Tag Archives: Latin America

Arabis hirsuta

Botanical Name : Arabis hirsuta
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Arabis
Species:A. hirsuta
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Common Names: Hairy rockcress, Mountain rockcress, Creamflower rockcress

Habitat : Arabis hirsuta is native to Most of Europe, including Britain, N. Africa and N. Asia to Japan. It grows on the chalk and limestone slopes, limestone rocks and walls, dunes and dry banks.

Description:
Arabis hirsuta is a binnial/perennial plant, growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
This erect, high hairy plant is usually unbranched, with a long spike of flowers. Lower leaves form a rosette, the stalkless upper-leaves clasp the stem. The white petals are twice as long as the sepals, flowers June–August. The fruits are cylindrical and pressed close to the stem and the slightly winged seeds are reddish brown. The hairs are stiff and forking,. The species grows on chalk slopes, dunes, hedgebanks, walls and rocks. ...CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera, insects.
Cultivation: Easily grown in ordinary well-drained soil. Succeeds in dry soils and on walls.

Propagation:
Seed – it is best to surface sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a light position in a cold frame. Seed can also be sown in spring. It usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks at 21°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division after flowering. Very easy, the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions if required. Cuttings in a shady border in summer.

Edible Uses: ...Young leaves – cooked and eaten.

Medicinal Uses: Couldnot find anywhere.

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

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabis_hirsuta
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Arabis+hirsuta

Critonia morifolia

Botanical Name : Critonia morifolia
Family: Asteraceae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Critonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asterales

Common Name : Green Stick

Habitat : Critonia morifolia is native to Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. It grows in forest areas.

Description:
The most notable trait that characterizes the genus is the presence of pellucid punctations caused by internal secretory pockets of the leaves – to be seen these must be viewed with a hand lens while holding the leaf up to light in most species of the genus. Most species of Critonia also have smooth opposite leaves, a shrubby habit, unenlarged style bases, relatively few (3-5) flowers per head, and imbricate involucres. .CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Medicinal Uses:
Of the medicinal leaves found in the forest, this is one of the most important and useful to add to herbal bath formulas. Steam baths (“bajo”) are given in cases of swelling, retention of fluids, rheumatism, arthritis, paralysis, and muscle spasms. The leaf is heated in oil and applied to boils, tumors, cysts, and pus-filled sores. Boil leaf alone or in combination with other bathing leaves for any skin condition, exhaustion, wounds, feverish babies, insomnia, flu, aches, pains and general malaise.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with  your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critonia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_FGH.htm

Juniperus brasiliensis

Botanical Name: Juniperus brasiliensis

Alternative Names:
Catuaba Casca, Caramuru, Chuchuhuasha, Golden Trumpet, Piratancara , Pau de Reposta, Tatuaba
Scientific Name: Trichilllia Catigua

Common Names: Catuaba

The name catuaba,( a Guarani word that means “what gives strength to the Indian”) is used for the infusions of the bark of a number of trees native to Brazil. The most widely used barks are derived from the trees Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium. Other catuaba preparations use the bark of trees from the following genera or families : Anemopaegma, Ilex, Micropholis, Phyllanthus, Secondatia, Tetragastris and species from the Myrtaceae.

It is often claimed that catuaba is derived from the tree Erythroxylum catuaba, but this tree has been described only once, in 1904, and it is not known today to what tree this name referred. E. catuaba is therefore not a recognised species (Kletter et al.; 2004).

Local synonyms are Chuchuhuasha, Tatuaba, Pau de Reposta, Piratancara and Caramuru. A commercial liquid preparation, Catuama, contains multiple ingredients, one of these being catuaba from Trichilia catigua.

An infusion of the bark is used in traditional Brazilian medicine as an aphrodisiac and central nervous system stimulant. These claims have not been confirmed in scientific studies. In catuaba is found a group of three alkaloids dubbed catuabine A, B and C.

A study by Manabe et al. (1992) showed that catuaba extracts from Catuaba casca (Erythroxylum catuaba Arr. Cam.) were useful in preventing potentially lethal bacterial infections and HIV infection in mice.

