Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Dorstenia Contrayerva (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Urticaceae

Synonyms: Dorstenia Houstoni (LINN.).
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: Native of Mexico, West Indies and Peru.

Description: Name derived from a Spanish-American word signifying counterpoison or antidote. It is probable that the root sold as Contrayerva is derived from several species of Dorstenia, others being Dorstenia Houstoni and D. Drabena, the former growing near Campeachy, the latter near Vera Cruz. The official root is the product of D. Brasiliensis and comes from Brazil. The commercial root is oblong, 1 or 2 inches long, thickness varies, hard rough solid, outside reddish brown, paler inside, odour aromatic, taste warm, bitter, pungent, rootlets notas strong as main tubes. The root properties are extracted by alcohol and boiling water, and makes a very mucilaginous decoction.

Constituents: Cajupine and contrayerbine.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Stimulant, tonic, and diaphoretic; given in cases of low fevers, typhoid, dysentery, diarrhoea, and other illnesses needing a stimulant.

Dose: 1/2 drachm of powdered root, or 1 oz. to 1 pint infused in boiling water.