Parota, a Tree with History and Tradition in Mexico
The Parota tree is a large and striking hermaphrodite tree that usually reaches 20 to 30 meters in height, although some have reached 45 meters, and its trunk can be up to 4 meters in diameter.
It is a tree native to tropical America, which in Mexico grows in the coastal areas of the country, being widely distributed on the slopes of the Gulf from the south of Tamaulipas to the Yucatan Peninsula and on the Pacific coast from Sinaloa to Chiapas. Parota grows favorably in tropical and warm regions, generally in coastal areas and along rivers and streams, in areas with an altitude not exceeding 800 meters above sea level, in sandy to clayey soils.
“Parota has been used for medicinal purposes since pre-Hispanic times”
The Parota, whose name in Mayan is ‘pich,’ is the name that is generally used to denominate Enterolobium Cyclocarpum (Wikipedia, or Mimosa Parota Sessé & Moc), although it is also known by other names depending on the state of Mexico in which we find ourselves. , for example:
- Agucastle or nacastillo in Oaxaca;
- Cascabel sonaja in Tamaulipas;
- Nacaxtle or orejón in Veracruz;
- And another variety of names that come from the pre-Hispanic settlers and from the local jargon in each region.
Parota: Medicinal Use
Even before the arrival of the Spaniards to the American continent, the parota was used by the inhabitants of these lands for healing purposes. Its seeds are easy to germinate, in 3 to 4 weeks naturally. Medicinal remedies were prepared from different parts of the plant such as the fruits, the resin and its bark. Its medicinal use from the gum that exudes from the trunk (“goma de caro”) was mainly aimed at alleviating respiratory ailments such as colds and bronchitis, in addition to being used as an anti-catarrhal, it was also used against hemorrhoids, diarrhea, as a depurative and as a facilitator of good digestion.
The bark can be used in infusions or in pods to cure alforre or salpuyido and is purifying. The green fruits are astringent and are used in cases of diarrhoea. In the 16th century, Francisco Hernández de Toledo indicates: “a very good ink is prepared with it and the cocoa powder is added to tone the entrails.” At the end of the same century, Juan de Cárdenas mentions: “Added to chocolate it gives a good smell, fragrance and softness and like all aromatic medicine of its nature is cordial, this drink reinforces and comforts the vital virtue helping to engender spirit of life. It has aesthetic and comforting parts, through all of which it comforts the liver, helps the digestion of the stomach, removing all wind and bad humors that the stomach itself has and this also does with certain subtle parts that it has, through which it causes menstruation. and urine.”
During the 20th century. The antibacterial activity in a methanolic extract from the Parota stem has already been verified: in the stem bark, the triterpenes betulinic acid and veracruzol were detected; machaerinic acid in the whole plant; and in the fruit pulp, lactone. Other uses of Parota in Mexico were also adhesive and rubber. The pulp of the green pods is used as a substitute for laundry soap. Coal and firewood, which has a caloric power of 18,556 kj/kg, which makes it recommendable as an energy source or kitchen.
Parota in Food
The Parota fruit, like its seeds, have a sweet taste and smell. Each fruit contains about 12 seeds, which are used as a food resource. These seeds can be ground and their flour is comparable to that of wheat. In some places the seeds are consumed in sauces and soups and as a substitute for coffee, while in other regions their use as a food supplement for livestock has become popular. The almond has 17 amino acids. These seeds can be eaten toasted and are as nutritious as beans, since they have a high protein content (35%). They also contain iron, calcium, phosphorous and ascorbic acid.
The parota tree is especially interesting for making parota wood furniture, decoration elements and ornaments. Its artisanal use for the production of kitchen tools, rural construction and agricultural equipment is also centuries old. It is possible to make toys and turned articles. The carpenters and cabinetmakers who dedicate themselves to the Parota usually do so by family tradition, learning the trade from father to son. Lately, due to its water resistance and impermeability conditions, Parota is also being used in the manufacture of canoes and light boats. It is a very strong and durable wood.
If you have any additional questions or require our help to get further information about parota wood or other local or imported woods in Mexico, please send an email to PAROTAS and we will gladly help you find the ideal wood for your furniture project.
PAROTAS is a Mexican company specialized in joinery and carpentry for furniture and projects made with parota wood, and other local or imported woods. We are a creative team made up of cabinetmakers, craftsmen, carpenters, designers, and a distribution and customer service team capable of turning the most demanding challenges into reality with high-quality parota wood – and taking it where you need it. You can see our furniture samples or to contact with PAROTAS to understand options, sizes, and pricing.
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