scientific name: Pilocarpusiaborandi other common names: Indian hemp, pernambuco, ar-ruda brava
growing areas: Northern parts of Brazil
physical description: It is a shrub about 5 feet high with large, feathery leaves.
traditional uses: Pilocarpus jaborandi is one of a number of medicinal plants from the Amazon that have found their way into the mainstream of the medical profession. Explorers to Brazil as far back as the sixteenth century discovered that indigenous tribes used the plant to treat mouth ulcers, colds, and flu. Samples of the plant were eventually taken to Peru, where researchers discovered that it was able to promote sweating and salivation in humans. After continued research, the alkaloid pilocarpine was identified in the plant; this substance has the ability to lower pressure within the eye of a person with glaucoma. As a result of that finding, pilocarpine is used in modern ophthalmology as a treatment for glaucoma.
Pilocarpus Jaborandi is recorded as being used to treat rheumatism, pleurisy, and dropsy in Mexican traditional medicine. It is also said to have a history of use as an emetic in Brazil. availability and dosage: Not generally available,
contraindications: In their professional handbook on alternative and complementary medicine, Charles Fetrow and Juan R. Avila say that pilocarpine is contraindicated for persons sensitive to it, as well as those with uncontrolled asthma. <
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.
Because of risk of toxic symptoms such as excessive sweating, fast heart rate, and salivation, the use of jabo-randi should be undertaken only wpi the advice and ' participation of a doctor.
medical research: None noted.