- Medicinal Plants
- 10 Akuamma Seeds, Picralima nitida, Africa
10 Akuamma Seeds, Picralima nitida, Africa
Picralima nitida, or akuamma, is a medicinal tree native to tropical Africa. The dried seeds from this plant are used in traditional African medicine throughout West Africa, particularly in Ghana as well as in the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. The seeds are crushed or powdered and taken orally, and are mainly used for the treatment of malaria and diarrhea, and as a painkiller. All parts of the Akuamma contain milky latex.
The plant produces the alkaloids pericine and akuammine, among others. P. nitida seeds contain a mixture of alkaloids producing antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects along with analgesia in animal studies. Several of these were shown to bind to opioid receptors with weak affinity. The plant has potential to replace opioids as a natural pain reliever.
The flowers of Akuamma are small and white. They have a pleasant odor and are clustered in the leaf axilla. The large fruit changes color while ripening, from green to yellow and orange. The fruit is about 8 in. long and very smooth. The fruit contains the various seeds of Picralima nitida. The seeds are ovate and just over an inch long. They are brown or orange and lay in an orange pulp. One can harvest oil from the seeds by pressing them.
For seed cultivation, the temperature should be 75-80 °F. The seeds do not need any pretreatment and germination usually starts after one to two months in a constantly moist soil.