Hura crepitans – A Homeopathical Wonder at Hand!

Hura crepitans – A Homeopathical Wonder at Hand!
Probably most commonly known as “the sandbox tree”, Hura crepitans owes its alternative name to the fact that, before the apparition of modern pens and blotting paper, this tree’s unripe seed pods and its pumpkin-shaped fruit were used for holding fine sand for blotting ink. Nowadays, it is grown mainly for decorative purposes and its wood is used for crafting light furniture.
Nevertheless, few are aware that this plant exhibits amazing medicinal properties as well. The following article will help you find out more about it – scroll down and learn how to use Hura crepitans to improve your health!

Alternative Denomination and Spread

Hura crepitans also goes under the more popular names of “possum wood” and “jabillo”. This evergreen plant related to the spurge originates to tropical regions in both North and South America, growing mostly in the Amazonian Rainforest.
Due to its many dark, pointed spines and smooth brown bark, the tree is also known as “monkey no-climb”, “monkey’s pistol”, and “monkey’s dinner bell”. Hura crepitans usually populates narrow reefs, but it also grows along watercourses, in moist valleys or in moist sandy loams.

How Does It Look Like?

This tree often grows up to 40 meters, but in exceptional conditions it can even reach 60 meters in height. Its trademark feature consists of its numerous dark pointed spines, and its papery thin, heart-shaped, 60cm long leaves. Hura crepitans is a monoecious plant, this meaning that both female and male flowers grow on the same plant.
Male flowers grow on long spikes and, since they carry no petals, they resemble some kind of berry. They are colored in a dark red shade and have an ovoid to conical shape. On the other hand, the female flowers are solitary. Hura crepitans fruits are pumpkin look-alike large capsules of maximum 10 cm in diameter.
They are longitudinally grooved, rather concave at the tip and the base, colored in reddish brown. After ripening, these fruits literally explode, launching the inner seeds as fast as 70 meters per second, with an explosive sound that has brought this plant yet another name: “the dynamite tree”.


Hura crepitans’ physiologically-active principles have convinced even chief leaders on the pharmaceutical world market to sell it; as a consequence, you may find extracts from this plant in any drug store under the form of pills, pellets, liquid dilutions, and tinctures.

Medicinal Uses and Benefits

In ancient times, Hura crepitans’ bark extract was used to treat leprosy.  Traditional herbalists from Suriname have used it for centuries against eczema. Moreover, the yellowish milky juice secreted by this plant was an important ingredient used by Amerindians to poison their darts. The juice has relatively high concentrations of two chemicals named lectins, which display powerful haemagglutinating activity, and hereby inhibiting the protein synthesis.
Modern clinical trials have discovered a wide range of therapeutical actions of remedies derived from the bark, the leaves or the seeds of this less-known plant. While still green, the seeds have a strong purgative effect, and so does the oil extracted from them when dried.
Certain substances included in the complex chemical structure of Hura crepitans qualify this plant, thanks to its combined astringent and emollient actions, for dermatological use against various skin diseases. Other practitioners recommend drinking diluted tinctures for patients who want to get rid of intestinal worms. Last but not least, the sandbox tree is a good source of remedies for those suffering from rheumatism and gout, since these products are known to diminish swellings and alleviate joint pain.

Precautions and Recommendations

Hura crepitans is mildly toxic for human consumption. Consequently, recommended dosages have to be carefully observed, according to the specific needs of the patients. So far, there have been no reported hazards triggered by the intake of such remedies. Nevertheless, taking any derived Hura crepitans remedy must be preceded by qualified medical consultation and advice, in order to avoid the unpleasant side effects, interactions and adverse reactions that may occur during treatment.