Micronesian Healing Plants Presentations

Spring 2007

Annie Amyda
No specimen
Laagau mmee
Used for boils.

Ipomoea littoralis, musa, pandanus aerial root tip Priana Andreas
Ipomoea littoralis
Leaves used to help bring a boil to a head.

The image on the right includes ipomoea littoralis, musa, and pandanus root.

Livingston Anton
Cocos nucifera
"fabric" at base of leaf petiole used to staunch bleeding.

Michelle Anton
Premna obtusifolia
Leaves used to bring a boil (fahf) to a head.

Sheryl Anton
Scaevola taccada
Leaves used to make a bath for mahs muhtacn (menstual illness). Helps the blood flow. Boil the leaves in water. Mix hot water with leaves with cool water in a basin to create a hot bath. Soak in the basin.

Andrew Falcam
Cordyline fruticosa
For fever. Lay the green leaves of the ki plant out to form a flat mat. Lay on the leaves. The leaves will cool the fever, pulling the heat out of the body.

Teine George
Pandanus spp
aga binu
The tip of a descending aerial root, the meristem, is cleaned, pounded, and squeezed into a cut to staunch the bleeding.

Ceasar Ardos
Musa spp.
Used to treat fever.

Irene Charley
Nephrolepis acutifolia
Used to treat fever. Rub the leaves together. Rub the crumpled leaves all over the body. No oil is used, just the leaves.

Shellain Helgenberger
Morinda citrifolia
Chew the young fruit to cure a stomachache.
Shellain Helgenberger

Greda Irons
Morinda citrifolia
Known as nopuur in Northern Noumeneas. For ear pain, heat a leaf or two over a fire and press onto the ear.

Irene Lebehn
Phyllanthus amarus (syn. P. niuri)
Limemerin pwong
Used for dysentery - diarrhea with blood plus headache and fever. Boil the leaves in water and then drink the water.

Stephen Iphraim
Hibiscus rosa-sinensia
Péén ira
Northern noumeneas
flowers are used to bring a boil to a head

Cassandra Pinnifen
Psidium guava
Take an even number of young leaves, chew to treat diarrhea.

Emmy Rutnag
Terminalia catappa
Treating heat rash on a baby. Take an even number of leaves, boil in water. Mix with cooler water. Bath baby.
Kosrae: srifacf, Pohnpei: dipwopw, Kapinga: lau gegebinu (silent u), Chuuk: asas. Faichuuk(?): poichen.

Pernes Samuel
Centella asiatica
Leaf used to help bring boil to a head.

RS Shotaro 2007021367mwachangen_nior (32K)
Premna obtusifolia
For swollen eyes. Chew the young leaves. Cut a papaya leaf stem - it is hollow. Spit the chewed leaves around the perimeter of the eye. The young leaves are called mwachangen, or in this case, mwachangen nior.

Evelyn Steiner
Cassia alata sra kito
Ringworm fungus, other white spot skin fungii: rub leaves on skin and/or bath in leaves.

Sheila Suwei2007021374cassia_alata (40K)
Cassia alata
sabow, kushuwa
Yap, Mortlocks
Same skin conditions as noted immediately above. Pound leaves, apply to skin.

Cassia alata
Chuukese: arakak, Kapinga: lau hunu gili, Kosraen: sra kihto, Mortlockese: kushuwa, Pingalapese: kito, Pohnpeian: tuhke en kilin wai, Woleian: tamwisi, Yapese: sabow

Wilson Taulung
Clerodendrum inerme
Leaves are used in a bath for pregnant women. Cleans the body and prevents bodily odors. Pound the leaves, add to cool water, bathe in the leaves.

The young leaves can also be used to treat itchy eyes including pink eye. Pound young leaves, put into clean cloth, squeeze one drop of leave juice in each eye.

Zachary Taweryan
Morinda citrifolia
For coughing, chew the young leaves.

2007021369emmy_tehnlik (31K)Emyleen Thomas
Asplenium nidus

For stomachace. A man, and only men, collects the tips of two young leaves. The tips are chewed and eaten to treat the stomachache.

Fall 2006

Scaevola taccada
Ulithian: Lath
Assist a woman in having a baby: Pound the leaves, squeeze the leaves, drink the juice.
After delivery cleansing: Prepare a warm bath with the leaves in the water.
For men: Possibly useful as a laxative, maybe.
For coughing: Drink as a hot tea.

Scaevola taccada
Pohnpeian: Remek
Ending pregnancy: Pound the leaves and drink the juice. If the plant dies, then the medicine has worked. If the plant is still alive, repeat treatment. The tree should die as a sign the treatment can be stopped. Drink until the tree dies.

