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Rainforest Plants – Amor Seco

Tony Mandarich

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Desmodium

Species: adscendens

Common Names: amor seco, amor-do-campo, strong back, pega pega, margarita, beggar-lice, burbur, manayupa, hard man, hard stick, mundubirana, barba de boi, mundurana, owono-bocon, dipinda dimukuyi, dusa karnira, tick-clover

General Description: Amor seco is indigenous to the tropics and grows just about anywhere, much like most weeds. It is a perennial herb that reaches 50 cm tall and bears a lot of light-purple flowers and green fruits in small pods. If the soil is disturbed, one can almost count on this plant making an appearance.

In Brazil, the plant is also known as amor-do-campo; Peruvians call it manayupa. The large Desmodium genus has more than 400 species of perennial and annual herbs. They all grow in temperate and tropical regions in the Western hemisphere, Australia, and South Africa. In the tropical rainforest, Desmodium axillare, a closely related plant, is used interchangeably in herbal medicine systems, much like any number of rainforest plants.

Uses: Today, medicinal use of amor seco hasn’t changed much for tribesmen and women in the tropics. Its use ranges from a tea given for nervousness to a bath to treat vaginal infections. Some tribes believe the plant has magic powers, and it is taken by lovers to rekindle a waning romance. Some Amazonian natives brew a tea from the leaves and bathe women’s breasts after birth to aid in the flow of milk. Additional tribal uses include pounding the leaves and adding lime juice to treat wounds; the tea has also been used for convulsions and venereal sores. It has been used to treat malaria and diarrhea, as well as venereal disease and as a digestive aid.

In Belize the plant is called “strong back”; it is used there to treat backaches, soaking it in rum for 24 hours, and then taking it daily for one to two weeks for relieve back pain. Depending upon the Central or South American country and tribe, uses for this amazing plant cover the gamut of physical ailments and problems experienced by humans.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

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