Tag Archives: Guatemala

Sabadilla

Botanical Name : Veratrum sabadilla
Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Schoenocaulon
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Liliales

Synonyms: Cevadilla. Schoenocaulon officinale. Melanthium sabadilla. Veratrum officinale. Helonias officinalis. Sabadilla officinarum. Asagraea officinalis. Sabadillermer.

Common name: Cevadilla, sabadillermer, caustic barley, Schoenocaulon officinale, Melanthian sabadilla, Helonias officinalis, Sabadilla officinarum, Asagraea officinalis.

Habitat: Sabadilla is native to Southern North America, Guatemala and Venezuela.

Description:
The name Schcenocaulon indicates the habit of the scape, meaning ‘a rush’ and ‘a stem.’ The name Asagrcea commemorates Professor Asa Gray of Harvard University, the most distinguished of living American botanists. It is not quite certain whether the seeds are obtained from the Veratrum Sabadilla, a plant 3 or 4 feet high, or from the V. officinale, differing slightly in appearance and construction. Its leaves are radical, oval-oblong, obtuse, ribbed. Its stem is almost leafless. The panicle is nearly simple. The flowers have short pedicels, and are nodding.

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The seeds are black, shining, flat, shrivelled and winged, odourless, with a bitter, acrid, persistent and disagreeable taste, the pale grey, amorphous powder being errhine and violently sternutatory. The seeds were known in Europe as early as 1752, but officially only as the source of veratrine. Its fruit and seeds are said to be brought from the Antilles, under the name of cebadilla, (semina sabadilla caribaeae).

Medicinal uses:
Parts used: The seeds. They contain several alkaloids including veratrine, sabadillie, sabadine, sabadinine and cevadine, which hydrolyzes to cevine. They also contain voatric acid, cevadic acid, resin and fat.

Constituents: Sabadilla contains several alkaloids, the most important being Cevadine, yielding cevine on hydrolysis; Veratrine, obtained from the syrupy liquor from which the cevadine has crystallized; and Cevadilline or Sabadillie, obtained after the extraction of the veratrine with ether.

Two other alkaloids have been isolated: Sabadine, which is less sternutatory than veratrine, and Sabadinine, which is not sternutatory. Sabadilla yields about 0.3 per cent of veratrine. The seeds also contain veratric acid, cevadic acid, fat and resin.
Drastic emetic and Cathartic, Vermifuge.

The powdered seeds have been used to expel parasitic worms and to kill and remove parasitic mites or other vermin from the hair. An extract called veratria is derived from the seeds and despite it being highly poisonous, it is occasionally taken internally in minute doses. When taken internally, it can ease acute rheumatic pain and gout and also help some inflammatory diseases. Veratria is more commonly used as an ointment for neuralgia and rheumatism. This drug has a powerful action on the heart causing it to slow and eventually stop beating entirely.

-Sabadilla, or cevadilla, is an acrid, drastic emeto-cathartic, in overdoses capable of producing fatal results. Cevine was found to be less poisonous than cevadine, though producing similar symptoms. The powdered seeds have been used as a vermifuge, and to destroy vermin in the hair, being the principal ingredient of the pulvis capucinorum used in Europe. Cevadilla was formerly used internally as an anthelmintic, and in rheumatic and neuralgic affections. The highly poisonous veratria, which is derived from it, has been given in minute doses internally in acute rheumatism and gout, and in some inflammatory diseases, but it must be used with caution. Veratria is useful as an ointment in rheumatism and neuralgia, but is regarded as being less valuable than aconite. The ointment is also employed for the destruction of pedicule. Applied to unbroken skin it produces tingling and numbness, followed by coldness and anaesthesia. Given subcutaneously, it causes violent pain and irritation, in addition to the symptoms following an internal dose. The principal reason against its internal use is its powerful action on the heart, the contractions of the organ becoming fewer and longer until the heart stops in systole.

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://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sabadi01.html
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/pereira/veratrum-saba.html
http://www.herbal-encyclopedia.net/s/sabadilla-veratrum-sabadilla-or-veratrum-officinale.html

Mitchella repens

Botanical Name :Mitchella repens
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Mitchella
Species: M. repens
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Common Name :Mitchella repens , Partridge Berry, or Squaw Vine.  The species is dispersed throughout eastern North America, from south Eastern Canada south to Florida and Texas, and to Guatemala. It is found growing in dry or moist woods, along stream banks and on sandy slopes.

