Herbs & Plants

Cordia salicifolia

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Botanical Name : Cordia salicifolia
Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Cordioideae
Genus: Cordia
Kingdom: Plantae
Species: salicifolia

Synonyms: Cordia ecalyculata Vell.

Common Name : Chá de bugre

Ethnic names: Chá de bugre, porangaba, cafezinho, café do mato, claraiba, café de bugre, cha de frade, louro-salgueiro, louro-mole, boid d’inde, bois d’ine, coquelicot, grao-do-porco, bugrinho, chá-de-negro-mina, laranjeira-do-mato, rabugem.

Habitat : Cordia salicifolia is indigenous to Brazil and can be found growing predominately in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, Acre and Goias It is also found in tropical forest areas of Argentina and Paraguay. In Brazil, the tree is botanically classified as Cordia salicifolia and in Paraguay the same tree is classified as Cordia ecalyculata.

Chá de bugre is a small tree growing 8-12 meters in height with a trunk 30-40 cm in diameter. In Brazil, it is commonly called café do mato (coffee of the woods) because it produces a red fruit resembling a coffee bean which is roasted and brewed into tea as a coffee substitute. ...….CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Chemical Constituents:
Despite the popularity of chá de bugre in Brazil very little has been done to analyze the phytochemicals in the plant. At present it is known to contain caffeine, potassium, allantoin and allantoic acid. The red fruits or berries of chá de bugre (resembling a coffee bean) contain caffeine. The allantoin and allantoic acid may explain the traditional use of the plant for wound healing. Main plant chemicals include allantoin, allantoic acid, caffeine, potassium.
Medicinal Uses:
Parts used in medicine: Leaves, Fruit, Bark

It is a great appetite suppressant – but rather than cutting off appetite all together (then causing intense hunger when it wears off at the wrong time) it gives one a sense of being full and satiated after eating only a few bites of food. This seems to promote much smaller meals, more often, which is what many practitioners believe is better for sustained weight loss and keeping the metabolism going throughout the day. It works best if taken 30 minutes to one hour prior to a meal. It is a mild diuretic and is useful in relieving water retention. It also helps to avoid the formation of fatty deposits. It is also considered a good general heart tonic which can help stimulate circulation and is used in Brazil and Haiti as a tea to help relieve coughs, regulate renal function, reduce uric acid and externally to heal wounds.

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.


Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name:Myrciaria cauliflora
Family:    Myrtaceae
Genus:    Plinia
Species:P. cauliflora
Order:   Myrtales

Synonyms:Plinia cauliflora

Common Name:Jaboticaba

Other Common Names:Brazilian Grape Tree, Jaboticaba, Jabotica, Jabuticabeira, Guaperu, Guapuru, Hivapuru, Sabará and Ybapuru (Guarani).

Habitat: Jaboticaba is native to Minas Gerais and São Paulo states in southeastern Brazil. Related species in the genus Myrciaria, often referred to by the same common name, are native to Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Bolivia.

Jaboticaba is a slow growing large shrub or small, bushy tree. It reaches a height of 10 – 15 feet in California and 12 – 45 feet in Brazil, depending on the species. The trees are profusely branched, beginning close to the ground and slanting upward and outward so that the dense, rounded crown may attain an ultimate spread as wide as it is tall. The thin, beige to reddish bark flakes off much like that of the guava.

The evergreen, opposite leaves are lanceolate to elliptic, 1 – 4 inches in length and 1/2 – 3/4 inch wide. In color they are a glossy dark green with a leathery texture. The size, shape and texture varies somewhat from one species to another.

Small yellow-white flowers dramatically emerge from the multiple trunks, limbs and large branches in groups of four. It has been reported from Brazil that solitary jaboticaba trees bear poorly compared with those planted in groups, which indicates that cross-pollination enhances productivity.

The fruit is grape-like in appearance and texture but with a thicker, tougher skin. Most California fruit is dark purple to almost black in color. Averages size is one inch in diameter but can run from 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches, depending on species and variety. The gelatinous whitish pulp contains from one to four small seeds and has a pleasant, subacid flavor markedly similar to certain muscadine grapes. The skin has a slight resinous flavor that is not objectionable. Fruit may be produced singly or in clusters from the ground up all over the trunk and main branches, and the plant may fruit up to five times per year. Fresh fruit is delicious eaten out-of-hand and can be made into jellies, jams and wine. The skin is high in tannin and should not be consumed in large quantities over a long period of time.

Propagation: Most seeds are polyembryonic, producing a plant that is true or close to the parent plant. The seeds germinate in about one month. A suggested potting mixture is 2 parts peat, 2 parts coarse sand and 1 part coarse perlite, wood shavings or compost. Selected strains can be reproduced by inarching (approach grafting) or air-layering. Budding is not easily accomplished because of the thinness of the bark and the hardness of the of the wood. Veneer or side grafts are fairly successful. The grafted plant will fruit considerably earlier than a seedling. One may expect a grafted plant to produce fruit within three years, It can take from 8 to 15 years for a seedling to mature into a fruiting tree. It is this very slow growth that has kept this plant from becoming as popular as it deserves to be. Grafting older trees over to a different variety is inadvisable because it is the trunk and inner branches which produce the fruit. One would have to cut the tree back to a one-inch stump in order to change its fruiting nature.

