Herb: Sago Palm

Latin name: Cycas circinalis

Synonyms: Cycas circinallis

Family: Cycadaceae

Medicinal use of Sago Palm:

The pollen is narcotic. The bark and the seeds are ground to a paste with oil and used as a poultice on sores and swellings. The juice of tender leaves is useful in the treatment of flatulence and vomiting.

Description of the plant:


3.5 m
(11 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Forest undergrowth.

Edible parts of Sago Palm:

The pith is rich in carbohydrate and a sago can be made from it. This use will kill the plant. The raw seed is poisonous, but after being cut into thin slices, dried, then steeped in water for a few minutes and dried again, it becomes edible. It can be used as a sago. Using the seed for food cannot be recommended, however. See the notes above on toxicity. The very young leaves are edible. The plant yields a gum. No further details are given.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe, 2cm deep in individual pots which are then sealed in plastic bags to keep them moist until germination takes place. Germinates in 1 - 3 months at 25C. Pre-soak stored seed for 24 hours in warm water then treat as above. Division of suckers in the spring.

Cultivation of Sago Palm:

Forest undergrowth.

Known hazards of Cycas circinalis:

The plants contain alkaloids of carcinogens and also an amino-acid that causes chronic nervous disorders. Regular consumption of the plant leads to severe health problems and death. This toxic principle can be removed if the food is properly prepared but consumption of the plant still cannot be recommended because its use often means the death of the plant and it is becoming rare in the wild.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.