Fruits & Vegetables

Huito (Genipa americana)

Botanical Name: Genipa americana
Family: Rubiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Genipa
Species: G. americana

*Genipa americana var. caruto K.Schum.
*Genipa americana var. riobranquensis Kuhlm.
*Genipa americana f. grandifolia Chodat & Hassl.
*Genipa americana f. jorgensenii Steyerm.

Common Names: Huito
Vernacular Names:
In English, the tree is known as the genip tree

Colombia: jagua, caruto, huito; Brazil: jenipapo, formerly genipapo; Costa Rica: guaitil, tapaculo; Nicaragua: tapaculo, yigualtí; Mexico: shagua, xagua; Perú: huito, vito

Genipa americana is native to the tropical forests of the Americas, from tropical Florida south to Argentina. It is present from sea level up to 1200 m of elevation, although some argue the original native range as being northern South America.

Huito plant is mainly found in places that are rich in loamy and alluvial soil. These need natural fertilizers in their case the fallen leaves that acts a fertilizer and helps in improving the fertility of the soil it’s growing and propagating in. Ideally this tree grows the best at an elevation below 3300 feet below the sea level. It adapts itself in weather conditions that are hot and humid, just like in Mexico. They are distributed and widely found on the lands of rainforest zones of northern South America, the Caribbean Islands and southern Mexico.

The plant grows to the height of 10 meters to 33 meters normally and one can spot huito plants growing between the ranges mentioned. The top of the tree adorns a dense crown and its branches are thick and dense with a foliage that has a wide spread with the lower branches of the tree growing in a horizontal direction. Talking about the trunk of the tree, it grows approximately at the width of 15 to 30 inches. The leaves of the tree are deciduous in nature that grow oblong in size and are placed oppositely to each other having very short petioles. Known for its dense nature they are many in number and crowded at the apex of the branches. The leaves of this plant grow to the size of 4 to 1 inches in length and is 1 to 5 inches in breath. The leaf is dark green in colour with a glossy texture to it, occasionally giving it a tooth like edge to it. The flowers are white to yellowish, slightly fragrant, calyx bell-shaped, corolla at 2–4.5 cm long, trumpet-shaped, and five- or six-lobed. The five short stamens are inserted on top of the corolla tube. The fruit is a thick-skinned edible greyish berry 10–12 cm long, 5–9 cm in diameter….CLICK & SEE

Edible Uses: The fruits edible they are eaten in preserves or made into drinks, jelly, or ice cream.
Huito as a fruit can be eaten in multiple forms, it can be eaten raw right from the tree or it can also be used as a key ingredient in making many processed food products such as jams, desserts, syrups , in preparing lemonades and also as a flavouring agent in many non-alcoholic beverages. Apart from that it is also used in preparing wines and other liquors. The natural pulp of the fruit is used in preparation of ice creams.

Health benefits:
The bark tree known for its medicinal property id a thick and smooth bark that provides a medicinal decoction.
Huito, a fruit that’s a delight to taste buds and an immunity provider to the body. The plant of the huito fruit is used mainly to treat ailments such as common colds, infection in chest, asthma and problems related to breathing, respiratory disorders and also helps in curing sore throat. The benefits of the extracts procured dose not just limit itself to treating common ailments as mentioned above but, these also help in protecting the skin from Sunburns caused by harsh UV rays. A decoction derived out of the bark of the tree can also aid in healing various sores, the crushed pulp of the fruit can be applied on skin to cure pharyngitis, it’s a disorder caused by viral infection caused by bacteria in the throat causing inflammation and sore throat. The roots of this plant are also very useful as the decoction obtained from the roots acts a strong purgatory agent. The bark plays a vital role in providing white colored sap or a liquid that can be diluted to be used as an eye wash as it helps in treating corneal opacities. Another use of the juice extracted from the leaves is that it is used as a febrifuge in Central America where it is found prominently. The pulverized version of huito seeds are used for their caustic and emetic property.

Medicinal Uses :
Known for its medicinal properties huito has many medical uses credited to its name, a few of the many are discussed be Huito plant is known for its bactericidal, fungicidal, antiseptic and antibiotic property. The sap known for making eye refreshers is of great benefit to one’s eyes. Also high temperature and fever can be treated by the help of huito plant; an extract from the tree helps in healing the ailment. Ailments caused by candiru attacks can also be treated by using huito extracts. Tea made out of extracts of huito are used to heal bronchitis.

Other Uses:
The unripe fruit of G. americana yields a liquid used as a dye for tattoos, skin painting and insect repellent.The fruit huito is a very good source of dye that is organic and mainly used in body painting and body art. Apart from that is also used by designers to decorate fabrics and clothes. The wood obtained from this plant/ tree is put into the most commonly sighted use, the use of fire wood and timber. The bark of the tree known for its medicinal value is treat leather that is very rich in tannin. The plant is used as a fodder to feed the cattles, and the fruit is sometimes used as a bait to catch fishes. They also make an extremely nice ingredient in preparation of hair dyes and shampoos. The wood is reported to be resistant, strong, and easily worked; it is used in the making of utensils and in construction and carpentry.

Apart from the health benefits this plant has to offer one must also beware of the interesting facts it has to offer.
The colour of huito juice is clear but when it gets in touch with human skin it under goes a chemical reaction and changes its colour to blue. According to folklore it is believed that holding this plant in one’s hand will wade off evil spirit. This tree can also be used as a very good climbing tree to reach other trees. In some parts of the world the folklore claims that huito plant has natural glass present in them

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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