Edible Uses:
The Jaboticaba fruit is purple-black in color with plum-sized fruits cluster which is directly around the stem and main branches of the tree. These fruits are grape-like in appearance and also the flavor tastes as that of grapes, being sweet with an attractive sub acid tang. The fruits skin is tougher than grapes and this aids storage and handling.

The jabuticaba is a fresh juicy fruit that can be eaten fresh off the tree. It is also used in jellies, or left to ferment and become wine and hard liquor.

Taste-The fruit Jaboticaba’s appearance invited Trubus to taste those ripe fruits. Rosy Nur Apriyanti, Trubus reporter, picked up from the fruits. ‘It tastes sweet,’ as the grape like fruit flesh with soft texture was enjoyed by the tongue. “On the first day of the fruit picked, its flavour is like guava, and the second day it is like mangosteen, and the third day is lychee taste, the forth is passion fruit taste, the fifth is sweetsop fruit; the sixth up to the eighth is grape fruit nature of taste.” The best flavor impression is on the ninth day when fruit becomes perfectly ripe and it tastes sweet and smells good.

Medicinal Uses:
Jaboticaba is used for the treatment of hemoptysis, asthma, diarrhea and dysentery also as a gargle for chronic inflammation of the tonsils are by the caustic decoction of the sun-dry skins is agreed in Brazil. Such use of fruit also may lead to excessive consumption of tannin.

The fruit of Jaboticaba contain compounds similar to known to have positive biological effects in cranberries, grapes and other related species, including anti-ageing, anti-inflammatory and the antioxidant qualities.

It is discovered that several anticancer compounds in this fruit , so scientists hope to be useful in the fight against this disease.

Other Uses: The jaboticaba makes an attractive landscape plant.
Cultural aspects:
The name jabuticaba, derived from the Tupi word Jabuti (tortoise) + Caba (place), meaning the place where you find tortoises. The Guarani name is “Yvapuru”, where yva means fruit, and the onomatopoeic word pur? for the crunching sound the fruit produces when bitten.

A traditional song from the eastern region of Bolivia refers to a young woman as having “eyes like the guapuru” (because of their soft blackness) and a mouth “as sweet as the achachairu.”

The jabuticaba tree, which appears as a charge on the coat of arms of Contagem, Minas Gerais, Brazil, has become a widely used species in the art of bonsai, particularly in Taiwan and parts of the Caribbean.

In Brazil, it is common to refer to something allegedly unique to the country as a “jabuticaba” since the tree supposedly only grows in Brazil. It is usually a pejorative expression.

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.


Herbs & Plants

Brunfelsia uniflora

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Botanical Name : Brunfelsia uniflora
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Brunfelsia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales

Common Name: Manaca

Habitat : Brunfelsia uniflora  is native to
Caribbean: Trinidad and Tobago – Trinidad
Northern South America: Guyana; Venezuela – Bolivar, Carabobo, Guarico, Nueva Esparta
Brazil: Brazil – Bahia, Ceara, Espirito Santo, Goias, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Rio Grande do Norte, Rio de Janeiro, Roraima, Sao Paulo
Western South America: Bolivia – Cochabamba, Santa Cruz
Southern South America: Argentina – Jujuy, Salta

Typical habitat is light woodland and thickets.

Brunfelsia uniflora is a neotropical shrubs and small trees.The leaves are alternate and simple, with shapes generally elliptic to ovate. The flowers are large and tubular, with five broad petals.  Species in cultivation include Brunfelsia americana (“lady of the night”) and Brunfelsia pauciflora. Linnaeus named the genus for early German herbalist Otto Brunfels (1488–1534). The cultivated plant is commonly called “yesterday, today, and tomorrow” due to its color changes

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Medicinal Uses:
Brunfelsia uniflora is  used by native healers both medicinally and as hallucinogens.  Internally used as an alterative, and of the greatest value for the treatment of arthritis.  It eases pain and restores mobility quickly. In Peru, indigenous peoples apply a decoction of leaves externally for arthritis and rheumatism; they also employ a root decoction for chills. The root of manacá is said to stimulate the lymphatic system. It has long been used for syphilis, earning the name vegetable mercury. Though the aerial parts of the plant have active compounds, the root has been used primarily.

Two of the constituents,  manaceine and manacine are thought to be responsible for stimulating the lymphatic system, while aesculetin has demonstrated analgesic, antihepatotoxic, antimutagenic, and anti-inflammatory activities in laboratory tests.

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


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Herbs & Plants


Botanical Name
: Caryocar brasiliensis
Family: Caryocaraceae
Genus: Caryocar
Species: C. brasiliense
Kingdom: Plantae

Common Names: Pequi or “souari nut

Habitat :It is common in central Brazilian cerrado habitat from southern Pará to Paraná and northern Paraguay.

