Ambrosia peruviana/ Peruvian Ragweed
The Peruvian Ragweed is a native species that grows from Mexico to Panama. It is known for its emmenagogue, emollient, and disinfectant properties. Among many other uses, traditional medicine has used Peruvian Ragweed to treat colic issues, liver problems, hemorrhoids, insomnia, fevers, headaches, and muscle aches.
The Peruvian Ragweed is known by many different names, depending on the country it is found, such as Camphor (Cuba), Altamisa (Spanish), Wild Ambrosia (Spanish), Artemisa (Spanish), Asteraceae (family), Maki (Bolivia) and Ragweed (English).
The word Ambrosia derives from the Greek word ambrotos, which means “immortal,” and refers to the sustenance that granted the gods their immortality. Peruvian refers to the nation where the species was discovered. The Peruvian Ragweed is primarily found in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and some of the Lesser Antilles; also in Mexico, Bolivia and Colombia.
In the young branches, the leaves are opposite and alternate, and they are very thinly lobed with each lobe having very pronounced teeth, thus they are suggestive of a type of fern. When touched, the leaves also release a strong, distinctive odor. The leaves retain the same thin white pubescence that is present on the stems, which contrasts with the green foliage and the reddish tones of the petiole and young stems.
The blooms can be either male or female; the male flowers are those that are born in clusters and are less obvious because they have the same color as the leaves, a slight yellowish or whitish tone, and are much smaller. Since they are born in the leaf axils and are covered by so many leaves, the female flowers are not particularly noticeable.
As an useful ornamental plant and bee attractant, it can also be used as an organic pesticide, bactericide, and fungicide to control pests and diseases in gardens and crops.
The Peruvian Ragweed has an extremely bitter flavor and can be easily reproduced by cuttings.
- It is a disinfectant, emollient and emmenagogue.
- The infusion of aerial parts of the plant has been used in stomach pain, intestinal parasites, spasms, gastritis, headache, heart pain, nervous attacks, fainting, hypertension and to induce sleep.
- The decoction of dried and powdered roots is used as a tonic, antispasmodic and to treat epilepsy
- In infusion or decoction it is taken as a vermifuge, relieves menstrual pain and normalizes menstruation.
- The plant macerated in liquor is used in a poultice against rheumatism
- Used to relieve hemorrhoids, inflammation of the legs and intestinal pain.
- Used to decongest bruises and fight intestinal parasites.
- The decoction of the leaves through baths has been used against allergies.
- Its use has been registered against epilepsy, yellow fever, constipation, hemorrhages, as a menagogue and depurative.
- It is applied on tumors and abscesses
- Effective against dyspepsia.
- The leaves crushed or roasted and applied externally are used to treat earaches.
- It is stimulating, tonic and astringent.
- In association with sour orange and lemon, it has been used to combat fevers through baths with the decoction of the plant
- In the form of herbal teas, it has been used to combat yellow fever, constipation and menorrhagia. The juice of the herb is used against pleurisy.
It is cultivated in gardens as an ornamental plant .
How to prepare
Put the trimmed or shredded plants in a suitable container that cannot be broken by the action of boiling water. Boiling water is poured over them in a proportionate quantity, and immediately covered well, leaving it to rest for about ten minutes. Then it is passed through a strainer and the preparation of the infusion is finished. In cooking, the plants are boiled for several minutes.
NOTE: We highly recommend that before using any herbal medications you should consult your health care provider or medical doctor for professional advice.
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