Because of its beauty, many people use scorpion tail as a decorative plant, not realizing it offers medicinal benefits, as well. It is an upright herb growing to about 3 feet tall. It has rough, green leaves and small, white flowers that grow on a curled stem. A relative, Heliotropium angiospermum, grows in Florida and Texas and possesses similar medicinal properties.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Tropical Asia, Africa, Caribbean, Central America, Mexico, South America, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Astringent, emollient, diuretic, febrifuge, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, and treats skin conditions, wounds, diarrhea, conjunctivitis, painful menstruation, infant malaise
For painful menstruation, boil a small handful of stem pieces in 3 cups water for 5 minutes. Do not exceed 3 cups per day or continue for more than a few days, as it can be toxic. For all conditions, boil 3 leaves in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain before drinking. Cooled, it can be used as an eyewash. For infant diarrhea, malaise, and vomiting, boil an entire scorpion tail in 1 gallon water for 5 minutes. Bathe the child in the warm water before bed. For skin conditions or wounds, macerate the leaves and apply as a poultice.