes and high blood pressure, for childbirth and menstruation and to strengthen the heart.

Modern Research & Uses

Many traditional uses of the plant have been confirmed by recent clinical research. The ability of trumpet tree to reduce high blood pressure could be the result of ACE-inhibiting activity in some of its plant chemicals. In 2002 a US Patent identified phytochemicals which have cardiotonic and diuretic properties.

Independent research has not yet confirmed the anti-asthmatic activity of trumpet. There is however research to suggest that an alcohol extract of trumpet leaf is active against staphylococcus aureus.

Trumpet tree leaf has been used to treat diabetes and its hypoglycaemic properties have been confirmed in recent animal trials. Studies have also confirmed the plant's wound healing properties.

Plant Chemicals

Trumpet tree has among its plant chemicals: glycosides; lipids; alkaloids; flavonoids; isoorientin; chlorogenic acid; tannins; resins; ambain; cecropin; cardenolid; leucocyanidin; methyl-salicylate; proanthocyanidins; ursolic and stearic acids. The latex contains an alkaloid, cowleyin.

Caution!
People on medication for heart problems, diabetes or blood pressure should not use trumpet tree unless under supervision as the activity of the plants chemicals can increase the activity of those drugs. Not to be used in pregnancy!
 

Other Uses

Trumpet tree is used to make rafts and for boards and palings.

References

  • Andrade-Cetto, A & Cardenas Vasquez, R – Gluconeogenesis Inhibition and Phytochemical Composition of Two Cecropia Species – Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2010) Vol.130(1) July. Pp 93-97
  • Asprey, GF & Thornton, P - Medicinal Plants of Jamaica Parts 1-4 - West Indian Journal of Medicine vol. 2-4 (1953-1955)
  • Nayak, BS - Cecropia Peltata has wound-healing potential: A preclinical study in a Sprague Dawley Rat Model – Int J Low Extrem Wounds(2006) Mar;5(1): 20-6
  • Nicasso, P et al - Hypoglycemic effect and chlorogenic acid content in two Cecropia species (2005) John Wiley
  • Rojas, J J et al - Screeing for Anti-microbial Activity of Ten Medicinal Plants Used in Colombian Folkloric Medicine: A Possible Alternative Treatment of Non-nosomical Infections - BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine (2006); 6:2
  • Taylor, L - The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs - (2005) - Square One Publishers
  • www.tropilab.com

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