Catuaba extract is also used as a food flavouring in the British “traditional” cola drink manufactured by Fentimans, Fentiman’s Curiosity Cola.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES : 
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catuaba
http://www.amazondiscovery.com/products/catuaba-powder

Epazote

Botanical Name: Dysphania ambrosioides
Family: Amaranthaceae
Subfamily: Chenopodioideae
Tribe:     Dysphanieae
Genus:     Dysphania
Species: D. ambrosioides
Kingdom: Plantae
Order:     Caryophyllales

Synonyms: Chenopodium ambrosioides

Common Names: Epazote, wormseed, Jesuit’s tea, Mexican tea, Paico or Herba Sancti Mariæ, Herba Sancti Mariæ

Indian Names: Hindi: Sugandha-vastooka • Kannada: guddada voma, huli voma, kaadu voma, • Manipuri: Monshaobi-manbi • Marathi: Chandanbatva • Mizo: Buarchhimtir

Habitat:Dysphania ambrosioides is native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico.It grows  in warm temperate to subtropical areas of Europe and the United States (Missouri, New England, Eastern United States), sometimes becoming an invasive weed.It is mainly found on dry wasteland and cultivated ground.

Description:
Epazote is an annual or short-lived perennial plant (herb), growing to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) tall, irregularly branched, with oblong-lanceolate leaves up to 12 cm (4.7 in) long. The flowers are small and green, produced in a branched panicle at the apex of the stem.
CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

&  EPAZOTE

Edible Uses:
Epazote is eaten  as a leaf vegetable, an herb and an herbal tea for its pungent flavor. Raw, it has a resinous, medicinal pungency, similar to anise, fennel, or even tarragon, but stronger. Epazote’s fragrance is strong but difficult to describe. A common analogy is to turpentine or creosote. It has also been compared to citrus, savory, or mint.

Although it is traditionally used with black beans for flavor and its carminative properties (less gas), it is also sometimes used to flavor other traditional Mexican dishes as well: it can be used to season quesadillas and sopes (especially those containing huitlacoche), soups, mole de olla, tamales with cheese and chile, chilaquiles, eggs and potatoes and enchiladas.

Seed – cooked. The seed is small and fiddly, it should be soaked in water overnight and thoroughly rinsed before it is used in order to remove any saponins. An infusion of the leaves is a tea substitute.

Medicinal Uses:
Epazote is commonly believed to prevent flatulence. It has also been used in the treatment of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, malaria, chorea, the now discredited diagnosis of hysteria, catarrh, and asthma.

Some of its chemical constituents have been shown in the laboratory to affect certain cancer cell lines, and it has also been reported to be highly carcinogenic in rats. A Nigerian group, however, concluded in 2007 that it is neither mutagenic nor cytotoxic.

Oil of chenopodium is derived from this plant. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a colorless or pale yellow toxic essential oil of unpleasant odor and taste, … formerly used as an anthelmintic”.

In the early 1900s it was one of the major anthelmintics used to treat ascarids and hookworms in humans, cats, dogs, horses, and pigs. Usually, oil of chenopodium was used. It was sometimes referred to as Baltimore Oil, because of the large production facility in Baltimore, Maryland   that specialized in extracting the oil from the plant. Chenopodium was replaced with other, more effective and less toxic anthelmintics in the 1940s.

Chenopodium is still used to treat worm infections in humans in many countries. In Honduras, as well as other Latin American countries, the whole plant or the leaves are ground and added to water. This mixture is then consumed. In a few areas in Latin America, the plant also is used to treat worm infections in livestock.

Epazote essential oil contains ascaridole (up to 70%), limonene, p-cymene, and smaller amounts of numerous other monoterpenes and monoterpene derivatives (?-pinene, myrcene, terpinene, thymol, camphor and trans-isocarveol). Ascaridole (1,4-peroxido-p-menth-2-ene) is rather an uncommon constituent of spices; another plant owing much of its character to this monoterpene peroxide is boldo. Ascaridole is toxic and has a pungent, not very pleasant flavor; in pure form, it is an explosive sensitive to shock. Allegedly, ascaridole content is lower in epazote from Mexico than in epazote grown in Europe or Asia.

Other Uses:  The essential oils of epazote contain terpene compounds, some of which have natural pesticide capabilities. A study from the University of California found that the compound ascaridole in epazote inhibits the growth of nearby plants, so it would be best to relegate this plant at a distance from other inhabitants of the herb garden. Even though this plant has an established place in recipes and in folklore, it is wise to use only the leaves, and those very sparingly, in cooking.

Companion plant:  Epazote not only contains terpene compounds, it also delivers partial protection to nearby plants simply by masking their scent to some insects, making it a useful companion plant. Its small flowers may also attract some predatory wasps and flies.