Habitat :Mitchella repens is occurring in North America and Japan, and belonging to the madder family (Rubiaceae).

Description:
Partridge Berry is an evergreen plant growing as a non-climbing vine, no taller than 6 cm tall with creeping stems 15 to 30 cm long. The evergreen, dark green, shiny leaves are ovate to cordate in shape. The leaves have a pale yellow midrib. The petioles are short, and the leaves are paired oppositely on the stems. Adventitious roots may grow at the nodes; and rooting stems may branch and root repeatedly, producing loose spreading mats.
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The small, trumpet-shaped, axillary flowers are produced in pairs, and each flower pair arises from one common calyx which is covered with fine hairs. Each flower has four white petals, one pistil, and four stamens. Partridge Berry is a distylous taxa. The plants have either flowers with long pistils and short stamens (long-styled flowers, called the pin), or have short pistils and long stamens (short-styled flowers, called the thrum). The two style morphs are genetically determined, so the pollen from one morph does not fertilize the other morph, resulting in a form of heteromorphic self-incompatibility.

Partridge Berry (Mitchella repens)
Foliage, inflorescence, and unopened blossom
BerriesThe ovaries of the twin flowers fuse, so that there were two flowers for each berry. The two bright red spots on each berry are vestiges of this process. The fruit ripens between July and October, and may persist through the winter. The fruit is a drupe containing up to eight seeds. The fruits are never abundant. They may be part of the diets of several birds, such as Ruffed Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Northern Bobwhite, and Wild turkey. They are also consumed by foxes, White-footed mice, and skunks. The foliage is occasionally consumed by White-tailed deer.

The common reproduction is vegetative, with plants forming spreading colonies.

Cultivation and uses:
Mitchella repens is cultivated for its ornamental red berries and shiny, bright green foliage. It is grown as a creeping ground cover in shady locations. It is rarely propagated for garden use by way of seeds but cuttings are easy.The plants have been widely collected for Christmas decorations, and over collecting has impacted some local populations negatively. American Indian woman made a tea from the leaves and berries that was consumed during childbirth. The plants are sometimes grown in terrariums. The scarlet berries are edible but rather tasteless, with a faint flavour of wintergreen, resembling cranberries (to which they are not closely related).

Medicinal Uses:
The Indians ate the berries and dined on a medicinal jelly when experiencing fever.  It has been used to promote easy labor and prevent miscarriage.  It is a nourishing and safe remedy for women from puberty through menopause, including during pregnancy and lactation, especially where there is a history of difficult pregnancy or a weak reproductive system.  In cases of chronic weakness or disease, it needs to be taken for 4-8 weeks before results may be seen.  It is a specific treatment for uterine hemorrhage and therefore it is indicated in menopausal flooding as well as heavy uterine blood loss of any kind after diagnosis by a health-care provider.  Partridge berry may also relieve painful periods.  The dose is limited to one cup of tea of the single herb per day or up to one-fourth part of a formula by weight, three standard cups per day.  Partridge berry herb does apparently contradictory things: it relaxes pregnant women while it tones up the uterine and pelvic muscles and it soothes nervous “jumpiness.” Its actions are astringent (for weak uterine tone, but it is not drying or constipating), diuretic, emmenagogue and parturient taken during the few weeks before birth.  A well-known early 20th century preparation, called Mother’s Cordial, combined it with cram bark, unicorn root, sassafras oil, brandy, and sugar.  It appeared in the US National Formulary from 1926 to 1947 for treating uterine problems.  It improves digestion and calms the nervous system.  At times it has been substituted for pipsissewa as a treatment for urinary tract infections.

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/Mitchella_repens
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dendrology/syllabus/factsheet.cfm?ID=147
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_OPQ.htm

Vitex gaumeri

Botanical Name : Vitex gaumeri
Family: Verbenaceae
Genus: Vitex
Species: V. gaumeri
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Common Names : Fiddlewood, Walking Lady, or Yax-nik

Habitat :Vitex gaumeri is found in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico.The species is found in damp forest or secondary formations, often on limestone and occasionally pine ridges.

Description:
Vitex gaumeri is a  small to midium  tree; leaves opposite, palmately compound; leaflets elliptic, base obtuse, margin entire, apex obtuse to acute, minutely pubescent; inflorescence an axillary panicle; corolla bilaterally symmetric, blue, with white and/or yellow at the throat; fruit globose, fleshy.

