Oil bean tree - (Pentaclethra macroloba, Leguminosae-Mimosoideae)
FATTY ACID COMPOSITION AND PHYSICAL-CHEMICAL DATA
At 19%, pracachy oil has the highest known concentration of Behenic acid, 6 times higher than that of peanut oil that is extracted and used by the cosmetic industry, in makeup and hair products, due to its excellent moisturizing properties . Studies have reported about the insecticidal ability of pracachy oil, specifically against the mosquito Aedes aegypti, which is the vector of yellow fever and dengue. Fractions isolated from the oil have important bioactive compounds with anti-hemorrhagic activity, which can be used in the treatment of snakebites, or possibly as a new drug for the treatment of other diseases.
The oil of pracachy is extracted in a rudimentary way through cooking the dry mass of the seeds, which are first macerated in a mortar. It is often used to treat erysipelas, a skin infection usually caused by bacteria, as well as for treating hair, which makes it brighter, easier to comb, and helps to avoid hair loss. In the city of Belém, it was commonly used to treat stretch marks of young-adults and pregnant women (with good results). The inhabitants of the Amazon region use the bark of the stem to combat the effects of poison from snake and scorpion bites. For this, the bark is soaked and applied in the form of a plaster on the site of the bite. Today the seeds are collected (along rivers, streams, and beaches), dried in the sun, and stored for selling.
This species is distributed throughout northern Brazil, Guyana, Trinidad, and some regions of Central America. The tree is medium in size (8–14 m), found in flooded areas, and forms half-moon shaped fruit pods, 20 to 25 cm long, containing 4 to 8 seeds. Approximately 35 fruits are needed to obtain one kilo of seeds, which contain approximately 30% oil (when the seeds are dry). Seed germination takes 30 to 40 days and the germination rate is relatively high; the plants grow fast in floodplains. On terra firme the plants tolerate selective pruning and are nitrogen-fixing pioneer species that show great potential for forest regeneration and restoration of degraded areas.
PESCE, C.: Oleaginosas da Amazônia, 1941, Oficinas Gráficas da Revista Veterinária, Belém/PA.
MORAIS, L.R.: Produção de óleo de duas espécies amazônicas por prensagem: Bacuri Platonia insignis (Mart.) e Pracachy Pentaclethra macroloba (Willd), 2005, Monografia em Curso de Mestrado Em Química Orgânica, Universidade Federal do Pará,Centro de Ciências Exatas e Naturais 76pp. Não publicada.
SANTIAGO, G. M. P et. al.: Avaliação da atividade larvicida de saponinas triterpênicas isoladas de Pentaclethra macroloba (Willd.) Kuntze (Fabaceae) e Cordia piauhiensis Fresen (Boraginaceae) sobre Aedes aegypti. 2005, Rev. Bras. Farmacogn. vol.1 5 no.3 João Pessoa.
MORAIS, L. R. : Banco de Dados Sobre Espécies Oleaginosas da Amazônia, não-publicado.
DA SILVA, J. O. et al.: Triterpenoid saponins, new metalloprotease snake venom inhibitors isolated from Pentaclethra macroloba. 2007, Toxicon. 50(2):283-91. Epub.
LORENZI, H. :Árvores Brasileiras, 2002. Vol. 2, 2ª edição, Instituto Plantarum, Nova Odessa, SP, PP.368.