Small evergreen tree growing to 26 ft (8 m). Has black-dotted leaves with a dark green upper surface and red-brown hairs underneath, and clusters of creamy-white flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Haronga is native to Madagascar and East Africa, and grows in tropical areas. The leaves and bark are collected throughout the year.
Haronga bark contains phenolic pigments, triterpenes, anthraquinones, and tannins. The leaves contain phenolic pigments, the diterpene hypericin, flavonoids, and tannins. Hypericin, which is also found in St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum), has antiviral properties.
History & Folklore
Haronga resin has traditionally been used in Africa to secure arrowheads onto shafts.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Thought to stimulate bile secretion, haronga is used in European herbal medicine to treat indigestion and poor pancreatic function. In African herbal medicine, haronga is chiefly employed as an astringent and mild laxative, and is also given for digestive system ailments such as diarrhea and dysentery.