Skip to content

Amazon Rainforest Trees: Medicinal | Curatives | Timber | Groceries

In the extensive Amazon forest grows a great variety of medicinal, edible, aphrodisiac trees and more than 50% of them timber.

Among these wooden colossi, La Ceiba or Kapok ( Ceiba pentranda ) stands out, a true titan that can reach up to 70 meters in height.

The rubber tree and its exploitation at the hands of the indigenous genocide deserve a separate mention to delve into such a complex and sensitive issue that seriously affected the original inhabitants of these lands.


Medicinal Trees

The fruit of the Algarrobo tree (Hymenea courbaril) is widely used by the indigenous people of the Amazon to combat bronchial conditions and its bark is used to build canoes.

For his part the Chitato, Majagüito (Muntingia calabura) is a small tree that has smooth bark, which has sweet and juicy edible fruit, with a high content of minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamin C. Its leaves are used to treat diseases of the respiratory tract, measles and smallpox.

Another tree with healing properties is the Clove (Syzygium aromaticum, Eugenia caryophillus) . It contains eugenol, with anesthetic properties to calm dental pain, it is also anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and helps lower blood sugar levels.

The Chuchuhuasa (Maytenus macrocarpa, M. laevis) is a large tree that can reach up to 30 meters in height, it usually grows in the Amazon basin of Colombia , Ecuador and Peru , they use its bark macerated in liquor.

It has many medicinal uses, it is used as a restorative, to cure osteoarthritis and rheumatism.

It is said to act effectively against tumors and is recommended to treat stomach cancer.

Timber trees

Within the timber trees we can mention the Charapilla (Dipteryx odorata), known in Colombia and Venezuela as the Sarrapia, Tonga or Yape, which abounds in the Venezuelan Amazon region .

This tree can reach up to 40 meters in height, it is made of very hard wood, and is widely used in the manufacture of furniture, beds, floors, perfumes, among others.

The genus Cumala (Virola sp.). It includes several species which have a tall size, straight trunk and oily fruits from which an oil is extracted for lighting.

Its greatest use is as a timber species, used by local residents as sawn wood to build their homes, and in the regional timber industry.

Another of the species considered timber is the tree called Olla de mono (Lecythis pisonis) native to the Amazon basin. It is found in Brazil , Colombia and Peru, on high ground, with good drainage.

It is a tree that reaches a height of 40 meters. The seeds of the Olla de mono are edible.

In addition, its wood is very durable and widely used in rural construction and carpentry.

Also within this group are the Cedrela odarata , commonly known as Cedar , as well as Mahogany, Rosewood, and Oak .

Indiscriminate logging, deforestation and fires caused by extensive livestock farming and illicit crops threaten the conservation of the habitat of many of these species.

Aphrodisiac trees

Cumaceba (Swartzia polyphylla) is made of hard wood used to make spears, arrows, and its bark is macerated in liquor to prepare a drink considered aphrodisiac and anti-rheumatic.

Many combine the Cumaceba with the bark of other trees such as Chuchuhuasa to enhance its aphrodisiac properties.

Another of the trees that can be found in the Amazon that has invigorating and aphrodisiac properties is the Huacapú (Minquartia guianensis). Its roots are used to prepare a liquor known as 21 roots.

There is also the Isula Huayo (Siparuna guianensis). Shrub whose fruits are consumed ripe and are considered by the inhabitants of the region as an effective digestive, in addition to attributing aphrodisiac properties.

Fruit and food trees

In the Amazon, many of the fruits that its trees bear are consumed by its inhabitants, some of them in their original state and others as an ingredient for typical culinary preparations of the region .

Here we can mention the Charichuelo (Garcinia macrophyllia) , a tree that bears a fruit with a green shell, with a white pulp with an acid taste, which is consumed raw or in the preparation of typical drinks , juices, ice creams and jams. .

Also as an edible tree present in the Amazon jungle is the Chigo, Guamo Chigo (Campsiandra comosa) , which grows on the banks of rivers , it has some seeds that once ground are used to obtain a kind of brown flour called chiga and with it they prepare typical dishes such as arepas, atoles or mazamorras.

Another of the trees with edible fruits is the large and leafy Chopé (Gustavia longiflora), which bears a small brown fruit that, when ripe, has a quite pleasant flavor.

We cannot fail to mention the so-called Cherry of the Amazon , a sweet fruit that comes from the Yumanasa tree (Muntingia calabura). As well as the Uvilla or Uva de Monte (Pourouma cecropiaefolia, P. multifida), consumed in its original state or for the preparation of different foods and drinks such as uvachado.

Ceiba: the giant of the Amazon

The Ceiba pentandra , also known as Kapok , is an ancient tree that can reach up to 70 meters in height and its trunk can reach more than 3 meters in diameter, with tabular roots.
It is a fast-growing tree that occurs naturally in the Amazon basin in the lowlands of the flooded savannahs or varzea,

Due to the high commercial value of its wood, it is considered a threatened species.

It is ironic because the loggers do not see that the true treasure of the ceiba tree is not its wood but its fruits from which a kind of organic cotton also called vegetable silk sprouts, with which pillows, blankets, clothes are made and it does not generate any type of allergy

There are many stories and legends surrounding this tree . It is said that at night it is frequented by evil sorcerers, goblins and giant animals.

The tribes of the Amazon jungle coincide in pointing out that the Ceiba tree has at its base a great door invisible to human eyes, which serves to communicate the beings of the world of men with the Amazonian spiritual world.

While others talk about the voice of the tree, which seems to roar when the wind enters the cavities of the trunk.

the rubber tree

A special mention deserves the rubber tree ( Hevia brasiliensis ), whose exploitation in its two peaks during the first half of the 20th century brought considerable profits for its large trading houses thanks to misery, barbarism, slavery, torture and indigenous genocide.

This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)