Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Woman’s tongue speaks to many ailments


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“Perception and ignorance are sometimes compatible.”  
I grew up in Barbados believing that “woman’s tongue” was only good for making seed bags and natural jewellery. In fact, I have earrings and necklaces made with woman’s tongue seeds and when I was at primary school, I used these seed bags and I enjoyed the experience with them.  
However, lo and behold! I was thrilled to discover that woman’s tongue is sold as medicine in some areas of the world for asthma and increasing libido.
As Barbadians, we must investigate silent doctor woman’s tongue. In the future we may have to resort to it as a revenue earner.
Moreover, this silent doctor is seen in abundance at the side of the road from the roundabout at Newton to Edey Village in Christ church. It forms a natural arch in some areas along this route.
Silent doctor woman’s tongue, rattle pod or Barbados Ebony is a well known tree in Barbados.
Its pods are oblong, 15 to 20 centimetres long, two to three centimetres wide, flat, shiny, straw-coloured and contains about six to ten seeds. It can be commercially purchased as a liquid herbal extract, dried powder or a capsule.
Research shows that the powdered bark of woman’s tongue is used to strengthen ulcerative and spongy gums, ulcers and snake-bite wounds.
The seeds are used for ophthalmic diseases and a seed paste can be applied to enlarged cervical glands. The seed oil is used for leprosy.
Both the bark and seeds are used for haemorrhoids, dysentery and diarrhoea. The flowers are applied as cataplasm on furuncles and boils, are also noted to cause retention of seminal fluid and can be used to increase sexual stamina. The leaves are used in ophthalmia (inflammation of the eye) and night blindness.  
As an Ayurvedic herb, it is used in India against high blood cholesterol, asthma, allergic rhinitis/hay fever, nettle rash and eczema. On the website an article titled Health Benefits Of Shirish (Albizzia lebbeck) posted by Swami Muktanand Puri shows that woman’s tongue can be used for many health challenges, including skin infections, allergies, itching, worm infestation, gingivitis, cough, cold, flu, paralysis, rheumatism, urine retention, throat problems, eosinophilia, and abdominal tumours.  
In conclusion, I received positive feedback about silent doctors frangipani and golden shower. This week as the spotlight shines on woman’s tongue, I do hope that you are realizing the importance of the trees located around Barbados.
• Annette Maynard-Watson, a teacher and herbal educator, may be contacted via or by telephone 250-6450.
 DISCLAIMER: It is not our intention to prescribe or make specific claims for any products. Any attempts to diagnose or treat real illness should come under the direction of your health care provider.


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