USES.—A native plant of Brazil now naturalized and well known in the Philippines and many other tropical countries; it is called by its Brazilian name, Aya-pana, more or less modified. The entire plant is aromatic and its infusion has an agreeable, bitter taste. Its virtues have been much exaggerated, but it is certainly a good stimulant, diaphoretic and tonic. An infusion, 30 grams of the leaves to 1 liter of water, is given in dyspepsia, a small cup after each meal. In the island of Mauritius this infusion was widely used as a stimulant and aromatic in the cholera epidemics of 1854 and 1856.
It is used internally and locally for the bites of venomous snakes and insects. The leaf-juice is a good application for foul ulcers, as is also the decoction of the entire plant. “It appears probable that this plant has fallen into unmerited neglect.”—Pharm. of India.
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—An aromatic plant 3° high, leaves opposite, sessile, coherent at the base, lanceolate, entire, glabrous. Flowers in racemose panicles.
Common calyx cylindrical, of many imbricated, awl-shaped scales, the lower ones smaller; within are 20 or more hermaphrodite disk-flowers. Corollas are funnel-form, 5-lobed. Style a little longer than the stamens. Stigmas 2, long.
Seed 1, quadrangular, with simple, downy, sessile pappus. Receptacle nude.
HABITAT.—Common in fields and gardens. Blooms in January.
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