There are a number of medical uses of Caesalpinia pulcherrima, a plant that is commonly referred to as peacock flower or poinciana. In areas that it is native to, including South America, the plant has been used for centuries in folk medicine to cure a number of different conditions. Caesalpinia pulcherrima has been commonly used to treat minor injuries or to relieve fever, and scientific studies have indicated that it does have properties that allow it to work as an anti-inflammatory. Studies have also indicated that this plant may be effective in assisting with weight loss.
In folk medicine, various parts of Caesalpinia pulcherrima are used medicinally. A combination of the roots, bark, and leaves may be boiled into a medicinal tea, which is given to patients as a treatment for fever, jaundice, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Gargling with the tea is also said to treat sores in the mouth or throat.
A liquid extracted from the flowers of the plant is often used topically as an eye wash or applied to the body as an insecticide. The liquid is sometimes consumed to treat a variety of other conditions. Patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders, including dysentery or severe diarrhea, may also be given the fruit of the plant, which is said to have astringent properties, to eat. These properties help the plant to dry out the intestinal tract.
The other parts of Caesalpinia pulcherrima are also used in folk medicine. Disorders of the respiratory system can be treated by giving the patient the seeds of the plant to chew. The roots of Caesalpinia pulcherrima also contain toxins that are sometimes used by folk doctors to induce abortions.
Not all of the purported medicinal uses of Caesalpinia pulcherrima have been scientifically studied. The plant is known, however, to be an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. These qualities may make it useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and internal or external wounds. In 2011, studies have only been conducted on laboratory animals.
Preliminary medical studies have also indicated that Caesalpinia pulcherrima may also assist in weight loss. Mice given enzymes that are found in this plant were able to lose weight at a faster rate than the mice in the control group. Despite its potential medicinal uses, Caesalpinia pulcherrima is also known to be toxic at certain doses, and it may be dangerous for patients to use folk cures that include this plant.