It was on Roatan that we discovered the somewhat unusual medicinal properties of anima ola. Here, Clara Linetnforbs, a bush medicine healer, explained that it's used along with a "half-dead' or dead cockroach and some house paint to remove nails that have been stepped on. Luckily, it's got some other, less strange applications. Anima ola is a small tree of 1 to 10 feet in height. Its leaves are usually broadly ovate-lanceolate, and green with a lighter green or white edge. The margins are serrated.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, West Africa, Caribbean, Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antibacterial, antifungal, diuretic, hypotensive, febrifuge, rubefacient, anti-inflammatory, and heals upset stomach, laryngitis, diarrhea, lymphatic infection, rheumatic arthritis, painful menstruation
For rheumatic arthritis, heat the leaves over a fire or in an oven set to low. Wrap the warm leaves on the affected area. The same treatment is used for fevers or to reduce body temperature. For bacterial infection, fungal infection, water retention, hypertension, upset stomach, laryngitis, diarrhea, and lymphatic infection, juice the leaves, drinking 1/2 to 1 cup per day until symptoms subside. Mixed with double the amount of water, it is drunk for painful menstruation. For bacterial and fungal infections on the skin, chew or mash the leaves, and apply directly to the affected area.