The Aratilis or Saresa is part of my childhood, I climbed this tree many times like how many times I climbed a guava or mango tree growing up. The aratiles or Muntingia Calabura is a flowering plant that grows in a few parts of the world including Mexico and Philippines, it was commonly called Jamaica cherry, Panama Berry, Bajelly tree and other alternative names.
The Aratilis is the most favorite wild fruit by kids in the Philippines since they just grow anywhere without someone planting them. When I was still a kid I always go to the house across my grandmother’s house because they have an aratilis tree in their yard then I think my late grandfather observes my liking to the fruit that he replanted aratilis tree in our backyard but sad to say I wasn’t able to climb it since we went home and live to my father’s hometown where I found an aratilis tree to climb.
Today, my cousin’s kids and their playmates were also like me who loves to climb the aratilis tree that surprisingly grow along the path in the field. The other day while letting our dog wander in the field I asked my sister to pick aratilis but she left ahead of me since she has work to do, I was amazed that there was a lot of ripe aratilis in the tree which is not normal because most of the time the tree has no red fruit since the kids love to pick them as well. While jumping and trying to reach the ripe aratilis my older cousin’s toddler daughter came and extend her right arm and says “be” she was asking for the fruit I’ve picked. I was shocked the way she asked for the fruit, she didn’t even asked if she can have some she just want to took it from me like she asked me to picked them for her so I told her to climb and get her own fruit but I have changed my mind thinking she’ll going to cry so I handed the aratilis I have in my hand and by looking up in the tree I found more up top so I decided to climb the tree and while at top I have asked her to pin point the red ones for me and informed her that I will not give the fruits right away because I have to take photos of them first and she willingly agreed.
Browsing online I have found that aratilis aren’t not just merely a wild fruit that grew anywhere because it has medicinal usage, in traditional medicine, its leaves can be used as an antiseptic or antipruritic and to treat abdominal cramps while another study claimed that aratilis leaves possess antinociceptive (reducing sensitivity to pain), anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and antipruritic properties, justifying the folkloric medicinal use.