scientific name: Desmodium canum
other common names: Strong bark, Pega Pega, Iron Vine, Amor De Campo
growing areas: Found in many tropical countries and areas ranging from southern Florida to the Caribbean, Mexico, and Paraguay, as well as Africa
physical description: It is a small shrublike plant growing about a foot tall with light purple flowers and small green fruits. Its seed pods are a little over an inch long and Slightly curved, with hairs that can cling to clothing. In some countries it is found in swampy coastal areas.
traditional uses: Traditionally it has been a popular medicinal plant in Central and South America. Indigenous tribes in Brazil have used it to treat malaria, while Nicaraguans have used it for diarrhea, venereal disease', and to aid digestion. In other parts of South America it has been used to treat nervousness, vaginal infections, and asthma, according to author Leslie Taylor.
availability and dosage: Available as an herbal powder for the making of decoctions as well as in tablet form. Dosages vary.
contraindications: None reported.
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.
medical research: While no major clinical trials have been carried out with amor seco, a number of studies have been performed that have focused on its use as an anti-asthmatic. In one study, small doses of amor seco appeared to be helpful to asthma patients. Studies with animals showed that extracts of the plant administered orally reduced anaphylactic contractions in the bronchial area of the test subjects.