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Medicinal Uses:
To treats skin fungus, infected sores, and ringworm, toasted and powdered fiddle wood bark is applied over a bit of oil which holds the powder on the skin. A tea made from boiled bark is useful to wash wounds. For biliousness a strip of bark 1 inch by 3 inches is boiled in 3 cups of water for 5 minutes and taken in ½ cups doses over 12 hours- the use of this treatment should not exceed 3 days. Leaves boiled in water are used as a bath for asthma, malaria and chills. Crushed leaves are applied as a poultice to sores and wounds

Other Uses:
The wood is durable and used in the construction of diverse items. Listed as an important source of pollen and/or nectar for bees (Souza Novello 1981).

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://chalk.richmond.edu/flora-kaxil-kiuic/v/vitex_gaumeri.html
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm
http://beta.backyardnature.net/yucatan/vitex.htm
http://www.iucnredlist.org/apps/redlist/details/37086/0

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Acalypha arvensis

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Botanical Name : Acalypha arvensis
Family :Euphorbiaceae – Spurge family
Genus: Acalypha L. – copperleaf
Species: Acalypha arvensis Poepp. – field copperleaf
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom :Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order :Euphorbiales

Common Name : Cancer Bush, Field Copperleaf
Vernacular names:
Creole speaking countries : lanmwaz, zeb akrab, zouti-bata
Guatemala : hierba del cáncer

Habitat :Native to Mexico, Central America, northern South America to Brazil, Bolivia. Herb of open disturbed moist areas.

Description:
Acalypha arvensis  is a forb/herb (a forb/herb is a non-woody plant that is not a grass) of the genus Acalypha. It’s duration is annual which means it grows for one season only. Acalypha Arvensis or Field Copperleaf‘s floral region is North America US

You may click to see the pictures of  Acalypha arvensis       

Annual or perennial plant, up to 50 cm in height, with branches sometimes angling down.  Leaves elongated, ovate, or glandular-punctate, 3 to 7 cm in long.  Flowers, in spikes, 1.5 to 3 cm long, emerging from axillary leaf shoots; capsule 2 mm, pilose.

Medicinal Uses:
The common name hierba del cancer stems not from the ability of the plant to fight cancer but rather because of the local use of the word cancer to mean an open sore.  The plant is used as a remedy in Belize for a variety of serious skin conditions such as fungus, ulcers, ringworm and itching or burning labia in women.  It is used throughout Latin America as a diuretic. The leaves are used in Guatemala not only as a diuretic but also to treat kidney-related problems.  In Haiti  it is used to treat diarrhea, inflammations and dyspepsia.    In a study of plants used in Guatemala as a diuretic and for the treatment of urinary ailments, extracts of the plant were shown to increase urinary output by 52%.  A dried leaf tincture has been shown to be active against Staphylococcus aureus but inactive against some other bacteria.

Excellent remedy to wash skin conditions of the worst kind such as chronic rashes, blisters, peeling skin, deep sores, ulcers, fungus, ringworm, inflammation, itching and burning of labia in women – boil one entire plant in one quart water for 10 minutes; strain and wash area with very hot water 3 times daily.  Leaves may be dried and toasted and passed through a screen to make a powder to sprinkle on sores, skin infections, or boils. For stomach complaints or urinary infections, boil one entire plant in 3 cups water for 5 minutes; drink 3 cups of warm decoction 3 times a day (1 cup before each meal).  The local use of the word “cancer” refers to a type of open sore.  A dried leaf tincture was shown to have in vitro activity against Staphylococcus aureus.

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://www.tramil.net/fototeca/imageDisplay1.php?id_elem=250&lang=en
http://www.sagebud.com/field-copperleaf-acalypha-arvensis/
http://www.saintlucianplants.com/floweringplants/euphorbiaceae/acalarve/acalarve.html
http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=ACAR16

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm

Sarsaparilla (Smilax sarsaparilla )

Botanical Name : Smilax sarsaparilla
FamilySmilacaceae
Genus: Smilax
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Species: S. regelii
Common NamesSarsaparilla , zarzaparrilla,  Honduran Sarsaparilla,  Jamaican Sarsaparilla., khao yen, saparna, smilace, smilax, zarzaparilla, jupicanga

Habitat :Smilax sarsaparilla is native to Central America.

Description:
It is a perennial trailing vine with prickly stems that . Common names include It is known in Spanish as zarzaparrilla, which is derived from the words zarza, meaning “shrub,” and parrilla, meaning “little grape vine.”

