Petiveria alliacea

Botanical Name:Petiveria alliacea
Family: Phytolaccaceae
Genus: Petiveria
Species: P. alliacea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Caryophyllales

Common Names:It is known by a wide number of common names including: guinea henweed, anamu in the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Brazil (where it is also known as tipi), apacin in Guatemala, mucura in Peru, and guine in many other parts of Latin America, feuilles ave, herbe aux poules, petevere a odeur ail, and, in Trinidad, as mapurite (pronounced Ma-po-reete) and gully root, and many others.

Habitat : Petiveria alliacea is native to Florida and the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas in the United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and tropical South America. Introduced populations occur in Benin and Nigeria.

Description:
Petiveria alliacea is a deeply rooted herbaceous perennial shrub growing up to 1 m (3.3 ft) in height and has small greenish piccate flowers. The roots and leaves have a strong acrid, garlic-like odor which taints the milk and meat of animals that graze on it.It is a weedy herb; leaves simple, alternate, sessile, nearly sessile; flowers on spikes at stem apex and from uppermost nodes, white; fruits green, with three recurved, tightly appressed spines.

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Chemical Constituents:
Petiveria alliacea has been found to contain a large number of biologically active chemicals including benzaldehyde, benzoic acid, benzyl 2-hydroxyethyl trisulphide, coumarin, isoarborinol, isoarborinol acetate, isoarborinol cinnamate, isothiocyanates, polyphenols, senfol, tannins, and trithiolaniacine.

The plant’s roots have also been shown to contain cysteine sulfoxide derivatives that are analogous to, but different from, those found in such plants as garlic and onion. For example, P. alliacea contains S-phenylmethyl-L-cysteine sulfoxides (petiveriins A and B) and S-(2-hydroxyethyl)-L-cysteines (6-hydroxyethiins A and B). These compounds serve as the precursors of several thiosulfinates such as S-(2-hydroxyethyl) 2-hydroxyethane)thiosulfinate, S-(2-hydroxylethyl) phenylmethanethiosulfinate, S-benzyl 2-hydroxyethane)thiosulfinate and S-benzyl phenylmethanethiosulfinate (petivericin). All four of these thiosulfinates have been found to exhibit antimicrobial activity.  Petiveriin also serves as percursor to phenylmethanethial S-oxide, a lachrymatory agent structurally similar to syn-propanethial-S-oxide from onion,  but whose formation requires novel cysteine sulfoxide lyase and lachrymatory factor synthase enzymes differing from those found in onion.

Medicinal Uses:
It is an important medicinal and ritual plant in southern Florida, Central America and the Caribbean, especially in the Santeria religion and has common names in many languages.  Whole plants, leaves, and roots are collected for use in decoctions.  Fresh leaves are bound around the head for headaches or juiced for direct application for earache. It reputedly calms the nerves, controls diarrhea, lowers fever, stimulates the uterus, and relaxes spasms and is used for paralysis, hysteria, asthma, whooping cough, pneumonia, bronchitis, hoarseness, influenza, cystitis, venereal disease, menstrual complaints and abortion.

Other Uses:
P. alliacea is used as a bat and insect repellent

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petiveria_alliacea
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://chalk.richmond.edu/flora-kaxil-kiuic/p/petiveria_alliacea_4578_01s.JPG

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