Metopium brownei (also known as chechem, chechen, or black poisonwood) is a species of plant in the family Anacardiaceae. It is found in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Jamaica, northern Guatemala, Belize, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba(rare) and from the Yucatán to Veracruz in Mexico. The wood of this tree is a valuable source of lumber in Central America and the West Indies. Like its cousin Florida Poisonwood (Metopium toxiferum), it produces urushiol in its bark, which can cause contact dermatitis; therefore live trees and fresh cut logs should be handled carefully.
An antidote for urushiol-induced contact dermatitis in Belize and Guatemala is said to be the gumbo-limbo tree, of which the wood sap just under the bark is used topically, and a red tea made from boiling the gumbo-limbo leaves is then used several times a day as a wash or salve to alleviate itching and speed recovery/healing.
Media related to Metopium brownei at Wikimedia Commons
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