Also known as kapok or silk cotton tree, Ceiba is the sacred tree of the Maya. It is said to unite all three realms, with its branches reaching up into the upperworld, its roots reaching into the underworld, and its trunk connecting the two in the earth plane. It is a massive tree up to 230 feet tall, with a straight, branchless, cylindrical trunk, and huge, spreading canopy. It has buttress roots, and fruit in an oblong-ellipsoid shape. The fruit contains seeds and a mass of white or greyish floss.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, South America, Indonesia, Philippines, West Africa,
Cambodia, South Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Hepatoprotective, hypotensive, antidepressant, diuretic, emetic, purgative, aphrodisiac, tonic, laxative, astringent, purgative, antibacterial, antifungal, laxative, anti-inflammatory, emollient, antispasmodic, febrifuge. Treats gonorrhea, headache, peptic ulcers, rheumatism, leprosy, diabetes, and fatigue.
For headaches, apply the leaves directly on the forehead. For diabetes and depression, boil a 1-inch by 10-inch strip of bark in 1 gallon water. Cool, and sip throughout the day. As a laxative, boil a large handful of leaves in 2 cups water. Strain, and drink warm.