Dipteryx odorata is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae. That tree is native to Central America and northern South America. Its seeds are known as tonka beans (sometimes tonkin beans or tonquin beans). They are black and wrinkled and have a smooth, brown interior. They have a strong fragrance similar to sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum) due to their high content ofcoumarin. The word "tonka" is taken from the Galibi (Carib) tongue spoken by natives of French Guiana; it also appears in Tupi, another language of the same region, as the name of the tree. The old genus name, Coumarouna, was formed from another Tupi name for tree, kumarú.
Some people apply tonka bean directly to the affected area for mouth ulcers, earache, and sore throat. In manufacturing, coumarin, one of the active constituents of tonka bean, is used as a flavoring and fragrance in various products in food, liquor, tobacco, soap, andcosmetics. In foods, the seeds are used to make a nutty-flavored beverage.
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