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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Phaleria macrocarpa, The God's Crown

Phaleria macrocarpa, The God's Crown
Glistening from its tree, this shiny red fruit invites the forbidden. It lures with a sense of ripeness, an urgency to be plucked from its branches and eaten. But stop! Refrain from this intention because the possibility of poisoning or even death may await.

The bounty of the rainforest is often a mystery with a plethora of medical qualities hidden beneath the towering canopy of indigenous foliage. This is one kind of fruit that is a medical wonder, which was been taken from the forest about four centuries ago.

Mahkota Dewa (Macrocarpa phaleria) means 'God's Crown', a plant from the family of Thymelaeaceae. The name given to this fruit implies that it descends from heaven, as a benediction from divinity to help mankind. God's Crown is an indigenous plant from the island of Papua (Irian Jaya) located in the far east of the Indonesian archipelago.

In Papua Nugini, which is situated in the east of Papua, more specifically in the area of Maprik about a 2.5 hour journey from the town of Wewak, a God's Crown tree was founded, about nine meters in height, bearing fruit on every branch. Some of the local residents when asked what Mahkota Dewa was used for, reported that the tree is only decorative and its fruit extremely poisonous. The same answer was given to another journalist from Kompas daily newspaper that happened to come across a similar tree in a village near Timika. It's quite ironic that the local people know nothing of this fruit that is currently being sourced by outsiders to heal many kinds of disease.

Centuries ago samples of the Mahkota Dewa tree were once transported from the island of Papua by traditional Javanese medicine men and planted in the palace grounds of Solo and Jogyakarta. These men of wisdom had apparently developed a particular way of processing the poisonous fruit to make it a useful healing source. But knowledge of this medicine remained secret and age-old recipes were kept within the walls of the Javanese palaces for generations before news finally filtered out. The Javanese referred to this fruit as 'Makuto Dewo' and Chinese herbalists named it 'Pau', the patrimony drug.

Now this plant is no longer the secret property of a wise circle of healers. Due to its economic value and medicinal benefits, many have started to cultivate the Mahkota Dewa in their home compounds. The tree grows with ease and does not require any special treatment or handling. It can grow in areas from 0 - 1000 meters above sea level; can reach 5 meters in height and effortlessly produces ample flowers that eventually develop as fruit.

After planting seeds it only takes one year before fragrant flowers appear that in due course transform into green coloured young fruit. In a maturing process the fruit then become a dazzling red tone in shapes that range from a ping-pong ball to apple size in appearance. For those not familiar with the Mahkota Dewa, its fruit can be quite alluring and flourishes within convenient reach all over the tree, down the trunk and the branch armpits.

The entire component of the crop, seeds, fruit, leaves and branches all contain medicinal properties. The Mahkota Dewa can be utilized as single drug and or mixed with other herbs to strengthen its effects and to neutralize its poison. Although Mahkota tastes rather sweet, it is most important to remember that it cannot be consumed direct or prior to medical processing. It is a highly poisonous plant that can be fatal.

However, there is a certain technique to make it safe for traditional medicinal consumption. The immature green fruit as well as the ripened red fruit can be shredded and sun-dried. Take one tablespoon (no more) of this dried shredded flesh and mix it with a glass of boiling hot water to make a beverage infusion. It is believed that the flesh of the Mahkota Dewa fruit contains the anti-oxidant compounds that fight cancer. This is not recommended for pregnant women as consumption of this non-prescribed alternative medicine can endanger the unborn fetus.

Mahkota Dewa is often used as a therapeutic healing alternative for an assortment of diseases. Healing time varies depending on the patient's body weight and severity of the ailment. A chronic disease such as cancer requires approximately eight months curing time with dosage is two tablespoons of dried shredded flesh in a glass of hot water. If the condition shows sign of improvement the dosage is lessened.

Mahkota Dewa is believed to cure other diseases and health ailments such as high blood pressure, impotency, insomnia, influenza, rheumatism, allergies, heart disease, bladder complaints, uric acid and liver problems. However it is important that this traditional medicine is not consumed without prior consultation with a recommended herbalist.

REference by -bijanto-: Mar 2 2006, 02:07 AM

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