Medicine Trees – Tanzania

As we walk through the Mosquito River Village our guide Sunday points out the Muiri Tree, locally known as the Medicine Tree and also named Red Stinkwood in Kenya. The real name is Prunus Africana. Liquid extracts from bark are used in the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate gland hypertrophy. Leaves are used as an inhalant for fever. Water is added to the pounded bark, and the red liquid is used as a remedy for stomach-ache; bark extract may be used as a purgative for cattle. Word about the curative powers of the this tree reached European pharmaceutical companies around several decades ago. Today it is in danger of extinction due to over-harvesting.

We also see a Euphorbia Tree. The sap of this tree is used to enhance scarring that is so important for the various face designs of the tribes people. However the milky latex of the tree is extremely poisonous and can cause blindness, severe skin irritation and poisoning (when ingested) with humans and animals. However when properly used this plant can serve as purgative or drug curing ulcers.

Across the street from the village center are rice fields. They are diligently maintained and watered by hand to produce the two yearly crops so needed by the people in the area.


  1. Sounds like we can learn a thing or two from medicinal plants from Tanzania! While some might regard the effects of such plants as pseudoscience, the evidence that they’ve produced in healing the locals over years, if not centuries, goes to show that we ought to consider their medicinal qualities in modern science…just a thought!


  2. I heard about this tree before. It is said all the prostate supplements claimed to have ingredients from this tree, but due to the scarcity of the supply, it contains very little now.


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