This large, green-leafed plant is also called monkey’s hand due to its finger-like fruit spikes. These fruits are important to bat and bird species in its native Central America.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Southeast Asia, South Pacific Islands, Africa, Mexico, Central America, South America, Caribbean, Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antispasmodic, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-aging, febrifuge, antiparasitic, and used to treat kidney infections, diarrhea, skin conditions, burns, rheumatism, earache, poor lactation
For skin conditions and burns, apply the juice from the leaves directly to the skin. You may also wrap the affected area with a leaf. For earaches, squeeze the juice from the leaves directly into the ear. For all other conditions, boil a handful of roots and leaves in 1 gallon water for 30 minutes. Steep at least an hour or overnight, and then strain. Drink up to
1 cup per day.