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West Indian Elm

Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD

Scientific Name:

Guazuma ulmifolia

Botanical Family:


Other Common Name:

Ajillá, Bastard cedar, Gunstock, Hay cedar, Jackocalaloo, Pricklenut, Bois De L’Orme, Bois de hetre, Bwa Dom, Guazuma, Guácima, Cuaulote, Caulote, Contamal, Huásimo,  Mawo baba, Moena, Mutamba, Papayillo, Pixoy.

Common names in Spanish:

Bolaina negra, Bolita, Cabeza de negro, Cabeza de negrito, Caca de mico, Coco, Cerezo, Guácimo blanco, Guácimo cimarrón, Guácimo de caballo, Guácimo dulce, Guácimo de ternero, Llucho vainilla, Majagua de toro, Tablote,  Yaco de granadillo, Yaco de venado.

Parts of the plant used:

The leaves, bark, root, flowers, and fruit.

Where is it found?

This medium-size to tall tree grows in the tropical and subtropical regions Mexico, as well as Latin America (including some Caribbean countries), and India.

How is it used?

  • The bark of the tree and the fruit can be decocted in water to make a tea.
  •  The decoction can also be used as a mouthwash or externally as a wash to treat various skin disorders.

What is it used for?

  • The leaves taken as a tea have anti-diabetic (may lower blood sugar levels) properties, and help protect the stomach
  •  Decoctions made with the fruit and bark are taken as a tea against various ailments including the following:
  • Syphilis
  • Urinary problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Bronchitis
  • Coughs
  • Colds
  • Malaria
  • Fever
  • Gastritis
  • Rheumatism
  • Problems related to the spleen.
  •  A tea made from the leaves is taken to treat gonorrhea, fever, liver and kidney problems, as well as to lose weight.
  • A decoction made for the fruit is taken to treat diarrhea, kidney ailments, and colds. A decoction made with the bark of the root is taken to treat hemorrhoids and dysentery.
  • Externally, the decoction of the bark can be applied against leprosy, elephantiasis, ulcerations, and infections.
  • This plant has active ingredients that are active against various species of disease-causing bacteria.
  • The leaves are used as forage in various parts of tropical America for cows, sheep, and goats, as well as rabbits.

Leaves of G. ulmifolia
Photo: Tarciso Leão - Google images
Leaves of G. ulmifolia


Safety / Precautions

  • The safety of using products made from this plant (either internally or externally) during pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
  • Avoid taking this plant during pregnancy and lactation.
  • The plant should be taken internally only in moderation, as large doses can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with a health care professional first. Avoid self-medication and self-diagnosis: Always be on the safe side!



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