Breadfruit leaves have been used as herbal remedy in various countries

Breadfruit tree taken in my yard

Breadfruit leaves are good to lower high blood pressure and they are favourite medicinal herbs among Jamaicans.

Breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) is one of Jamaica's favourite food. We eat breadfruit for breakfast, we eat it for lunch and of course we eat it at dinner time. It can be boiled, roasted or baked and eat with our national dish, ackee and codfish also called salt-fish. However, the roasted one is the favourite among most Islanders.

Breadfruit is a species of the flowering tree in the mulberry family, Moraceae. It is native to the Philippines but was brought to Jamaica by Captain William Bligh from Tahiti in 1973 on his second trip to the South Pacific. 

The trees are found all over Jamaica, in every yard, as well as along the streets and the plants are reproduced by sending out suckers all around the main tree which can be easily replanted elsewhere.

The leaves, the fruit, and the sap that runs from the tree are all utilized by most individuals in Jamaica. I remembered as a child, one of my aunts would always tie a few quail crushed breadfruit leaves on her forehead to alleviate headache. Today some individuals still practice this habit because they say it is very effective to ease their headaches as well as migraines.

The tea and its health benefits

A tea which is also made from the leaves is very effective to treat hypertension or high blood pressure. I grew up to see my grandmother, mother and aunts using the leaves to make a tea and they did not wait until they were sick to utilize it. The tea can also be used as a preventative medicine. It will be able to normalize the blood pressure and it is also used to treat diabetes. It has been researched and discovered that the leaves contain camphorol. It is good for weak bladder and it is also used as a bio-insecticide.

The sap

Many individuals are ignorant of the fact that we can also used the sap or milk which runs from the bark of the tree to treat contagious ailments of the skin to prevent these ailments from spreading and also to promote healing. This is done by applying the milk directly to the ailments. Therefore, the breadfruit leaves are really accompanied by the sap as well as the fruit to be used as medicinal herbs for herbal therapy.

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Updated July 12, 2019

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