Highly revered in Native American cultures, the Osage tree is has admired for centuries. The bark, fruits, and leaves all contain phytonutrients that are responsible for the tree’s proposed health benefits. Its volatile oils make it a strong, natural insecticide, and many of its compounds have also been shown to protect the body against many types of harmful organisms. Available literature gives insight into the tree's power to promote human health.
Health Benefits of Osage Tree
The benefits of Osage tree, or Maclura pomifera, are numerous, ranging from positive effects on the immune system and cardiovascular system.
Harmful Organism Protection
Some research shows that the Osage tree contains potent compounds responsible for fighting various types of fungus and bacteria. Research is ongoing to determine how these compounds can be applied to human health.  The main chemical compound that exhibits fungal and bacterial fighting abilities is 2,3,4,5-tetrahydroxystilbene and is found primarily in the wood. 
Heart disease is the number one killer among men and women alike, and researchers are scrambling to find solutions. Flavonoids found in the Osage tree – osajin and pomiferin – have been shown to promote heart function in animal tests; largely due to its antioxidant activity. 
Many degenerative health problems are amplified by oxidative stress – metabolic stress induced by diet and environmental toxins. Dietary antioxidants offer a great deal of promise for decreasing oxidative stress in the body and supporting overall health. The Osage tree contains high levels of isoflavones, a type of antioxidant similar to vitamin C and E. 
Immune System Support
The immune system is the most important factor for supporting our health, providing a barrier against infectious and viral bacteria. The immune system can become compromised through stress, improper diet, and lack of exercise. Research shows that pomiferin, a natural antioxidant in the Osage tree, significantly boosts immune system function. 
Unlike other trees, the Osage tree is typically free from pests, an allusion to its natural insecticide activity. Some limited preliminary research suggests concentrated compounds extracted from the fruit of the Osage tree may repel insects. 
One Final Thought
The Osage tree shows much promise and it's only through increased interest and research that we will start seeing further applications. Whether it's fighting off harmful organisms or supporting the immune system, I suspect we'll hear of an array of benefits reported in the future.
Have you ever heard of the Osage tree? What are your thoughts on its benefits? Please let us know in the comments!
- Roderick A. Barnes, Nancy Nichols Gerber. The Antifungal Agent from Osage Orange Wood. Journal of the American Chemical Society. June 1955, 77 (12), pp 3259-3262. DOI: 10.1021/ja01617a032.
- Don Janssen. Hedge Apples & Osage Orange Trees. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
- Necas J, Bartoslkova L, Florian T, Klusakova J, Suchy V, Naggar EM, Janostikova E, Bartosik T, Liskova M. Protective effects of the flavonoids osajin and pomiferin on heart ischemia-reperfusion. Ceska Slov Farm. 2006 July;55(4):168-74.
- Tsao R, Yang R, Young JC. Antioxidant isoflavones in a Osage orange, Maclura pomifera (Raf.) Schneid. Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry. 2003 October 22;51(22):6445-51.
- Zhao D, Yao C, Chen X, Xia H, Zhang L, Liu H, Jiang X, Dai Y, Liu J. The fruits of Maclura pomifera extracts inhibits glioma stem-like cell growth and invasion. Neurochemical Research. 2013 October;38(10):2105-13. doi: 10.1007/s11064-013-1119-8.
- Jennifer Schultz Nelson. Osage Orange--Maclura pomifera. University of Illinois. October 22, 2006.
†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.