Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bixa orellana L.

English Name : Annatto, Lipstick Plant

Family : Bixaceae

Origin : Tropical America

A profusely fruiting shrub or small tree that grows 5-10 m in height. Its glossy, ovate leaves are evergreen with reddish veins; they have a round, heart-shaped base and a pointed tip. With a thin, long stem, the leaves are between 8 and 20 cm long and 5 and 14 cm wide. The fruits are heart-shaped, brown or reddish brown at maturity, and are covered with short stiff hairs. Seeds fleshy, about 5 mm in diameter and covered with red-orange pulp, the embryo of which is poisonous.

Sparingly naturalized.

Parts Used : Seeds, leaves, bark, roots, shoots

Herb Effects
Antimicrobial, diuretic, digestive stimulant, hepatoprotective, hypocholesterolemic (leaves); antioxidant, hepatoprotective, insect repellant, diuretic, hypocholesterolemic (seeds).

Active Ingredients
Arginine, bixin, crocetin, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine (seed); ascorbic acid, beta-carotene, niacin, riboflavin (fruit); cyanidin, ellagic acid, slicyclic acid (plant)

Medicinal Use
As a topical antiseptic for ear, eye, and skin infections, for digestive problems, prostate and urinary infections, hypertension and high cholesterol levels (leaves); to tone, balance, and strengthen liver function and for hepatitis and liver inflammation/pain, high cholesterol, skin care and skin anti-aging, sinusitis, constipation, relieves stomachaches and asthma (seeds); in healing of minor wounds and burns, prevents scaring and blisters (pulp and oil); treatment of jaundice, diabetes, influenza, dysentry, venereal diseases (root).

Leaf Decoction: 1/2 cup 2-3
For topical pastes: 10 g powdered seed/40 ml oil.
Seed powder: 5-10 mg twice daily.

Contraindicated for people with diabetes.


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