Clerodendrum inerme
Kosraen: Kwacwack
Health tonice: Drink, pound the leaf. Squeeze out the juice. Drink to prevent sickness.
For pink eye, squeeze the juice into the eye.
A steam bath (srawuck) with the leaf prevent illness and helps a woman during pregnancy. The plant can also help make a runner faster.

Musa stem
Pohnpeian: uht
Fever with cough: Peel off the outer layers. Cut up the core. Boil. Let water cool. Drink the water.
Sprained ankle: Pound stem, wrap around sprain, secure to the pounded stem to the ankle.

Piper methysticum
Pohnpeian: sakau
Cuts: Use crushed leaves to staunch bleeding.

Morinda citrifolia
Pohnpeian: Weipwul
High blood pressure: Obtain a root of about a centimeter in diameter. Clean the root. Remove the skin. Boil in water, drink the tea that forms to reduce blood pressure.

Morinda citrifolia
Kosraen: ii
Joint/muscle pain: Take a leaf of the ii, pound the leaf, and mix with coconut oil. Apply to joint or muscle that hurts to decrease the pain.

Hibiscus tiliaceus
Mwoakillese: keleu
Reduce swelling of a bruise: Obtain baby leaves that have not yet opened. Chew the leaves. Mix the leaves with a small amount of oil. Apply to the bruised area, cover so as to secure the leaves. Change three times a day, washing prior to redressing.
Kosraen: lo
Pohnpeian: keleu
Southern Noumeneas: sinifo
Mortlockese: kulufo
Ulithian: gulfoy
Yapese: gal

Phymatosorus scolopendria/Microsorum scolopendria
Mwoakillese: kamkam
Cuts: Use the tip of a non-fertile frond for cuts. Cover with bandage.

Southern Noumeneas: asas
Terminalia cattapa
Skin fungus: The stem is cut and boiled in water. The water is used for shower [bath] to treat the skin fungus known as sensen. The term sensen is also used by Pohnpeians.

Billy Pohnpei: Topwuk
Premna obtusifolia
Flu: Put leaves in boiling hot water. Place pot under a sheet with the patient. Patient "bathes" in the steam. This form of treatment is known as umwulap.
Boil (staph infection): Put one young leaf on the boil to help bring it to a head. Change often. A boil is called umwpwos.
Chickenpox: Pound the fruit. Release juice. Rub on the skin, although may be mixed with another plant.

Pohnpeian: kelakelamwahn
Possibly orchidiaceae. Epiphytic on trees, pendulant.
Trouble: Take four young leaves, chew them if you are in trouble so your parents may not punish you.
Nervousness: If you have to present in public, chew four leaves to reduce anxiety.

Woleai: Faliyape
Apple tree leaf.
White skin dot rash on baby: Cut leaves and put in a wrap [notes unclear on what wrap is made of]. Put over a fire [briefly]. Put [hot?] leaf in water. Put water into baby bottle. Feed to baby.
For long hair: Put young leaves, pre-chlorophyllic, in oil. Rub into hair. Leave for four days without washing.

Kosraen: sra kito
Cassia alata

White spot on skin: Called tuhntuhn. While bathing, scrub the skin with the leaves for three to four weeks.
Skin itch: Called srihng. Treat as above.
Covered with many small pimples: Called mwesrmwesr. Treat as above.
Ringworm: Called kito. Treat as above.

Mortlocks: asas
Pohnpeian: dipwoapw
Terminalia cattapa
Red dots on baby skin including on inner thighs [heat rash?]: Collect only the bright red leaves. Boil in a pot of water until the water turns dark maroon in color. This color is called kung in the Mortlocks. Pour the water from the pot into a basin. Do not add additional water. Let the water cool. Bathe the baby in the water three times a day for three days.
Wound closure: The trunk bark can be removed, scraped down to the red part, then the bark is pounded until soft. Squeeze the juice out onto a wound to close the wound and heal it.
White dots on face: Scrape the bark skin, grill a coconut [possibly cook over an open fire to toast/roast it slightly], grind the coconut, mix with bark scrapings. Use on face. By the third day the mixture will smell bad. Still use it. Only after a week of treatment can the mixture be thrown away.

Pohnpei: Peren en lopwolopw, karer
Citrifolia High fever with chills, shakes, "jumping fever": Use the stems. Clean off the black fungus. Scrape the skin of the stem, or bark. Put in a cloth. Squeeze juice into cup. Drink juice.
Jellyfish sting: Use the fruit. Cut in half. Apply half to sting.

