Dunks Tree

The dunks tree (Ziziphus mauritiana) is a spiny evergreen or small tree native to the Old World Tropics and common on the island of Barbados.


The small round fruit of the dunks is eaten straight from the tree and have a yellow to orange-brown colour when ripe. The leaves can be eaten and are said to be highly nutritious but this is not something that is well known or praciticed in Barbados. The dunks season in Barbados is typically from December through February.


Medicinal Value of Dunks

In Barbados, the usage of the dunks is very straightforward as the fruit is simply picked and eaten off the tree. In other parts of the world, the utilisation of the complete tree is quite normal.


The fruits are applied on cuts and ulcers; are employed in pulmonary ailments and fevers; and, mixed with salt and chili peppers, are given in indigestion and biliousness
The dried ripe fruit is a mild laxative
The seeds are sedative and are taken, sometimes with buttermilk, to halt nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pains in pregnancy
Seed mixed with oil, they are rubbed on rheumatic areas
The leaves are applied as poultices and are helpful in liver troubles, asthma and fever and, together with catechu, are administered when an astringent is needed, as on wounds
The bitter, astringent bark decoction is taken to halt diarrhea and dysentery and relieve gingivitis
The bark paste is applied on sores
The root is purgative
Juice of the root bark is said to alleviate gout and rheumatism
Strong doses of the bark or root may be toxic
An infusion of the flowers serves as an eye lotion


In Barbados, just about the time of the dunks season, roadside vendors can be seen with small packages of dunks selling from their trays.




DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this page should not be interpreted as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this site.


Readers should consult the appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well being.


The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best information available to the writers. However, readers who fail to consult the appropriate health authorities automatically assume risk of any injuries. Barbados Pocket Guide is not in any way responsible for errors or omissions.


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