Cecropia palmatisecta CUATR.

Nota de alcance (en)

Ethnobotanical and general use

The genus of Cecropia is economically important and the distinct species have more or less similar uses. The plants contain latex.

Nutritional use
Young buds are occasionally eaten as pot herb (Cecropia peltata). The fruits are edible (C. pachystachya).

Economical utilization
The plant is also used as an ornamental. The hollow trunks are used as tubes for water conduction. Trumpets and drums are likewise made of the trunks. The soft and spongy wood with a fine fiber is easily inflammable and is employed as tinder. The rough leaf surface is used like sand paper for scraping and cleaning objects. The Faculty of Forestry Sciences of the University in Merida has started experiments on the use of the wood as a pulp for paper. In Brazil wood is used for paper pulp. The latex has been recommended as a source of rubber (C. palmata). In some parts of Brazil the bark is a source of fiber for the manufacture of sails (C. peltata and C. pachystachya). The bark is also used for tanning. Poles are made of the wood. C. peltata is the host of a caterpillar which supplies a red colour for dyeing.

Medical use
Used parts: Entire plant, leaf, bud, bark, root, inflorescence, latex. Name of the drug: Cecropia peltata L. latex, folia, cortex. Inflorescences are chewed by native Indians to treat sores of the tongue and the mouth. Latex is caustic and used for the removal of warts and against herpes, ulcers, gangrene, cancer, dysentery. Latex of the branches is usually applied locally. Bark is used as an emmenagogue, an antidiarrhoeic, against sunstroke. The juice of the bark (latex?) is applied against snake bites and scorpion stings (external application). The trunk (bark?) cures diseases of the liver and diabetes. Buds are toasted, crushed and pulverized as a wound healing and cicatrizing remedy. Root sap is applied against eczemas and for cicatrization. A decoction is tonic, a cardiac stimulant, and helps against oedema, biliary conditions, chorea and St. Vitus dance. The sap of the roots is used against snake bites and scorpion stings. The sap also has diuretic properties and increases the energy of the cardiac muscle without increasing the heart beat. Infusions help against hepatitis, icterus (jaundice). Leaf. The leaf is the most used organ of the plant. Cataplasms cure swellings. A decoction of young leaves is used for liver ailments and oedema; it stimulates the cardiovascular system, increass the energy of the cardiac muscles, acts diuretically. Extracts, infusions and tinctures of the leaves cure acute affections of the respiratory ducts, pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary congestions, bronchopneumonia. A decoction is used for cough, flu, fever. Dry leaves as a tea are used against hypertension. A tea or syrup of a mixture of Cecropia leaves, leaves of Cordia curassavica and tomato leaves is taken for colds and cough. Leaves in general are recommended against cough, shortness of breath, dyspnoea, asthma, pneumonia, and as a heart tonic. Excellent results with a rapid improvement were moreover observed in the treatment of Parkinson's disease (see below). A decoction of leaves is a biliar remedy and helps against chorea and St. Vitus dance. Leaves toasted, crushed or pulverized are cicatrizing. Any part of the plant. In decoction is good for the spleen and cures oedema.

