Palo de brasil (Haematoxylum brasiletto) is also called azulillo, palo rojo, Brasilillo marismeño, and in Nahuatl quamóchitl (or cuamóchitl) and hoitzquánhuitl. This tree has yellow flowers and under certain conditions can bloom most of the year. It is native to Mexico and Central America.
In some areas it is known as palo tinto or palo de tinto, however this name leads to some confusion due to the fact that a very similar tree, Palo de Campeche (Haematoxylum campechianum), is also called palo tinto. The misnomer continues when translated into English. Palo de brasil (Haematoxylum brasiletto) is Brasilwood, while Palo de Campeche (Haematoxylum campechianum) is Mexican logwood. Both trees are used to make paint dye (hence palo de tinto). Many herb texts use the two interchangeably, which is incorrect.
Palo de Brasil has been used traditionally for heart conditions and kidney disease. The Aztecs used the bark as a treatment for diarrhea. In Sonora, twigs are chewed for mouth sores and tooth infections. The bark is combined with licorice root for asthma attacks. A tea made from the branches is a common remedy for depression, fever, and urinary issues. Other areas in Mexico use palo de Brasil as an astringent to clean wounds, treat skin infections and genital warts.
This tree has anti-bacterial properties and has been shown to be effective against E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus infections. Brazilwood is also used in the treatment of gastric ulcers and cancer in some areas of Mexico. Studies have proven it has anti-cancer properties supporting its use in cancer treatment. Scientists have also discovered that it is useful in the treatment of diseases caused by parasitic protozoan trypanosomes of the genus Trypanosoma such as Chagas disease.
Palo de Brasil Infusion for Kidney Problems
Boil ½ liter of water.
12 to 15 grams of palo de Brasil woodchips
Drink 1 cup 3 times a day after meals.
Interested in natural remedies? Uncover herbal remedies from traditional Mexican sources for healing and wellness in the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series.