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Subshrubs or vines ; rhizomes black, knotted, 5-6 × 2 cm, often with white to pinkish stolons. Stems perennial , prostrate to clambering , branching, slender, to 1 m , ± woody, densely woolly-pubescent, usually prickly (especially at base ). Leaves mostly evergreen , ± evenly disposed; petiole 0.05-0.25 cm, often longer on sterile shoots ; blade gray-green, drying to ashy gray-green, obovate to ovate-lanceolate, with 3 prominent veins, 6-10.5 × 5-8 cm, glabrous adaxially, densely puberulent abaxially, base cordate to deeply notched , margins entire, apex bluntly pointed . Umbels 1-7, axillary to leaves, 5-16-flowered, loose , spherical ; peduncle 0.2-0.8 cm, shorter than to 1.5 as long as petiole of subtending leaf. Flowers: perianth yellowish; tepals 3-4 mm; anthers much shorter than filaments ; ovule 1 per locule; pedicel thin, 0.1-0.4 cm. Berries red, ovoid , 5-8 mm, with acute beaks , not glaucous. (source   :Flora of North America)

The red, pointed fruits and densely pubescent herbage of Smilax pumila are distinctive.

The name Smilax humilis Miller, which predates S. pumila by 20 years and recently has been determined to apply also to this species, has been proposed for rejection (J. L. Reveal 2000). If that proposal is not adopted, the correct name will be S. humilis.

Medicinal Uses:
Common Uses: Eczema * Psoriasis * Rheumatoid Arthritis *
Properties:  Depurative* Antibacterial* AntiViral* Tonic* Anti-inflammatory* Appetite Depressant/Obesity* Antiscrofulous*
Parts Used: Root
Constituents: parillin (smilacin), glucoside, sarsapic acid, saponins: sarsasaponin, sarsaparilloside, many flavonioids and starch

For many years, people thought sarsaparilla had testosterone in it, but there is none present, or for that matter in any plant studied so far. The spicy, pleasant smelling root is what gave old fashioned root beer its bite and is the part used medicinally. The exact mechanism of action has not been identified, however it is thought that the phytosterols it contains stimulate hormone-like activity in the body. However most modern herbalists no longer believe that sarsaparilla cures syphilis, build muscles or cure a flagging libido. There is research to substantiate its use. for gout, arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and eczema. Certain root phytochemicals, called saponins, have soothed psoriasis, most likely by disabling bacterial components called endotoxins. Endotoxins show up in the bloodstreams of people with psoriasis, arthritis and gout.If you have any of these conditions, and feel the need for an all-around tonic to help you fight stress sarsaparilla could certainly play a beneficial role.

It was thought by Central Americans to have medicinal properties, and was a popular European treatment for syphilis when it was introduced from the New World. From 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. Modern users claim that it is effective for eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, herpes, and leprosy, along with a variety of other complaints. No peer reviewed research is available for these claims. However, there is peer reviewed research suggesting that it has anti-oxidant properties, like many other herbs.

Other Uses
Sarsaparilla is used as the basis for a soft drink sold for its taste, frequently of the same name, or called Sasparilla. It is also a primary ingredient in old fashioned root beer, in conjunction with Sassafras, more widely available prior to studies of the potential health risks of sassafras.

Sarsaparilla is not readily available in most countries, although many pubs and most major supermarket chains in Malaysia, The United Kingdom and Australia stock sarsaparilla flavored soft drinks. In Malaysia, it is called “Sarsi” amongst many other names. In America, the prevalent brand is Sioux City Sarsaparilla.[citation needed] In Taiwan, HeySong Sarsaparilla soda is also commonly available for purchase from convenience stores and street vendors.

Sarsaparilla was a popular drink in the Old West.

Research:
Sarsaparilla contains steroidal saponins, such as sarsasapogenin, which some researcher claim can duplicate the action of some human hormones. However, this purported property of sarsaparilla remains has not been substantiated by empirical evidence.

Sarsaparilla also contains beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol, which may contribute to the anti-inflammatory property of this herb. A few reports suggest that sarsaparilla has both anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting effects. Similar findings on the effect of sarsaparilla on psoriasis can also be found in European literature.

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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://www.houseofnutrition.com/sarsaparilla.html
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/S/Smilax_pumila/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smilax_regelii
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail297.php