Pohnpei: Oaioa or Aiau
Ficus prolixa
Long hair: use the leaves, applied to the hair. Specifics of application - oil or water emulsion - not clarified.
[Unclear] To make [blood?] in the body: Cut root into pieces. Usage unclear.
Plant has red fruit with small seeds.

Pohnpei: Apwud, apwid
Prevention of disease in babies: Produce juice form a single yellow leaf. Give to baby to prevent flu.
Diarhea: Scrape the bark. Squeeze to produce juice. Drink.
[Material cultural usage] Toilet paper: Use leaves.

Pohnpei: kuapa
Diarhea: Collect as many young leaves as you can. Chew. [Editor's note: prior reports specify four leaves, sometimes or eight, but usually four and only four.]

Mwoakilloa: soahn supwuk
Pohnpei: tehn topwuk
Premna obtusifolia
Post-delivery of baby, healing after labor: Boil many leaves until water is brown and put the mother into the water [after it cools].

Southern Noumeneas: maii
Breadfruit leaves
Spirit illness in baby: If a baby always cries by the time/before the sun goes down, the baby is believed to have bad spirit/ghost sickness. The young leaves, the new unfurled leaves, are used along with [notes unclear] all those branches along with nior [to chase the ghost away].
Diarhea due to family issues: If the father of a baby goes with another woman, the baby can develop diarhea. In this instance the young leaf is mixed with coconut milk - the juice squeezed from the meat of the coconut - to treat the diarhea. In the rare event that the mother has gone with another man, the baby can also develop diarhea and this treatment can be used. Diarhea in a baby may be taken as a sign of infidelity in the parents. [Editor's note: this is a good example of a disease existing within a specific cultural context and having a particular cultural meaning. Treatment presumably includes the offending partner terminating the extramarital relationship.]
Love: A five fingered (lobed) breadfruit leaf can be used for magic among those having strong belief. If a [boy] likes a girl but it is hard to get along with her, the boy can go sit or stand [in location relative to the girl] and sing a song [chant?]. This works for high titles or chiefs.

Pohnpei: mwehk
Instill initial appetite in baby: At about six months, to increase appetite and make the baby want to eat, the mother should chew four to eight mwehk leaves and pwurak (spit) the juice of the leaves into the baby's mouth in the morning before the baby eats.

Spring 2006

Phymatosorus scolopendria
Kosrae: sra kwem kwem
Diarhea: Chew one young leaf for routine diarhea.
Cuts: Pinch three baby leaves. Chew. Patch onto cut. Hair: Five old leaves. Pound leaves. Grate coconut. Squeeze milk out. Mix with pounded leaves to help hair grow long.

Nephrolepis spp.
Pohnpei: rehdil
Flu: Four fiddleheads from both sides [sic]. Put in boiling water. Umwulap with the leaves (steambath).
End of second trimester of pregnancy baby growth: Four or eight [part not specified in notes], chew. Probable reference to fiddlehead.
Ease delivery: Take four or eight, the little round part only of the fiddlehead, and umwulap with them.
[On Kosrae a steambath is called srawuck, on Woleai gebaasiu.]

Pohnpei: Limemeir pwong

Fall 2005

15 September 2005

Balkario Alexander
Pohnpei Deudel or doudel. A plant that looks like clover vine but is not clover vine. No flower or seed present on sample. Used to treat swollen testicle. Smash the leaves, put into a bowl, sit on the bowl with the testicle in contact with the leaves. The plant is also used in combination with two other plants for liver failure. Only one old women knew the name of the plant.

Likiaksa Benjamin
Kosrae Kusrosr [Scaevola Taccada]. Used in connection with pregnancy. Pound it with other plants, squeeze the juice out, drink the juice to clean out the woman's insides. Also added to bath water of a nine month pregnant woman to ease the pains of labor. The leaves can also be boild in water and the liquid drank as a tea to enhance the endurance of athletes. The white ripe fruit can be squeezed into the eye to treat pink eye.

Eimon Charley also presented on Kosraen Kusrosr. Kee-dong Lee spells the tree Kusrohsr

Luanne Charley
Kosrae muhlihklihk. Spelling from Kee-Dong Lee. [Asplenium nidus] The young leaves are chewed for stomach ache. An althernate spelling is extant in Sra en ain Kosrae of mihlihklihk.

Kimberly Cho'
Yap a'bas. Guava tree. Kimberly cites three uses. The meristematic tip can be chewed to treat diarhea. Meristematic tips can be collected and cut into small pieces, combined with coconut oil, and applied to the skin to relieve itching. Leaves can be put in boiling hot water and a steam tent made from a sheet to treat the back pain associated with menses in a woman. The woman sits under the sheet with the pot of hot water breathing the steam with the guava leaves in the hot water.

