July 23, 2016

Tonka Bean

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What other names is Tonka Bean known by?

Almendrillo Negro, Coumarouna odorata, Cumaru, Cumarú, Dipteryx odorata, Dutch Tonka, English Tonka, Fève Tonka, Gaïac de Cayenne, Tonka, Tonka Seed, Tonquin Bean, Torquin Bean.

What is Tonka Bean?

Tonka bean is a tree. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac); and to treat cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, tuberculosis, wasting due to chronic disease, swelling caused by a blockage in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis.

Some people apply tonka bean directly to the affected area for mouth ulcers, earache, and sore throat.

In manufacturing, coumarin, one of the active constituents of tonka bean, is used as a flavoring and fragrance in various products in food, liquor, tobacco, soap, and cosmetics.

In foods, the seeds are used to make a nutty-flavored beverage.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Cough.
  • Cramps.
  • Nausea.
  • Spasms.
  • Tuberculosis.
  • Earache, when applied directly.
  • Mouth sores, when applied directly.
  • Sore throat, when applied directly.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tonka bean for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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