INCI : Pouteria sapota
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN : DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
SOURCE : stophairlossnow -
"The word "sapote" is believed to have been derived from the Aztec "tzapotl", a general term applied to all soft, sweet fruits. It has long been utilized as a common name for Pouteria sapota
The sapote tree is erect, frequently to 60 ft (18 m) sometimes to 100 or 130 ft (30 or 40 m) with short or tall trunk to 3 ft (1 m) thick, often narrowly buttressed, a narrow or spreading crown, and white, gummy latex.
The evergreen or deciduous leaves, clustered at the branch tips, on petioles 3/4 to 2 in (2-5 cm) long, are obovate, 4 to 12 in (10-30 cm) long, and 1 1/2 to 4 in (4-10 cm) wide, pointed at both ends.
Origin and Distribution
The sapote occurs naturally at low elevations from southern Mexico to northern Nicaragua. It is much cultivated and possibly also naturalized up to 2,000 ft (600 m) and occasionally found up to 5,000 ft (1,500 m) throughout Central America and tropical South America. It is abundant in Guatemala.
In the West Indies, it is planted to a limited extent from Trinidad to Guadeloupe, and in Puerto Rico, Haiti and Jamaica, but mainly in Cuba where it is often grown in gardens and along streets and for shading coffee because it loses its leaves at the period when coffee plants need sun, and the fruit is extremely popular.
It is grown only occasionally in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Brazil. It was introduced into the Philippines by the early Spaniards but is grown only around Cavite and Laguna on Luzon and Cagayan on Mindanao.
From the Philippines, it was carried to southern Vietnam where the fruit is eaten when very ripe.
The sapote is credited with sustaining Cortez and his army in their historic march from Mexico City to Honduras. The fruit is of such importance to the Indians of Central America and Mexico that they usually leave this tree standing when clearing land for coffee plantations or other purposes. They generally eat the fruit out-of-hand or spooned from the half-shell.
In urban areas, the pulp is made into jam or frozen as sherbet. In Cuba, fibrous types are set aside for processing.
A prominent dairy in Miami has for many years imported sapote pulp from Central America to prepare and distribute commercially as "Spanish sherbet". In Cuba, a thick preserve called "crema de mamey colorado "is very popular. The pulp is sometimes employed as a filler in making guava cheese.
In Santo Domingo, the seed kernel oil is used as a skin ointment and as a hair dressing believed to stop falling hair. In Mexico, 2 or 3 pulverized kernels are combined with 10 oz (300 g) castor oil for application to the hair.
In 1970, clinical tests at the University of California at Los Angeles failed to reveal any hair-growth promoting activity but confirmed that the oil of sapote seed is effective in stopping hair-fall caused by seborrheic dermatitis.
The oil is employed as a sedative in eye and ear ailments. The seed residue after oil extraction is applied as a poultice on painful skin afflictions.
A seed infusion is used as an eyewash in Cuba. In Mexico, the pulverized seed coat is reported to be a remedy for coronary trouble and, taken with wine, is said to be helpful against kidney stones and rheumatism. The Aztecs employed it against epilepsy. The seed kernel is regarded as a digestive; the oil is said to be diuretic. The bark is bitter and astringent and contains lucumin, a cyanogenic glycoside. A decoction of the bark is taken as a pectoral. In Costa Rica a "tea" of the bark and leaves is administered in arteriosclerosis and hypertension. The milky sap is emetic and anthelmintic and has been used to remove warts and fungal growths on the skin."