Annatto, Bixa orellana
Most commonly known as a natural food coloring agent, the seeds of the Annatto tree are actually highly medicinal. As the Annatto tree fills with quaint pink flowers, they soon transform into outrageously bright red soft-spikey pods, protruding from all angles of this tropical shrub. It is as if the tree is dressing up in bright red stilettos and lipstick, giving rise to its other common name, the lipstick tree.
However, this name originates from its actual use as lipstick, as you can apply the fresh seed to your own lips for a natural shade of rusty red. This plant has been traditionally used throughout tropical regions for an array of benefits. High in tocotrienols (similar to Vitamin E), carotenoids and antioxidants, Annatto supports skin health and strong vision. Its high nutrient content of fiber aids in digestion and the regulation of insulin, while calcium supports bone health and the prevention of osteoporosis. In addition, high folate levels engender a healthy pregnancy and the prevention of neural tube defects. Annatto is an efficient wound healer and can be helpful for burns. It has been known to treat gonorrhea and is donned as helping fight off cancer via norbixin, a compound found in Annatto that has anti-mutagenic properties.
- Damaged skin, wounds, rashes, burns
- Supports eye health
- Strengthens bones
- Supports a healthy pregnancy
- Treats gonorrhea
- Helps fight cancer
- High in fiber, foliate and calcium