Friday, April 12, 2013

Kalachuchi (Plumeria acuminata)

Kalachuchi (pronounced as "ka-la-choo-chi") is a very fragrant flower that is also known as  Temple Flower, Frangipiani, Graveyard Flowers or by its scientific  name Plumeria acuminata

The petals of the Kalachuchi flowers are white with a touch of yellow at its center. The fragrance is amazing and it is sometimes used in making perfumes. In the Philippines (where I grew up), the flowers are a favorite for making decorations. However, Kalachuchi also have medicinal properties. 

kalachuchi 3
kalachuchi (Photo credit: erasmusa)
It is said that the plant's latex or sap is good for treating skin problems like athlete's foot and much more. When the latex is mixed with coconut oil, it is used for treating itchiness. A decoction made from the plant's bark is said to be useful in treating toothache, dysentery, and diarrhea. A poultice made from its leaves can reduce swelling. 

In Filipino culture, Kalachuchi flowers are usually given to the dead which is why it is also known as Graveyard Flower. Although local lore has it that having a the plant nearby would cause a strain in relationships, we had a healthy plant in our old home in Pasig and we were just fine. :)

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