Common names: Rubbertree, jebe, arbre de para
General Description: The rubber tree is tall , growing to 100 feet, and impressively wide, as its aerial roots reach the ground. Its leaves are smooth, dark and shiny; its bark is light-colored. These protective trees keep delicate soil from eroding, allow secondary crops such as bananas and cacao to be grown between the trees, and provide a regular monthly income for locals who might otherwise resort to the illegal logging of lucrative tropical hardwoods growing naturally in the deeper forest .
The tropical tree 'Hevea brasiliensis' is also known as para rubber tree and is the most important commercial source of natural rubber. Natural rubber has many properties that make it better under certain conditions than the synthetic version. It is used in engineering, footwear and adhesives.
Location: Although indigenous to South America, the rubber tree was introduced to colonial Southeast Asia by the British in the late 1800s. One species– Hevea brasiliensis –now supplies approximately 98 % of the world's natural rubber, mostly from well-run plantations in Asia, Africa and Ceylon.
Uses: Research and history have already shown that the rubber tree is the more competitive source of natural rubber. Among plants, the rubber tree is unique in its capacity to produce voluminous latex upon tapping and to replenish this supply rapidly in readiness for the next tapping.
Economical life span of a rubber tree is between 10 to 20 years, but may extend past 25 years in the hands of a skilled tapper and bark consumption. The average annual yield of "dry" rubber per acre is about 1,000 pounds, at current rubber prices a once-impoverished, landless settler family can look forward to a net income of about $ 150 a month for the first 15 years and $ 225 a month for the following 10 years; this is more than four times the families previous average income and, in Malaysia, these income levels mean prosperity.
The life force of the rubber tree is a white liquid consisting of minute rubber particles cultivated and harvested then foamed with giant mixers and molded. The latex that exudes from the rubber tree is free of animal viruses and other contagion vectors.
Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.