Health: Scientists discover Blushwood berry fruit cures cancer

InformAfrica Health: Scientists have discovered from an eight-year study, that berry fruits from an Australian Blushwood tree (Fontainea) cures cancer. If you are reading this, you may be wondering if this cancer-fighting fruit tree can be found in Africa. See pictures of the medicinal fruit and it’s tree on InformAfrica, and go look for it.

Blushwood berry fruit - fontainea

Blushwood berry fruit, scientifically called Fontainea.

The Blushwood fruit tree reportedly thrives in Australian Rainforest where it has only been found so far. That makes sense, since one out of four ingredients in medicines are from rainforest plants. In a similar fashion, many parts of Africa is blessed with tropical rainforest, so that might be the best place to look when searching for this fruit on the African continent.


The African rainforests are home to an abundance of plant life, and of course tropical animals. Out of all the Africa landforms, rainforest is by far the most teeming with life. Rainforest are forests characterized by high rainfall. African rainforest can be found spread across east, central, and west Africa and cover over 2.2 million square miles (3.6 million square kilometers).

Over 8,000 plant species have been discovered in the rainforest of Africa. These plants have adapted to the rainforest environment which is very humid, dark, and receives a lot of rain. Here are some interesting facts about plants found in the African rainforest.

That being said, below are informative facts about African Rainforest Plants:

  • One out of four ingredients in medicines are from rainforest plants.
  • Trees account for approximately seventy percent of the vegetation in the rainforests. There are approximately six hundred tree species in the rainforest of Africa.
  • This Africa landform has 4 layers the emergent, upper canopy, understory, and forest floor.
  • Coconut trees are common in the African rainforest.
  • The Kapok tree, found in the African rainforest, is one of the tallest rainforest tree species.
  • Two thousand five hundred species of vines grow in the rainforest.
  • The trees of a tropical rainforest are so densely packed that rain falling on the canopy can take as long as 10 minutes to reach the ground.


According to new breakthrough cancer discovery, scientists have been surprised by the rapid cancer-fighting properties of a berry found in a plant called Blushwood (Fontainea) in Far North Queensland of Australia.

Blushwood fruit picture

This is what the inside of the Blushwood fruit looks like. It possess cancer-fighting compounds.

An eight-year study led by Dr Glen Boyle, from the QIMR Berghofer medical research institute in Brisbane Australia, found a compound in the berry could kill head and neck tumours as well as melanomas.

Already, an experimental drug has been derived from the berry and has been used on 300 animals, including cats, dogs and horses; showing great results.

Dr Boyle who led the study said in 75 per cent of cases, the cancerous tumor disappeared and had not come back. In his own words:

“There’s a compound in the seed – it’s a very, very complicated process to purify this compound and why it’s there in the first place, we don’t know,” he said.

Dog with cancer cured with blushwood berry

A dog called Oscar pre-treatment with the berry compound (L) and 15 days after treatment (R).
Image supplied by: QIMR Berghofer Medical Institute.

“The compound works by three ways essentially: it kills the tumour cells directly, it cuts off the blood supply and it also activates the body’s own immune system to clean up the mess that’s left behind.”

According to Dr Boyle, there were no side effects, but what amazed scientists most was how fast it worked: it took effect within five minutes and the tumors disappeared in a matter of days.

“The surprising thing for us and the thing that we don’t see very often is the speed with which this occurs,” Dr Boyle said.

“Usually when you treat a tumor it takes several weeks for it to resolve, but this is very, very rapid.

“There’s a purpling of the area, of the tumor itself, and you see that within five minutes and you come back the next day and the tumour’s black and you come back a few days later and the tumor’s fallen off.”

  • Scientific name: Fontainea oraria
  • Family: Euphorbiaceae:Euphorbiales:Magnoliopsida:Magnoliophyta:Plantae
Blushwood fruit tree for cancer

Take a close look at the Blushwood fruit tree. Where can it be found in Africa?

The berry grows on the blushwood tree, which was found in the pockets of Far North Queensland in Australia. However, Africa being the mother of nature with over 8,000 plant species found in rainforest across the continent; the blushwood tree or a similar wild species–should exist within Africa.

Coastal Fontainea (scientifically, Fontainea oraria) is a shrub or small tree that grows 8–10 m high, sometimes with separate stems from the base. The leaves are spirally arranged up the stem, 8–12 cm long, dark green, smooth and shiny above, and paler and slightly glossy below. There are two small oval glands raised 0.5–4 mm from the leaf base. The petioles (leaf stalks) are 1–2 cm long and swollen at the junction with the leaf base.

Coastal Fontainea has small (1 cm diameter) whitish flowers with four or five petals and silky to velvety hairs (4–6 mm long). The fruit is a red, fleshy globose drupe, slightly downy and 2–2.4 cm in diameter. The inner bark and leaf stalk has no smell and a watery, red exudate when damaged. The branchlets are moderately thick, green but turning fawn where leafless. They are smooth but ridged below each leaf stalk and the leaf shoots are hairy (Floyd 1989; Harden 1990).


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