Known Hazards:   The essential oil in the seed and flowering plant is highly toxic. In excess it can cause dizziness, vomiting, convulsions and even death. The plant can also cause dermatitis or other allergic reactions. The leaves and seeds of all members of this genus are more or less edible. However, many of the species in this genus contain saponins, though usually in quantities too small to do any harm. Although toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without any problem. They are also broken down to a large extent in the cooking process. Saponins are found in many foods, such as some beans. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish. The plants also contain some oxalic acid, which in large quantities can lock up some of the nutrients in the food. However, even considering this, they are very nutritious vegetables in reasonable quantities. Cooking the plant will reduce its content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

.Overdoses of the essential oil have caused human deaths (attributed to the ascaridole content),the symptoms including severe gastroenteritis with pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysphania_ambrosioides
http://www.flowersofindia.net/catalog/slides/Mexican%20Tea.html

http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Chenopodium+ambrosioides

Turnera diffusa

Botanical Name :Turnera diffusa
Family: Passifloraceae
Genus: Turnera
Species: T. diffusa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonym:Turnera diffusa aphrodisiaca

Common Name:Damiana

Habitat :Turnera diffusa is native to southwestern Texas in the United States,  Central America, Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean

Description:
Turnera diffusa is a relatively small shrub that produces small, aromatic flowers. It blossoms in early to late summer and is followed by fruits that taste similar to figs. The shrub is said to have a strong spice-like odor somewhat like chamomile, due to the essential oils present in the plant. The leaves have traditionally been made into a tea and an incense which was used by native people of Central and South America for its relaxing effects. Spanish missionaries first recorded that the Mexican Indians drank Damiana tea mixed with sugar for use as an aphrodisiac

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Cultivation:   
Requires a dry soil in a warm sunny sheltered position. One report says that this species is hardy to about -5°c, though this needs to be treated with some caution considering its native range is entirely tropical. It is possible that, whilst the plant will be cut back to the ground by cold weather, the rootstock is hardier and will re-sprout in the spring. It will certainly be worthwhile trying the plant outdoors and giving the roots a thick protective mulch in the autumn.

Propagation:  
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer and give some protection from winter cold for at least their first winter outdoors. Division in spring or autumn. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Overwinter the young plants in a greenhouse and plant them out in early summer.

Constituents:  leaves: greenish volatile oil consisting of cineole, p-cymene, alpha- and beta-pinene, thymol, alpha-copaene, and calamene. the dry matter of the leaf includes damianin as well as tannins, flavonoids, beta-sitosterol, and the glycosides gonzalitosin, arbu

Medicinal Uses: * Aphrodisiac * Libido * Prostate
Properties: * Aphrodisiac * Astringent * Bitter * Nervine * Stimulant * Tonic
Parts Used: Leaf

Turnera diffusa has long been claimed to have a stimulating effect on libido, and its use as an aphrodisiac has continued into modern times. More recently, some corroborating scientific evidence in support of its long history of use has emerged. Several animal testing studies have shown evidence of increased sexual activity in rats of both sexes. Damiana has been shown to be particularly stimulating for sexually exhausted or impotent male rats as well as generally increased sexual activity in rats of both sexes. It has also been shown that damiana may function as an aromatase inhibitor, which has been suggested as a possible method of action for its reputed effects.

Turnera diffusa might be effective as an anxiolytic.

Turnera diffusa is an ingredient in a traditional Mexican liqueur, which is sometimes used in lieu of Triple Sec in margaritas. Mexican folklore claims that it was used in the “original” margarita. The damiana margarita is popular in the Los Cabos region of Mexico.

Turnera diffusa was included in several 19th century patent medicines, such as Pemberton’s French Wine Coca. The leaves were omitted from that product’s non-alcoholic counterpart, Coca-Cola.

Turnera diffusa is used primarily as an aphrodisiac for both sexes 1, and as a stimulant that can boost mental focus and stamina.

The health benefits of damiana are for the most part only verified by folklore and long observation, not by scientific study, however chemical analysis shows that damiana contains alkaloids similar to caffeine that have stimulating and aphrodisiac effects, stimulating blood flow to the genital area and increasing sensitivity. Some people report feelings of mild euphoria. Damiana is often combined with saw palmetto in formulas that address male prostate health.

Known Hazards :  Tetanus-like rigidity and genitourinary irritation in one patient. Possible hallucinations. May affect the control of blood sugar in diabetic patients

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

Resources:
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail201.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turnera_diffusa
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Turnera+diffusa+aphrodisiaca

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