Growing to more than 80 feet tall, the gumbo-limbo tree is known for its red, shaggy bark, which peels off in papery strips. It is this characteristic that gives it its common names—tourist tree and naked Indian—in Central America, where tourists suffering from red, peeling sunburn are a common sight.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Central America, tropical South America, Caribbean, Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Febrifuge, anti-inflammatory, tonic, and treats skin conditions, sunburn, measles, internal infections, urinary tract infections, sun stroke, colds, flu, kidney infections, anemia,
For skin conditions including blisters, swelling, exposure to poisonous plants, measles, sores, and itching, boil a 1-inch by 12-inch piece of bark in 1 gallon water for 10 minutes. Allow to cool completely, and then bathe the affected area three times daily. For all other conditions except kidney infections, consume this same preparation as a tea. For kidney infections, boil a 6-inch by 10-inch piece of bark in 3 quarts water for 10 minutes. Drink throughout the day in place of water. For headache, apply the leaves directly to the forehead.