Atis (Sugar Apple) as Herbal Medicine
The Atis tree is easy to grow. Just plant a seed on almost any soil and atis will grow. However, it requires tropical or near tropical weather. When planted, Atis will begin to bear fruit in about a year’s time. It will bear fruit about 3 times a year and the sweetest fruits are those borne during the summer months.
Cultivated throughout the Philippines; occasionally spontaneous.
– Introduced from tropical America by the Spaniards.
All parts of the atis tree have medicinal value. The seeds however are poisonous. The seeds are pounded and made into paste. This can be applied to the scalp of the head to kill hair lice. Care should be taken when applying atis seed paste on the scalp as this is extremely irritating to the eyes and can even cause blindness. The paste when applied into the uterus can cause abortion.
Salted bruised leaves used to hasten suppuration.
Bark decoction is used as tonic and to stop diarrhea.
Root has purgative action.
Leaf decoction used for rheumatic baths to alleviate pain.
For fainting and hysteria, crush fresh leaves and place over nose.
For infected insect bites, pound and extract the juice from one unripe fruit and apply the juice directly to the affected areas, 3 times daily.
For lice infestation of the head, atis has a herbal treatment regimen:
(1) Shampoo hair with gugo bark or any commercial shampoo daily for one week; with “suyod” combing twice daily.
(2) For lice eggs (nits), apply hot vinegar for half an hour after shampooing; then “suyod” (fine combing) thoroughly.
(3) Bedtime, pound 1/2 cup of atis seeds and mix with 1/4 cup of oil. Apply mixture throroughly to the scalp and hair. Wrap the hair and head overnight. Shampoo in the morning and follow with fine tooth combing. Do daily for 3-5 days.
(4) Paste of the crushed seeds in water, applied to the scalp. The same used as abortifacient applied to the os uteri.
In Northern India, young leaves used for diabetes.
In Malaysia, used for skin infections, diarrhea, dysentery and UTIs.