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Treasures of the forests: Guinea Peach

My Magazine 2023/09
2 min
Guinea Peach, scientifically known as Nauclea Latifolia Smith, is a multi-stemmed shrub or small tree belonging to the Rubiaceae family. It is a deciduous flowering plant growing up to 9m tall. It has small branches that are thick and drooping. The bark is dark grey, fibrous, and cracked. The flowers are white-yellow and fragrant.

The plant is native to and widely grown throughout the forests of Africa ( Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central Africa, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, The Gambia, Togo and Uganda) and Asia ( Malaysia, Sri Lanka and SE Asia).

Some of the popular names of the plant are African Peach, Pin Cushion Tree, Guinea Peach, Sierra Leone Peach, Negro Peach, Bishop's Head, Angatu, Chipoka, Dhiot, Ebolo, Goat, Gongan, Gounge, Karmadodah, Kwomo, Logotomic and Miaar to name a few.

Guinea Peach is a spreading, evergreen, multi-stemmed deciduous shrub or small tree with an open canopy. The tree varies widely in height from around 10 to 30 meters according to soil and moisture conditions. The bark is dark grey, fibrous, and cracked. The flower is sweet-scented and sought by bees. The tree flowers from April to June. The fruits are not appealing but edible. The seeds are usually tiny, ovoid, numerous and brownish with a pleasant taste but could be emetic if taken in excess. The fruits ripen from July to September.

The flower of the Guinea Peach plant can be consumed raw or cooked and consumed as a vegetable. The fruit is compound, red or pinkish and round with tiny seeds. It is said to resemble a strawberry in taste and texture. The pulp is deep red, watery, sweet, and tastes like a ripe apple. In Sudan, ripe fruits are eaten, and soft drinks are prepared from these fruits, while over-ripe fruits are sometimes dried and powdered and used as a base for soft drinks.

The Guinea Peach is a valuable medicinal plant widespread in the humid tropical rainforest zone or the savannah woodlands. The edible fruit is gathered from the wild and is often sold in local markets. 

Traditionally, the plant has been reported as antimalarial, antibacterial and antiviral.

The Guinea Peach stem, bark, leaves and roots are used to treat various medical conditions such as -

  1. indigestion, gastrointestinal disorders and diarrhoea, constipation, piles and dysentery
  2. diabetes
  3. pain, fever, jaundice, liver ailments
  4. dental caries, septic mouth, toothaches
  5. malaria, leprosy, debility, hypertension, prolonged menstrual flow and sleeping sickness, filariasis, chicken pox, hernia
  6. respiratory illnesses such as tuberculosis, asthma, bronchitis, cough and colds
  7. infertility
  8. antipyretic and aphrodisiac, antidepressant and analgesic
  9. sexual asthenia (loss of strength)
  10. rashes

Always seek advice from a doctor before using a plant as a medicine.

Other uses of this plant are -

  1.  It can be used as a windbreak and planted for soil conservation
  2.  Its leaves can be used as mulch and small twigs as chewing sticks
  3.  Its roots yield a yellow dye
  4.  Its wood is termite-resistant and used for inlay work and fuel.

If you are interested in herbs and medicinal plants, contact us for more information on herbal trails. 

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