The pequi tree grows up to 10 m (30 ft) tall.  Its leaves are large, tough, hairy and palmate, with three leaflets each. Unlike most other cerrado trees, it bears flowers in the dry winter months, approximately July to September. The yellowish-white flowers are hermaphroditic and bear many stamens; they somewhat resemble a huge pale St John’s Wort flower (a distant relative among the Malpighiales). There are often two dozen or more flowers per inflorescence.

You may click to see  pictures:
Pollination is mainly by bats, and as usual in such cases the flowers do not have a pleasant smell but produce copious thin nectar. Flowers open in the evening and produce nectar throughout the night, ceasing in the early morning. As it seems, each night’s last nectar, produced around dawn, is richer in sugars than that produced in the night, though it is much less in quantity already. Moths, nocturnal wasps and ants also visit the flowers at night; the former two might also do some pollinating but they are not known to be of major importance. During the day, the flowers are visited by bees and wasps which feed on remaining pollen. From dusk to the cessation of nectar production, hummingbirds may visit the flowers. While most of them only do this opportunistically, some species – e.g. the Fork-tailed Woodnymph (Thalurania furcata) and in particular the Glittering-throated Emerald (Amazilia fimbriata) – appear to visit pequi tree flowers on a regular base. More significantly, visits by small “tanagers” of the Thraupidae and Cardinalidae around dusk are noted. In particular species like the Guira Tanager (Hemithraupis guira), White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus) and the Palm (Thraupis palmarum) and Sayaca Tanagers (T. sayaca) seem to be quite fond of pequi flower nectar and spend considerable time feeding on it when available. But even Curl-crested Jays (Cyanocorax cristatellus) have been observed to hang about flowering pequi trees at daybreak, though perhaps not just for the nectar, considering many insects attracted by it earlier would still be around on the tree. As the stigmata dry out at daybreak, it is not clear whether birds, particularly “tanagers”, play a role in pollination also or are merely making use of an easy early-morning snack, particularly considering that during the flowering season of C. brasiliense, little such food is available.

Fruits start off dark purple, turning olive green and finally buffy green as they ripen, taking about 5–6 months[verification needed]. Ripe fruits are about the size of an orange. They resemble a mangosteen (another distantly related member of the Malpighiales) in having a few (usually 1-4) segments of pulpy pericarp inside the skin, yellow and with a typical strong taste and smell mixing sweet, fruity and cheesy aromas; this is derived mainly from volatile ethyl esters. Embedded in the mesocarp is a light-colored seed enclosed in a blackish shell covered with thin and tough woody spines, though spineless individuals exist in the wild. Both the mesocarp and the seed are edible for humans as well as many animals, including usually carnivorous species like the Yellow-headed Caracara (Milvago chimachima).


Edible Uses:
Pequi pulp is a very popular food in Goiás and Minas Gerais, eaten by itself raw or prepared or used as an ingredient in cooking or to flavor beverages. Pequi with rice and chicken is especially popular among locals; tourists often find the unique rich flavor of pequi too strong and the dish too filling for their taste. Pequi pulp will tarnish silver cutlery and if eaten raw the fruit is best enjoyed out of hand. Care must be taken to gently scrape the pulp off the pit using one’s teeth: The spines easily detach and when stuck in the gums can be highly painful and difficult to remove.
The pits with spines and remaining pulp can be left to dry in the sun for two days or so. Afterwards, the spines can be scraped off with a knife or stick, and the pit can be cracked open to extract the seed. From the latter, the edible pequi oil is extracted commercially. They can also be roasted like peanuts and eaten with salt as a rich snack; in fact, if anything they are more popular than Brazil nuts locally.

Nearly every part of the tree is usable for food, medical or construction purposes. Pequi occupies an important role in the culture of indigenous people in Brazil‘s Cerrado region. Traditionally, rural Brazilians plant pequi trees around villages; the seed take a long time to germinate so that new trees must be planted ever so often for the supply not to cease. Demand for the fruit has risen in recent decades while habitat has been destroyed, putting the stocks under strain. One report writes:

“The pequi is the main symbol of this de-structuring of the economy. The pequi is habitually consumed by the population in the Cerrado zone and is deeply rooted in the regional culture and cooking. For the Mineiros, the Cerrado inhabitants of Minas Gerais, the pequi does not belong to anyone, because it belongs to all. Therefore, they maintain their ancestral right to take it wherever it is, in public or private land, fenced in land or unfenced land, etc., wherever it is, the pequi was always “accessible” to the regional society. Since the sixties, due to logging and installation on a wide scale of eucalyptus plantations, the pequi and all that it represents are under a serious threat. So much so, that at the market in Curvelo we did not find any pequis for sale. Some trades people commented on the difficulty they have in obtaining this fruit, which was previously so accessible.”

Also, given the importance of bats and perhaps birds for pollination, removal of native woodland is liable to have long-term negative impacts on fruit yield even if no C. brasiliense trees are physically harmed. Conserving pollinator habitat is probably crucial for rich yields of the valuable fruits and other produce.

Medicinal Uses:
Pequi is  frequently used in folk medicine to treat many types of ailment, such as influenza, asthma and other respiratory diseases. The pulp of the fruit of this tree is often used in the  regional cooking in typical dishes such as “rice with pequi” and contains many compounds with antioxidant properties.


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.


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