ACHIOTE, Bixa orellana


Latin name:        Bixa orellana

English name:   Annato, Achiote, Lipstick tree

Sanskrit name: Sinduri, Markataharidra, Kampillaka

Indian name: Sinduriya, Latkan

Medicinal parts used: Seeds

Achiote is a shrub or small tree from the tropical region of the American continent. The name derives from the Nahuat word for the shrub, achiote. It is also known as Aploppas, and its original Tupi name urucu. It is cultivated there and in Southeast Asia.

Achiote is a shrub or bushy tree which ranges from 3 to 10 meters in height.  Its glossy, ovate leaves are evergreen with reddish veins; flowers are pink, white, or some combination, and are 4 to 6 cm in diameter.  From the flower protrudes a striking two-valved fruit, covered either with dense soft bristles or a smooth surface. These round fruits, approximately 4 cm wide, appear in a variety of colours: scarlet, yellow, brownish-green, maroon, and most commonly bright red.

Therapeutic use:

  • Parts of the plant can be used to make medicinal remedies for such conditions as sunstroke, tonsilitis, burns, leprosy, pleurisy, apnoea, rectal discomfort, and headaches.
  • The sap from fruits is also used to treat type 2 diabetes, and fungal infections.
  • Bixa orellana help to reduce acid, kills bacteria, fights free radicals, kills parasites, kills germs, increases urination, stimulates digestion, lowers blood pressure, mildly laxative, and protects liver.

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