Piper Umbellatum

Piper Umbellatum

Author: Dagmar Reinhard

Before pulling it out as an ordinary weed, I took a photo with an app called PlantNet. And in a second, I had its name; Google told me the rest. I am impressed by the surprising benefits of Piper Umbellatum. It is a plant growing in tropical áreas, and you can find it along our rural streets and in your garden. It can flower all year round if there is sufficient moisture.  

You can eat young leaves and inflorescences (erect spikes about 4 mm thick and 10 to 15 cm long.) raw in salads or steamed and eaten as a vegetable or served as a side dish with rice or eggs. You can use the leaves to wrap up other foods you want to cook. 

The fruit has a sweetish flavor when fully ripe and is eaten raw as a delicacy. You can use the basal part of the stem and the bark as a condiment.

Piper Umbellatum

And now listen to this:

The leaves are used as an antiseptic, emollient, vermifuge, to heal wounds and inflamed tumors, and in massages to relieve migraine and rheumatic pain. Mothers wash their feverish children with a decoction and use the leaf juice to remedy earache and conjunctivitis. It is diuretic, emmenagogue, and galactagogue. Before hiking in the jungle or working in your garden, you can rub them on the skin to prevent bug and tick bites.

The crushed leaves are applied in the form of an enema to treat rectal prolapse. Women regulate menses and prevent abortion by consuming the aerial parts. 

If you have a persistent cough, you can calm it with a tea made from the flower clusters.  The crushed twigs and seeds, mixed with salt, help against intestinal worms.

The roots are considered diuretic, febrifuge, and stimulant. A decoction is a powerful digestive, and macerated they are used to treat rheumatism, dyspepsia, constipation, jaundice, malaria, urinary and kidney problems, syphilis, gonorrhea, leucorrhoea, menstrual issues, stomach-ache, and rheumatism. Roots and aerial parts contain 4-nerolidylcatechol, a powerful antioxidant with chemopreventative potential. 

 Piper umbellatum can be used in baths to subdue edema and uterine complaints. The essential oil from the plant’s aerial parts has high beta-pinene, alpha-pinene, (E)-nerolidol, and beta-caryophyllene and is used in the treatment of skin cáncer.  

I am moved by the find I made in my garden. Have you discovered yours already? Anyway, please inform yourself thoroughly before using any plant you find in the wild. 

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