Strongback is the Maya world’s most powerful medicine for adult asthma. It is also, true to its name, excellent at treating backache. It is a weedy, perennial herb that grows to 1 1⁄2 feet tall and has numerous lavender-colored flowers. The green fruits grow in beanlike pods.
Three other plants, Morinda royac, Desmodium canum, and Cuphea parsonsia are also called strongback. All four have similar properties.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Caribbean, Central America, Amazon, tropical Asia, West Coast of Africa
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Antispasmodic, nervine, analgesic, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, detoxifier, diuretic, mildly laxative, anti-allergen, and used to treat wounds, asthma, backache, allergies, water retention
For asthma, muscle spasms, and constipation,
mash fresh leaves (the younger the better) with a bit of salt. Administer three times per day.
For backaches, allergies, and water retention, pour 1 cup boiling water over 3 leaves. Drink warm. Repeat up to twice per day. For fungus and wounds, mash or chew the leaves and place directly on the affected area. For bad wounds, roast the roots, and crush into a powder. Apply directly to the wound.