In Yap a steam bath is known as upngu'. This word varies in spelling and pronounciation across the main island of Yap. In Chuuk a steam bath, again typically with medicinal leaves added, is called aatuwet. The "aa" is a long sound. In the Mortlocks the word used is apwes or apwos. On Pohnpei, umwulap. Kosrae, srawuhk (Kee-Dong Lee).

Wayner Elias
Pohnpei topwuk [Premna obtusifolia]. Used skin conditions such as kihl sarawi and chicken pox. For kihl sarawi the green and black fruit are pounded and applied to the skin. For chickpox, the black fruit are pounded and applied to the body.

Evangileen Frederick
Pohnpei Weipwul [Morinda citrifolia]. The flowers are sue to cure pink eye, the fruit for stomach ache and diabetes, the salongen (ears) on the petiole are used for stomach and head pains.

Anastasia Gubung
Yap wat'oel [Merremia peltata]. Squeezed onto the bite of the water eel to prevent swelling. Plant is iol in Pohnpeian, puhlah in Kosraen.

Alonso Hulofang
Ulithi. Unidentified plant is put into a cup of hot water. When color changes to brown, drink it. Cures diabetes.

Jeffrey Hilario
Chuuk. lol [Morinda citrifolia]. Leaves are used on injury to prevent swelling. Local name not previously encountered. M. citrifolia is usually nopuur in Chuuk.

George Ladore
Pohnpei tuhkehn kilin wai [Cassia alata]. Used for a fungal skin disease called kilin wai. Also used for the fungal skin disease sensen which is characterized by white spots, as well as for kilin kutuwa (ringworm?). Can also be used for pwudong, skin itchiness. Pound the leaves, put into the fibrous mesh found at the base of coconut leaves, squeeze the juice onto the skin. Today the coconut mesh is often replaced by modern fabrics. Another plant is often found near C. alata, Pohnpeian deleurek [Jussiaea Erecta] (identification by student). The two can be pounded together and used to cure pimples on the face.

Clenna Lebehn
Mwoakilloa karer in sasami [Citrus aurantifolia] lime tree. The bark is used in water to cool a very high fever accompanied by violent chills (lujluj or lusulus).

Yuna Mongkeya
Kosrae arihng [Ocimum sanctum] holy basil. Put branchlets into a pot of hot water, cover patient with sheet with the pot of water under the sheet (srawuhk). Breath the steam to relieve symptoms of a cold.

Sophia Moon
Yap gabuy [Piper betel]. The juice of the leaf will stop bleeding from a cut.

20 September 2005

Stacy Nena
Pohnpei Fienkack. [Premna obtusifolia] Leaves are used in the treatment of boils (fahf). Young leaves used to massage a child's legs. Massage legs with leaf juice.

Meicy Neth
Satawan, Mortlocks Fach [Pandanus]. Pound the roots, give to a young child (around five years old) who does not want to eat. Children who suffer from a loss of appetite. Drinking the pounded root juice will bring back their appetite.

Jennifer Obed
Mwokilloa Ni [Cocos nucifera]. The brown spots on the petiole can be used to stop bleeding of small cuts, scrape these off of the petiole. Another treatment for cuts can be obtained from the koalo. The koalo are aerial roots that descend from the external base of a coconut palm. The tip end of this root has a white spot. Clean it, remove it, smash it, apply to the cut. This works on larger cuts than those treated by the brown spots on the leaf stem base.

Marlinda Pelep
Pohnpei Oahr Used to cool down fever. Pound and apply to skin. Plant looked like topwuk, but the leaf is distinctively smaller and more compact.

V-Three Raisom
Chuuk Nopur [Morinda citrifolia]. Can treat or cure diseases. We cook it or eat it (the fruit) to treat diabetes. The bark near the ground can be used to treat white spot skin rash. Scratch off the bark, obtain the yellow part inside the bark and mix with (coconut) oil, apply to the skin where white spots (tinea versicolor?) appear.

Masako Sechaph
Mortlocks ulo alternately uloo [Clerodendrum inerme]. Cures many diseases including:

  1. Cooling down a fever. Boil leaves in water, cover yourself with a blanket and breathe the steam from the infusion. Local steam bath: apwos.
  2. Cleaning the eyes. Pound leaves, squeeze juice into the eyes. [These treatments usually refer to treating pink eye or conjunctivitis.]
  3. Women use for menstrual irregularity. Boil the leaves, pour infusion into a large basin. Add cool water, sit in the infusion for twenty minutes.

