The TALISAY tree, from the family Combretaceae, with its scientific name “terminalia catappa”, this plant is also known as the “Indian Almond”, “Tropical Almond”, or the “Umbrella Tree” in English. This species can be spotted growing all over the Philippines. Talisay is considered to be one of the most common inland trees because of its umbrella-like shade and is a common tree that is often found along coastal areas, roadsides and parks. Being in this type of habitat, this tree is salt and drought tolerant, best grown under full sun and is also resilient to strong winds during the rainy season. Often planted as a shade and ornamental tree due to its large broad leaves and branches that extend horizontally, which then form tiers or levels. This tree would certainly help provide protection and shelter for any passers-by.
The fruit is said to be edible, tasting similar to almonds. Parts of the tree produce tanin, black and yellow dye and has medicinal properties. Wood is used for its lumber.
When we were in childhood years, we used to collect talisay seeds. We were removing the soft pericarp and breaking the hard shell in order to get the edible kernel. We were doing this just for fun and not to satisfy our hunger. Hundreds of seeds are not enough to fill one’s stomach.
The seed pericarp is also edible with a sweet-acid taste. I never knew this when I was a child. My father cut down our talisay trees because they are favorite breeding grounds of mariposa butterflies. Mariposa larvae cause skin itchiness, tilas in Tagalog.
Cutting down talisay tree was not a good idea because it has many medicinal uses. Talisay contains sudorific, antihelmintic and astringent properties. It is also believed to help cure conditions such as worms, mammary pain, bilious diarrhea, dysentery, gastric ailments, rheumatic joints, tonsillitis and more. It is also believed that Talisay seeds are used to treat sexual dysfunction.
1) The leaves applied to the head and sides are refreshing and sudorific – a medicine that causes or increases sweating.
2) The red leaves and fruits are used to expel worms.
3) The leaves are mixed with oil and rubbed on the breast to cure pain.
4) The bark is used against gastric fevers and bilious diarrhea.
5) The bark is also antidysenteric. Dysentery is infection of the intestines marked by severe diarrhea.
6) The sap of the tender leaves, mixed and cooked with the oil of the kernel. The solution is used to cure leprosy.
7) The decoction of bark is used as remedy for gonorrhoea and leucorrhoea. Gonorrhoea is a common venereal disease caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae; symptoms are painful urination and pain around the urethra. Leucorrhoea discharge of white mucous material from the vagina; often an indication of infection.
8) The bark is recommended as a cure for bilious fever.
9) The juice of the young leaves is employed in the preparation of an ointment for scabies, leprosy, and other cutaneous diseases, also useful for headache and colic.
10) The leaves are macerated with palm oil and applied as a remedy for tonsillitis.
Edibility / Nutrition
– Kernels are edible, with a sweet-acidic pericarp.
– Seeds are a good source of minerals; in descending order: potassium, calcium, magnesium, sodium.
– Red leaves are used to expel worms.
– Fruit is said to be purgative.
– Leaves mixed with oil are rubbed onto the breast to relieve mammary pain.
– Bark is used for gastric ailments, bilious diarrhea and dysentery.
– The sap of young leaves mixed with the kernel oil has been used for the treatment of leprosy.
– Bark decoction has been used for the treatment of gonorrhea and stomach cramps.
– Leaves are applied to rheumatic joints.
– Juice of young leaves used for scabies and other cutaneous diseases, headaches and colic.
– Leaves macerated in oil has been used for tonsillitis.
– In Sri Lankan folklore, juice of tender leaves used for pains, including headaches.
– In India, the bark is used as a diuretic and cardiotonic; leaves used for headache.
– In Nigeria, leaves macerated in palm oil used for tonsillitis; stems and bark used for sexual dysfunction.
– Seeds have been used for sexual dysfunction.
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