The True Story About The Iroko Tree In Africa Today
The Iroko tree
The Iroko tree is a common tree found in inter-tropical Africa. Being a durable wood, it does not require any treatment for preservation which thereby gives it an economic and ecological advantage that makes it an ideal material for outdoor use. Moreover, the iroko tress has interesting potential in carbon dioxide insulation and soil improvement.
The Iroko wood is one of the giant trees of the tropical forest with a height of about 40 to 45 meters with a diameter of close to 150 centimeters. The cylindrical and straight bole of the iroko tree is reputed for its regularity. The bark of the iroko tree is rough and scaly, having a color ranging from ash gray to dark brown. The iroko tree also has a spinning rooting, which allows it to resist strong winds.
It should also be noted that the iroko tree is a sacred tree in some cultures in area of its distribution particularly in Benin, and has many medicinal uses as well.
Also known as Chlorophora excelsa, the iroko tree is Listed in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species as Lower Risk-LR (meaning near threatened) which is close to being classed as Vulnerable or near extinction.
The problem of population growth, development, and economic pressure has resulted in a high rate of deforestation of the continent’s natural resources. The rate of disappearance of Milicia excelsa, commonly known as the iroko tree in the African forests is alarming with West Africa being the hardest hit by this deforestation trend. Due to its wood quality, Milicia excelsa suffers heavy exploitation but they are not replaced for sustainability.
Researchers have reveal that the iroko tree is characterized by the presence of some anti-pyretic, antifungal, antibacterial, analgesic, anti-diuretic, hypoglycemic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which therefore can be used for treating several ailments suffered by persons.
The leaves of the iroko tree and also the bark, milky/yellowish latex, and ashes of the iroko wood are used for preparing herbal medicines for the treatment of certain ailments and diseases. The herbal medicine gotten from the iroko tree can also be used to unblock the throat from any blockages such as cough and cold. As a treatment to certain diseases such as female sexual infertility, asthma, piles, lumbago, spleen pain, galactagogue, oedema, scabies, wounds, ascites, sprains, dysmenorrhoea, gonorrhea, venereal diseases, sprains, loss of hair, rheumatism, and aphrodisiac the root of the iroko can be decocted and used.
Also for the treatment of stomach problems such as dysentery, the milky latex and the leaves from the iroko tree can be used to produce an herbal concoction or medicine for that purpose.
The milky latex and leaves from the iroko tree can also be used to produce herbal medicines that can help in treating stomach problems such as dysentery.