This semi-woody shrub grows to 9 feet tall, and has deeply veined, red-tinted leaves. Its flowers are bright orange-red and tubular. The fruit is a red berry that turns black when ripe. It is known as Polly red head, red head, scarletbush, firebush, and sanalo-todo. Its name in Mopan Maya is Ix-canan, which means "guardian of the forest". On the Caribbean island of Roatan, it is known as healin' draw.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Mexico, Caribbean, Central America,
South America, Florida
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Anti-inflammatory, astringent, emmenagogue, emollient, stomachic, analgesic, febrifuge, diuretic, antifungal, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, hepatoprotective, and is used to treat heart disease, menstrual cramps, wounds, skin conditions, and insect bites. It enhances immunity.
For skin conditions, fungus, and insect bites,
boil 2 large handfuls of flowers, leaves, and stems in 2 gallons water for 10 minutes. Wash the affected area with the warm liquid, or use as a bath. For sores and ulcers of the skin, bathe, and then apply dried and powdered plant, and then wrap. For menstrual cramps, boil an entire plant in 1 gallon water for 20 minutes. Drink three glasses per day. For bee stings or other skin irritation, crush the leaves and apply the juice.