Contrayerva

Scientific Names:  Dorstenia Contrajerva

Common names:

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Arabic names:    عشبة الترياق (U’shbat at-tiryaq)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Urticaceae

Approximate Number of Species Known:

Common Parts Used: Roots

Collection:   

Annual/Perennial: Perennial

Height: 30 cm

Actions:  stimulant, tonic and diaphoretic 

Known Constituents: Cardioactive steroids (cardenolides): syriogenin, Furocoumarins, Volatile oil

Constituents Explained:

Description:   (please note: this is the general characteristics –  colour, flavor etc)

Traditional Use:

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Contrayerva

Other names: Dorstenia Houstoni

Scientific name: Dorstenia Contrayerva

Family: Urticaceae

Common part used: roots

This plant is native of Mexico, Peru and other Latin American countries.  The name derives from a Spanish word which means “antidote”, or ”counterpoison”, and was really employed as an antidote to bites of snakes. 

The most valuable part of the plant is its root. It is oblong, up to eight centimeters, reddish externally and white inside. It’s also rough and hard, fibrous and knotty. The root of contrayerva is characterized by the slight aromatic odor, resembling a fragrance of fig leaves. If one were to taste this root, it would be warm, pungent and bitter. 

In medicine it is used as a gentle stimulant and effective tonic. To be of use, the root should be young, red in color and heavy. Its properties have to be extracted by boiling water and alcohol and make a mucilaginous consistence. 

Except being a good stimulant and tonic, it also has diaphoretic properties. It is often used in cases of typhoid, diarrhea, dysentery and low fevers. 

The extract of the contrayerva root also appears to be one of the most effective and at the same time safe and gentle pungent substances used as a remedy for the diseases mentioned above.