Medicine: Called Almendro, almond, Terminalia catappa L. Decoction of leaves said to lower blood pressure and may alleviate heart problems, angina (unproven). Excess dose of decoction said to lower sex drive.
Terminalia Animals studies showed ethanol extract (80%) of dried aerial parts was antimicrobial to Salmonella paratyphi. Methanol extract of leaves shown to be analgesic to mice
Leaves, bark and fruits: dysentery (Southeast Asia); dressing of rheumatic joints (Indonesia, India).
Fruits and bark: coughs (Samoa), asthma (Mexico).
Fruits: leprosy, headaches (India),
Ripe fruits: travel nausea (Mexico)
Leaves: get rid of intestinal parasites (Philippines); treat eye problems, rheumatism, wounds (Samoa); stop bleeding during teeth extraction (Mexico), fallen leaves used to treat liver diseases (Taiwan), young leaves for colic (South America).
Juice of leaves: scabies, skin diseases, leprosy (India, Pakistan)
Bark: throat and mouth problems, stomach upsets and diarrhoea (Samoa); fever, dysentery (Brazil).
Modern research has identified some properties which could be used to treat high blood pressure.
Botanical Traits. The tree has a characteristic pagoda shape because it sends out a single stem from the top center. When the single stem reaches a good height, it sends out several horizontal branches. This fast-growing tree grows on sandy shores.When it is topped, it makes a great awning except for the leaves that fall when they are mature.
The green almond-shaped fruit turns red to purple when ripe. The seeds are dispersed by water. The smooth outer skin covers an inner layer of corky fibres which surround the nut. This shell helps the fruit to float.
The leaves form a rosette and are found only at the end of a branch. During the dry season, the leaves turn into autumn colours of red, copper, gold. The tree usually sheds all its leaves twice a year in January-February and July-August. The tree first drops its leaves when it reaches 3-4 years old.
Propagation and Culture.
In tropical climates it propogates extremely easy which is why in some places it is even considered envasive.
Uses as food: The nuts are edible, taste like almonds and are eaten, although the flesh is troublesome to separate from the hard stone (Malays and some Pacific islanders). Unlike the commercial almond, the Sea Almond can be eaten raw. Oil extracted from the dried nuts is edible and used in cooking (South America).
The wood is red, solid and has high water resistance; it has been utilized in Polynesia for making canoes. In Telugu it is known as "Badam Chettu".
The leaves contain several flavonoids (like kaempferol or quercetin), several tannins (such as punicalin, punicalagin or tercatin), saponines and phytosterols. Due to this chemical richness, the leaves (and also the bark) are used in different traditional medicines for various purposes. For instances, in Taiwan fallen leaves are used as a herb to treat liver diseases. In Suriname, a tea made from the leaves is prescribed against dysentery and diarrhea. It is also thought that the leaves contain agents for prevention of cancers (although they have no demonstrated anticarcinogenic properties) and antioxidant as well as anticlastogenic characteristics.
Keeping the leaves in an aquarium is said to lower the pH and heavy metal content of the water. It has been utilized in this way by Betta breeders in Thailand for many years. It's also believed that it helps prevent fungus forming on the eggs of the fish.. Local hobbyists also use it for conditioning the betta's water for breeding and hardening of the scales.