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Coco de mer fruit, Praslin Island, Seychelles, 1851-1930

The coco de mer palm produces the largest seed in the plant kingdom. The palm is found in only two of the 115 islands in the Seychelles archipelago in the Indian Ocean. It is known as an endemic species. This means one that is unique to a specific location. Many endemic species have evolved on isolated islands. The empty seed pods were discovered floating in the sea by seafarers. They had been swept away on tidal currents. Similarity to the female form made the fruits highly collectable. The coco de mer fruit is used within Chinese Traditional Medicine. It treats throat and chest complaints. The kernel of the nut is used within Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-diabetic medicine. The water from the green fruit neutralises stomach acids. Western herbal traditions use the coco de mer to treat nervousness and insomnia.

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Glossary: Traditional Chinese Medicine

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a medical tradition originating in China, but now used worldwide. Treatments include herbal medicine, massage and acupuncture, which are combined to create a therapy tailored to the patient.

Glossary: Ayurveda

An Indian medical tradition. Literally translated it means ‘Life Science’ and promotes mental and physical health through balancing biological elements. Ayurveda focuses on exercise, massage, yoga and meditation.

Glossary: materia medica

A Latin medical term sometimes used to refer to medical substances.

Glossary: coco de mer

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