Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Brunfelsia hopeana (HOOK.)
Family: N.O. Solanaceae

Synonyms: Vegetable Mercury. Franciscea uniflora.
Parts Used: Root, stem.
Habitat: South America, West Indies, Brazil.

Description: Small trees, a name often given to the genus Solanacece, in honour of Brunfels, the German herbalist of the sixteenth century. The genus is known by a five-cleft calyx with rounded lobes, bilabiate in aestivation, four fertile and anthers confluent at the top, where it is divided into two stigmatic lobes, capsules fleshy or leathery, more rarely indehiscent and drupe-like, several large seeds embedded in pulp. Flowers large and some very fragrant, blue or white. In commerce the pieces of root vary from a few inches to 1 foot long, 1/2 inch in diameter, very tough and woody, centre yellow, with a very thin outer bark; the stem has a small yellow pith.

Constituents: Alkaloid Mannacine and a peculiar substance fluorescent and supposed to be identical with gelseminic acid.

Medicinal Action and Uses: From experiments made on animals, Manaca acts on the spinal cord, stimulating, then abolishing the activities of the motor centres; stimulating specially the kidneys and all the other glands. In large doses it causes lassitude, perspiration and loose greenish discharges. It is highly recommended in the treatment of syphilis and chronic rheumatism of an arthritic nature.

Dosage: Fluid extract, 10 to 30 minims three times daily.

Other Species: Franciscea uniflora is the Brazilian name for Manaca, largely used for syphilitic complaints; root and leaves of this are used. It is a bitter purgative emetic, and in large doses poisonous.