Jamaican dogwood is a tropical plant that is native to the West Indies, Central America, Texas, and Florida. The bark possesses a number of potent phytochemicals which gives it its medicinal properties, including flavonoids, glycosides, resin alkaloid, and rotenone. Jamaican dogwood acts mainly as a sedative and a natural pain reliever (anodyne). Jamaican dogwood bark contains a bitter, strong taste and mildly unpleasant flavor. In fact, its high amount of tannins gives it a pungent taste, and as such eating the herb produces a burning sensation in the mouth.
Even with its serious safety issues, Jamaican dogwood is effective for alleviating fear and anxiety, treating sleep issues (especially the ones resulting from nervous tension), as well as a acting as a sedative. It is also used for treating painful health conditions such as migraines, menstrual cramps, and nerve pain.
Apart from inducing sleep, Jamaican dogwood might also reduce pain and swelling (inflammation), as well as alleviate decrease muscle spasms in the internal organs of the body.
Like we mentioned earlier, do not to confuse Jamaican dogwood with American dogwood.
The Health Benefits of Jamaican Dogwood Bark
Let’s talk about the impressive health benefits of Jamaica dogwood root bark.
Possesses Potent Sedative Properties
The unique chemicals and certain toxins present in Jamaican dogwood root bark contain potent sedative properties. In fact, when consumed in small quantities, the extract, tinctures, and decoctions of the herb may help treat nervous tension, insomnia or the other common sleep problems.
Relieves Cough and Reduces Fever
Jamaican dogwood root bark is believed to be effective in the treatment of coughs as well as reduce fever because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic abilities.
Acts as a Natural Relief for Anxiety
The sedative compounds present in Jamaican dogwood root bark may help relieve stress and anxiety, even as it also induces relaxation and sleep.
Strong Pain Reliever
Contains Anti-inflammatory Properties and Relaxes Muscles
Consuming preparations made from Jamaican dogwood bark helps to reduce painful stomach cramps brought on by muscle spasms at the gastrointestinal tract level. It also reduces pain related to inflammatory health conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis.
Side Effects and Precautions
Generally, Jamaican Dogwood bark is considered safe for consumption, especially when taken under the supervision of a medical doctor. However, if used without a recommendation from a healthcare professional, a person may risk over-dosing and experiencing certain side effects, including possible toxicity, sedation, irritation, numbness, drowsiness, as well as tremors.
It is important to also note that:
- Jamaican dogwood interacts with sedative medications such as phenobarbital, zolpidem, lorazepam, and several others and promotes their sedative abilities.
- Children and the elderly should avoid the consumption of Jamaican dogwood as these age groups are very sensitive to the herb.
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers should steer clear of Jamaican dogwood as it may result in uterine contractions and miscarriage.
- People who scheduled for surgery should avoid using Jamaican dogwood as it may interact with the anesthetic.
- Do not self-medicate with Jamaican dogwood. Only use the herb under the supervision of a medical doctor.
- Due to inadequate research, right now, there is no recommended dose for Jamaican Dogwood. Due to this, the dosage is usually decided by a medical doctor based on age, health risk factors, existing medical conditions, as well as general wellbeing. If you suspect overdosage, seek medical help immediately.
The Bottom Line
It is important not to confuse Jamaican dogwood with American dogwood. This is because despite having look-alike names, mistaking one for the other can lead to a failure to treat certain health issues and may even lead to complications of already existing health conditions.
Jamaican dogwood root, bark, and leaves were traditionally used for fishing, because it was proven to contain sedative chemicals, such as the toxin rotenone which helped hunters tranquilize fish, making it easier to fish. Interestingly, these toxins have been found to help treat a host of physical and psychological medical conditions in humans, including anxiety, insomnia, muscle spasms, pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism, fever, coughs, and arthritis. Evidently, the bark is the part of the plant that is commonly used for medicinal purposes. However, only use Jamaican Dogwood under the expert supervision of a healthcare professional to avoid possible side effects.
It may appear discomforting to read about the potential risks of taking Jamaican dogwood, it is considered fairly safe for consumption as long as you take the right dosage and avoid side effects, medication interactions or other potential health risks. A doctor can help you decide the right dosage and thus treat painful health conditions such as arthritis or rheumatism, relieve muscle cramps and spasms, reduce anxiety, treat sleep problems and so on.