Benefits of Jamaican Dogwood (Piscidia erythrina or Piscidia piscipula)
Oprah Magazine polled its readers and asked them what magic pill they would love to see in the future. One of the things the public wanted to see was a pill that would “Ease pain without being addictive”, which is natural seeing that pain has become such a part of modern life. Why so much pain today? Do you remember your grandparents having to take pain meds? That, as they say, is a blog for another day.
But, returning to the question of pain relief. Have you ever heard of Jamaican Dogwood? If so, you are not alone. There are hundreds of supplement manufacturers in the United States but only three manufacturers that sell the extract: Remedy’s Nutrition, Herb Pharm and Eclectic Institute.
Why would Jamaican Dogwood be an effective, non-addictive painkiller? It is suggested that Jamaican Dogwood modulates pain by affecting the opioid receptors in the brain. However, unlike oxycodone, it is non-addictive. It does not produce euphoria, so a person can continue to drive, utilize machinery and perform everyday tasks. It also relieves pain very quickly.
For a number of years, I have observed persons take a 1:1 to 1:4 extract of Jamaican Dogwood. It has relieved back pain, menstrual pain, knee and joint pain and in one case, the pain caused by a hip and knee replacement that were not ‘playing well’ together. In that last case, the person obtained pain relief within five minutes.
Why would such a fast-acting and non-addictive pain killer not be widely available? One reason is sustainability. Jamaican Dogwood does not grow in all geographical locations; it grows in tropical zones. The bark of the tree cannot be harvested for a number of years until the tree matures. As a relatively slow-growing tree, commercial farming is not profitable, so the supply is obtained by wildcraft collection. Research supports possible applications for pain relief, but there is no large-scale source to provide a basis for pharmaceutical exploitation.
Another reason that Jamaican Dogwood is not commonly utilized is its suspected ‘toxicity’. Because Jamaican Dogwood is toxic to cold-blooded animals, the leaves were used in some cultures as an easy way to catch fish. The crushed leaves stunned the fish and they could easily be harvested from the surface of the water. One of the components of Jamaican Dogwood is rotenone, used as a pesticide. However, rotenone is considered virtually non-toxic to warm blooded animals. As with any herb, it is not be used in pregnancy and lactation and caution is indicated for certain individuals.
The Oprah article noted that we are perhaps a few years away from availability of such medications that would manage pain relief without addiction or diminished capacity. Sometimes to reach the future, we need to take a few steps back...
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