Tonka Bean

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What other names is Tonka Bean known by?

Almendrillo Negro, Coumarouna odorata, Cumaru, Cumarú, Dipteryx odorata, Dutch Tonka, English Tonka, Fève Tonka, Gaïac de Cayenne, Tonka, Tonka Seed, Tonquin Bean, Torquin Bean.

What is Tonka Bean?

Tonka bean is a tree. The fruit and seed are used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac); and to treat cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, tuberculosis, wasting due to chronic disease, swelling caused by a blockage in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis.

Some people apply tonka bean directly to the affected area for mouth ulcers, earache, and sore throat.

In manufacturing, coumarin, one of the active constituents of tonka bean, is used as a flavoring and fragrance in various products in food, liquor, tobacco, soap, and cosmetics.

In foods, the seeds are used to make a nutty-flavored beverage.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of tonka bean for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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How does Tonka Bean work?

Tonka bean contains ingredients that help improve swelling (inflammation) and water retention.

Are there safety concerns?

Tonka bean is UNSAFE. It can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, sleeplessness, and liver problems.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers any food containing tonka bean or tonka bean extract to be impure.

There isn't enough information to know whether it is safe to apply tonka bean directly to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Tonka bean is UNSAFE. Don't use it if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Liver disease: Coumarin, a chemical in tonka bean, can cause liver damage. This could make existing liver disease worse.

Dosing considerations for Tonka Bean.

The appropriate dose of tonka bean depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for tonka bean. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
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Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

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