Spanish Needle (bidens pilosa)
What is Spanish Needle?
Spanish Needle, scientifically known as BidensPilosa, is a medical herb that forms part of the Asteraceae family. The plant is native to South America but has become common in many tropical and subtropical areas of the world. The annual plant grows to about 2 metres in height and grows aggressively, often times becoming weedy. The Spanish Needle’s leaves are oppositely arranged and the plant may flower at any time of the year. The plant grows freely in Jamaica and is also known by names such as Black Jack, Needle Grass, Broomstick, Beggars Tick and Demon Spike Grass.
How to use Spanish Needle?
Spanish Needle may be used in a number of ways in order to reap the plant’s health benefits. The leaves may be eaten raw like green vegetables or used as a potherb. Spanish Needle may also be boiled and prepared with dishes such as callaloo and cabbage to create a tasty and healthy meal that is loaded with a number of health benefits. The sap obtained from the crushed leaves of the plant can also be used on fresh cutsto aid in speeding up the blood clotting. Spanish Needle is also used in Jamaica and in many other parts of the word to make herbal tea. The herbal tea prepared from the plant is commonly used as a general beverage or as a treatment for worms and flatulence.
Health Benefits of Spanish Needle
The root, leaves and seed of the Spanish Needle have been known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antidysenteric properties. Spanish Needle also serves as a diuretic and contains antimalarial properties, making extracts from the plant a treatment for malaria in certain cultures. Due to the plant’s antiseptic properties, plant extract may also be used as a natural mouthwash to combat odor causing germs along with sore gums and mouth. The herb is also beneficial in treating joint discomfort, swellings, colic, stomach ailments along with the cold and flu.