Jamaica dogwood (Piscidia erythrina, syn. Piscidia piscipula)
Other common names: Jamaican dogwood, fishfudle, fish poison bark, chijol, jabin, West Indian Dogwood.
*NOT to be confused with other species of dogwood, some of which are very toxic.
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Diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory, bitter, anti-tussive, insecticide, analgesic, nerve tonic, sedative, antispasmodic.
Due to over-harvesting concerns, please do not take from this plant unless it is plentiful in the area where you’re harvesting. Typically, root bark should be harvested late in the year.
Part used: Root bark (some use bark from the stems also.)
Constituents: Rotenone, piscidin/piscidic acid, resin, isoflavones, beta-sitosterol, tannins and others.
Neuralgia, general pain, anxiety, inflammation, irritant, insomnia, muscle spasm, cough, fever, menstrual pain, migraines.
*Due to potential overdose and toxicity concerns, only use this plant with the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner. It can be toxic to cold-blooded animals, but human use is generally considered safe. Caution is advised regardless due to lack of human lab studies. (Source: The University of Maryland)
Tinctures, teas (decocted from dried bark) and fluid extracts are common preparations for this herb. Capsules have also been used.
Not generally used as an external remedy, possibly due to its potential irritant effect(?)
Do not use in children under 12, or if pregnant or nursing. Consult with a qualified health practitioner to ensure a safe dosage. Symptoms of overdose include numbness, excessive salivation, tremors and sweating. Use caution if giving to an elderly patient or someone with serious underlying health issues. Some people experience a burning sensation in the mouth when taking orally. It may interact with psychiatric medications (especially sedatives), some pain medications and muscle relaxants, among other pharmaceuticals – ask your doctor and pharmacist to be sure this is a safe choice for you.
Due to potential interactions with anesthesia, do not take this plant within two weeks of a scheduled surgery.
I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.
Jamaica dogwood has been used as an insecticide to eliminate pests, and to poison fish (due to its content of rotenone, known to affect cold-blooded creatures).
Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.