Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Chondrodendron tomentosum (RUIZ and P.)
Family: N.O. Menispermaceae

Synonyms: Pereira Brava. Cissampelos Pareira. Velvet Leaf. Ice Vine.
Parts Used: Dried root, bark, bruised leaves.
Habitat: West Indies, Spanish Main Brazil, Peru.

Description: A woody vine, climbing a considerable height over trees; very large leaves, often 1 foot long with a silky pubescence, on the inner side grey colour; flowers dioecious in racemes; in the female plant the racemes are longer than the leaves, bearing the flowers in spike fascicles; the berries, first scarlet, then black, are oval, size of large grapes in commerce. The root is cylindrical in varying lengths from 1/2 inch to 5 inches in diameter and from 2 or 3 inches to several feet long; externally blackish brown, longitudinally furrowed, transversed knotty ridges; it is hard, heavy, tough, and when freshly cut has a waxy lustre; interior woody, reddy yellow; transversed section shows several successive eccentric and distinctly radiate concentric zones of projecting secondary bundles fibro-vascular. Stem deeply furrowed; colour grey and covered with patches of lichen; odour, slight, aromatic, sweetish flavour, succeeded by an intense nauseating bitterness, yielding its bitterness and active properties to water or alcohol.

Constituents: A soft resin, yellow bitter principle, brown colouring, a nitrogenous substance, fecula, acid calcium malate, various salts and potassium nitrate.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Tonic, diuretic, aperient; acts as an antiseptic to the bladder, chiefly employed for the relief of chronic inflammation of the urinary passages, also recommended for calculus affections, leucorrhoea, rheumatism, jaundice, dropsy, and gonorrhoea. In Brazil it is used for poisonous snake bites; a vinous infusion of the root is taken internally, while the bruised leaves of the plant are applied externally.

Dosages: Infusion, 1 to 4 fluid ounces. Solid extract, 10 to 20 grains. Fluid extract, 1/4 to 2 drachms.

Other Species:
Cissampelos Glaberrima, growing in Brazil, appears to possess similar properties, Beberine chondrodine, some stearic acid, tannin and starch.

C. convolulaceum, called by the Peruvians the Wild Grape with reference to the form of the fruit and their acid and not unpleasant flavour; the bark is used as a febrifuge.

Arbuta rufescens, or White Pareira Brava, has a thick woody root which exhibits concentric layers, transversed by very distinct dark medullary rays, interradial spaces being white and rich in starch.

The COMMON FALSE PAREIRA, botanical origin unknown. The arrangement of the woody zones is eccentric and the wavy appearance of true Pareira is absent. It contains no starch, and the root is much lighter and less waxy than the genuine variety.