Native to Central America, Florida, and the West Indies, dogwood (also known as Jamaican dogwood) has recently been found growing in areas such as Texas, Mexico, and the northern part of South America. Dogwood grows pods that are shaped by four projecting wings, yellow or grayish brown exterior bark and light colored inner surface that has an unpleasant smell. Jamaica dogwood is known for its markedly acrid and pungent taste, whose bitterness leaves the mouth with a distinct burning sensation.
Some reseachers believe Jamaican dogwood has healing properties that may provide relief for sufferers of insomnia, asthma, toothache, pain caused by menstruation, ovary and uterus-related pain, neuralgia, and coughing. This relief is attributed to sedative substances found in Jamaican dogwood.
Jamaica dogwood was attributed with narcotic, analgesic, and sweat-promoting properties as early as 1844, according to early scientific discoveries. More recent findings have helped confirm early conclusions, proving that bark extracts of this plant will stimulate sedative and narcotic effects in animals.
Jamaica dogwood has been used primarily in connection with the following kinds of conditions: neuralgia, nervous debility, insomnia, migraines, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), violent toothaches, and whooping cough.
This plant is also known for the following medicinal effects: analgesic, cardiotonic (helps the heart muscle work better), diuretic (promotes excretion of salts and water from the kidney), hypnotic, antispasmodic, and for dilating the pupil of the eye.Suggested Dosage and Administration
Side Effects and Precautions
- Dried root bark: 1 to 4 g (or equivalent in decoction) three times daily
- Fluid extract: (1:1 in 30 alcohol) 1 to 2 mL three times daily; or 2 to 8 mL per day (1:1 in 60 ethanol)
- Tincture (1:5 in 45 ethanol): 5 to 30 drops (1 to 2 mL) three times per day
Jamaica dogwood as an herbal remedy is thought to relieve certain conditions; however it may have potential adverse side effects including gastric distress, nausea, and depression.