Method of use
Fresh leaves as a cataplasm. Dry leaves crushed or pulverized or in the form of a tea. Decoctions and infusions. A decoction of the leaves or roots is used against nervous cough, asthma, oedema, diseases of the spleen. To cure asthma, a single leaf is put into a bottle of water; the drink is taken during the day. The best results were obtained with Parkinson's disease; to cure Parkinson's disease and chorea, 1-2 leaves per liter of water are boiled for 2 minutes; the drink is taken cup after cup during the day. The treatment has to be followed for 3 months. Asthma is more rapidly cured, but the treatment has to be prolonged for several months (MANFRED 1982). Three cups a day of a decoction or syrup of the leaves are taken against cough, shortness of breath, dyspnoea, pneumonia and asthma. MANFRED (1977) recommends to eat 2 dry figs softened in white wine before drinking the first cup in the morning. the above mentioned diseases are very rapidly cured (LOPEZ PALACIOS (1987). 30 g bark in a liter of water as a decoction taken 5 times a day are used to combat sunstroke, and as an emmenagogue and antidiarrhoeic (ARIAS 1982). A decoction of roots and leaves sweetened with honey is effective against chorea and St. Vitus dance. Any part of the plant can be used against oedema and pain in the spleen (LOPEZ PALACIOS 1987). Against whooping cough, a 5 o/o infusion of Cecropia is recommended. Against hypertrophy of the heart, 10 drops of Cecropia in water are taken. A decoction of 30 g leaves in 300 gr water, 3 times a day helps against nervous asthma. Syrup of Cecropia is recommended against pectoral and asthmatic diseases; the syrup is prepared with 2 leaves of 'yagrumo' in 250 g water, after boiling (decoction), the liquid is sweetened according to preference. This dose is administered within 24 hours. The latex used against warts, herpes and corns, is pharmaceutically prepared as a liquid. HERNANDEZ (1992) mentions the following homoeopathic application of C. peltata: the mother tincture is prepared with one part of fresh leaves and 3 parts of alcohol40 %; the dose of 5 drops every 2 hours is prescribed against asthma, bronchitis, oedema, whooping cough, chorea, nervous afflictions, and to facilitate menstruation or to regulate the function of the heart. In 1889, the illustrious botanist of Capanema prepared a very effective syrup against asthma of bronchial or cardiac origin which he called cecropina: 100 g leaves of Cecropia in 750 g water are boiled until reduced by half; then 1/4 kg sugar is added, and the liquid is boiled again and filtered . A soupspoonfull is taken every 2 hours. An infusion of dry leaves acts as an antiinflammatory, and is recommended for cough and diabetes. Leaves are crushed with little water and a small cup is taken 3 times a day: to calm the nerves, against stomachache, arthritis, rheumatism, as an expectorant and for the kidneys (as a diuretic). A bath with a leaf decoction is made and additonally 3-4 cups of the decoction are taken a day internally to cure arthritis. Against cough, 3 cups of a tea made of the leaves are recommended daily. For the kidneys, crushed bark (cascara) is used. In veterinary medicine, salted leaves of yagrumo are given to the cows for rapid expulsion of the placenta.

Healing properties
Tonic, cardiotonic, stimulating the cardiovascular system, diuretic, antidiarrhoeic, astringent, mucolytic, choleretic, abortive, spasmolytic, wound healing, febrifuge, against hypertension. Leaf Expectorant, antispasmodic, diuretic, cardiotonic, antiasthmatic, antiinflammatory. Cures cough, stomach ache, diabetes, arthritis, rheumatism and calms the nerves.
Leaf, bud and bark. Astringent. As a heart tonic it is preferred to Digitalis, although its effect is less strong, because it has no cummulative effects. Extracts of bark and leaves show an inhibitory effect on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus; furthermore, effects on blood sugar, and a hypotensive activity are observed. Latex. The latex is caustic (against warts and herpes) and is applied to bleeding gums.

Chemical contents
Bark. Contains cecropine and tannic acid. Leaf Contains the alkaloids ambaine, ambainine, cecropine, cecropinine, arachidic acid, and other rare acids such as behenic, lignoceric, margaric, heneicosanoic, tricosanoic, pentacosanoic, nonadecanoic, cerotinic, stearic, fumaric, myristic, caffeic and gallic acid; ~-sitosterol, sigma-4-en-3- one, alpha- and beta-amirine. Leaf and bark contain alkaloids, cardiotonic glycosides, flavonoids, tannin, triterpenes, saponinic glycosides, sterols etc.

Use in religious rites
For ritual uses, ashes of leaves are mixed with powdered coca. The leaves are gathered and burned the day of use. The ashes supply the alkaline mixture necessary to release the alkaloids from the coca in the normal acidity of the mouth. According to SCHULTES & RAFFAUF (1990), this preparation is a daily custom of the Indians.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

Cecropia palmatisecta CUATR.
Término aceptado: 29-Dic-2016