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Friday, April 20, 2012
BURMESE ROSEWOOD TREE- THREATENED IN NATIVE HABITAT: HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OFTHE BURMESE ROSEWOOD TREE
This rosewood tree is native to south and south-east
Asia and some Pacific islands. It is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List and has been extinct in Vietnam for 300 years or so. It is valued for its timber which is used in construction, boat and canoe building, furniture, tools and carvings. The heartwood is a beautiful light yellowish-brown through to red-brown while the sap wood is a creamy pale yellow. The heartwood yields a red dye.
It is a useful tree as it fixes nitrogen in the soil and the leaves which fall help to enrich the soil. However it cannot be grown with food crops because it gives shade and is a tall tree which can reach heights of 35 metres plus. It is, however, a useful windbreaker and living fence.
It has lost some of its natural habitat which has contributed to its decline, but the illegal logging and exploitation of this tree for its timber is the main factor in this decline. In the
Philippines in recent years, the tree has become a source of popular herbal remedies for such diverse health problems as headaches, rheumatoid arthritis, leprosy, T.B., menstrual cramps, diabetes and flu. As the bark and wood are employed in herbal remedies this growth in popularity may cause further depletion of these trees.
The fresh young leaves are used for skin problems including prickly heat rash, and sores, and they are also used for the same purposes in
Malaysia the juice extracted from the roots is used for syphilitic sores and mouth ulcers. The bark is used in Papua New Guinea for T.B. headaches, sores and as a purgative, while in the Solomon Islands it is used for dysentery, heavy menstruation, and gonorrhoea. It is also used for similar purposes in Vanuatu, but it is also used as a vulnerary there (for wound healing).