Emmyleen Sehpin
Sapwafik sakau [Piper methysticum]. tehn sakau or cava [sic] leaf: leaf of the sakau (kava) plant. Smash leaf, apply to cut to staunch bleeding. Possibly a general property of the genus, note Piper betel reference.

Marissa Semens
Pohnpei kalewen memiap [Carica papaya]. Grate the root, sniff the gratings to clear sinus congestion. Also helps clear a sinus headache.

Sepe Midley
Kosrae sra kihto [Cassia alata]. The leaves cure a fungal skin disease called ringworm. Leaves can also be used to whiten the skin, clear black spots from the skin. Put the leaves into bath water, then roll the leaves between the fingers, kneading the leaves to release their juice. Apply leaves to skin, soak in the resulting infusion.

Valerie Turow
Yap lamar or yalmar [Ocimum sanctum]. Cures headaches. Put a branchlet into one's hands, rub between the palms of the hand, sniff the released aromatics to cure headache. [Most likely used on sinus headache associated with colds]

Jayvina Victus
Chuuk panan nuu [Cocos nucifera]. Scrape the leaf stem base (petiole) from the "brown spots" to the "green spots" and apply scrapings to a wound to stop bleeding. The material inside the stem can be put into bath water to treat fever in a baby. Bathe the baby in the water with the leaf stem core material. [Student consulted with Herolyn Aizawa, Evelynta Aizawa, and Nancy Simor Lippwe]

Robina Waguk
Kosrae kwacwack [Clerodendrum inerme]. Making a local steam bath with the leaves help relieve painful menses. The steam bath is also used to treat itches and rashes in children. The leaf juice can be used to clean the eyes.

Ginda Yleizah
Mortlocks lior [Student refers to plant as Premna serratifolia, although plant specimen appeared to be Premna obtusifolia]. Use to get rid of pimples, used if a baby dislocates a joint, and used for high fever with chills. For high fever, put the leaves in water, using the leaves with the characteristic "bumps" of this species, boil the leaves, cool the water, and then bathe in the infused water. The young leaves are collected, dipped in coconut oil, and used to massage the joints of a baby who has dislocated a joint.

Spring 2005

17 February 2005

Pitlynn Peter
Hall islands, Chuuk puker [Poaceae, possibly Chloris barbata]. The roots make our hair long and strong, not easy to fall out. The roots are added to coconut oil, put into the hair.

Ketlin Raymond
Mortlocks leimis. The leaf is used to treat coughing. Boil the young leaves. Although Ketlin referred to the fruit as a lemon, and the local name may indeed by for that of the lemon, the fruit Ketlin brought in is a calamansi.

Serlyane Rudolph
Madolehnihmw, Pohnpei reh padil [possibly Ischaemum polystachum]. Used to treat stomachache, diarhea. Take the white center of the stem and chew it.

Pohnpei kisinieng [yellow ginger]. Used for skin burns.

Mesio Sardis
Pohnpei laman [lemon] Leaves are used for coughing, bark of the tree is used to treat soumahu en lusulus (high fever with chills). Put the bark into cloth, then boil the bark in water and drink as a tea.

Chuuk ruke or rukuruk [probably Ipomoea littoralis]. Used for a boil (mach). Take the leaf, roll in your hands until it is soft. Put on the boil. Brings the boil to a head, sucks out the white stuff. On Pohnpei a boil is known as umpwos or mwpwos, on Kosrae fahf, on Yap lot. The plant is called omp in Kitti and tahpw in Nett on Pohnpei. On Kosrae the plant is called oa. Note that Kosraens do not use oa [Ipomoea littoralis] but rather owopuk [Ipomoea pes-caprae] for boils. There is a possibility that students are confusing the two species.

Shella Jean
Pohnpei likendou [vine]. Used to treat stomachache.

Mercy Tman
Yap noth or thoeth [Scaevola Taccada]. There are two types of Scaevola Taccada recognized in Yap. General usage of the species includes the use of the fruit to treat pink eye. The leaves can be boiled with guava tree leaves for women to use after delivery and prior to their first period to clean out their insides. Two drops of stem juice can be used to treat stomachache.

Yap babay [Carica papaya]. The male flowers can be boiled to treat cough in babies. Leave and roots can be boiled to treat asthma. The fruit can be used to treat skin fungus. Use a young green fruit and squeeze juice onto the fungus.

Fritz Jr.
Tol, Chuuk séúr [Plumeria obtusa]. The latex sap is used to heal particularly difficult to heal cuts such as those inflicted by flying fish.

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