If you're looking to learn all about the jagua fruit, and how it can be used as body art, you are in the right place! This post will give you information about jagua's history, how its used today, and what ways it has been used traditionally.
What is Jagua?
Traditional Jagua Uses
Jagua is used for many medicinal purposes as well as the body adornment of many indigenous tribes in the Americas. Most societies use jagua on top of the skin for a temporary marking, however, the Matses Indians and a few other tribes of Peru also insert the fruit under the skin to create a permanent marking.
Particularly, there is the Kayapo people who use jagua mixed with charcoal to create full body suites of temporary tattoos. In the picture below see how the little one has a very dark color. This is freshly applied jagua and charcoal mixed. The others have various progression of stains, these are solely jagua stain at this point, with the charcoal washed off.
Jagua Gel - Temporary Tattoo
Today jagua gel has been used across other cultures as well. We tend to use jagua with the same stylings as a henna tattoo, however, it has so many more style uses. Jagua gel is great for shading and drawing very fine lines, since it's so potent and stains so darkly with the littlest of product. With this and the jagua coming out similar to a permanent tattoo color, it is great for tattoo testing.
Do be careful when seeking out jagua gel as a temporary tattoo. A very common product called "Black Henna" tries to mimic the jagua stain. This black henna isn't really henna at all, and is mostly made of PPD and other dyes to create the dark, long lasting stain. These dyes can also cause blisters and permanent scaring, even trouble with the respiratory system.
For the jagua fruit however, it's safe for everyone without a fruit allergy. Since jagua is a fruit, if you do have an allergy to fruits (particularly berries or citrus), the skin will show some itchy red bumps along the design after day 3 or 4.
For most people, Jagua is the perfect remedy for wanting a real tattoo, but is unable decide what to get. Or maybe you wish to avoid the pain, or just want some cool body art! Whatever the case, jagua is definitely a fan favorite. And since the product I use comes from the Kayapo and harvested by them, your purchase benefits the tribe and their ability to continue their way of life into the modern age. They also have a site for their beaded bracelets and necklaces that are insanely cost friendly at Kayapo Art