I first got to know about this strange fruit when I was on a trip in the Amazon staying in a nature reserve in Peru. They called it Huito there in Peru and but it has quite a few names. It is more commonly known as Jagua (pronounced "hagwa") and grows exclusively in the Amazon region. Jagua is used as a powerful dye which is blue black in color and is great for creating temporary tattoos. I'm sure most of you out there know about henna which is also a natural dye extracted from plants and stain the skin various shades of brown. Jagua ink is blue black and so makes a much more tattoo like result without the commitment and risk.
The dye for tattooing is extracted by grating the hard fruit and mixing it with a little water. When you are grating the fruit the liquid comes out clear and takes a little time to develop its color. So here's a photo of your dear Sarah Calavera in the jungle making the ink...I did not realize at the time that my hands would turn super avatar blue for two weeks so remember to wear gloves when handling this ink!
Jagua ink lasts up to 15 days on the skin and fades to a lighter blue as the days go on. The color looks much more like the ink from a regular biro pen and personally I think it gives much better results than henna which tends to look like a nasty orange after it wears off.
Jagua is moving into popular culture for temporary tattooing and you can pick up special kits that contain a Jagua ink gel and various sized tips for intricate work. It's versatility and color can make some pretty awesome temporary tattoos maybe even as a test to see how a tattoo could look on you before taking the plunge into a real one.
I discovered an awesome artist working out of Los Angeles creating awesome unique pieces using Jagua gel. Kaleb Caldwell is the resident Jagua artist at Henna City and has done some mind-blowing work. Check out some of his designs including a killer video of him at work on a Joker piece in Jagua.
You can find out more about temporary tattooing with Jagua at Henna City's website. Have fun and remember to wear gloves if you decide to make your own ink.