Eryngium foetidum L.

Nota de alcance (en)

The species is indigenous to tropical America. 'Culantro' was already mentioned in 1578 by PIMENTEL in his 'Relación'.

In Venezuela, the plant is amply distributed in the savanna and the tropopophilous forests as well as in cooler areas and in disturbed places.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Nutritional use
The leaves, the roots and the entire plant are used as a condiment in soups and meat dishes or in other cooked dishes. Although the plant has an offensive smell, as a condiment it imparts a very agreeable flavour to food. Odour and flavour are similar to those of Coriandrum sativum, which emanate from the content of the secretory canals. However, the spice must not be used in excess.

Medicinal use
In popular medicine, roots, shoots and leaves are used. An infusion of the root is used as a stimulant and a febrifuge. In Trinidad and Tobago, a leaf decoction is taken for colds and in cases of pneumonia.

Method of use
The root is used as an infusion (with or without leaves and shoot) or as a decoction. The leaves are used as an infusion (also in combination with the root) or as a decoction. For oral consumption, honey or wine can be added. Roots, possibly in combination with leaves and shoots are also applied as cataplasms.

Healing properties
Taken as a medicine, the plant has diuretic, diaphoretic, carminative, stimulant and antipyretic properties. It is also taken as an emmenagogue, against cough, as a laxative and to stop haemorrhage of the uterus, to relieve rheumatism, oedema, nervous diseases, or diseases of the liver. The medicine is indicated against stomach ache, against calcifications of the bladder, against small pox and gonorrhoea. In some regions of Venezuela the plant is used as an aphrodisiac and as an abortive. According to WONG (1976) leaf teas are used for fever, flu, diabetes; leaf baths for cough and heat; urinary infusion baths for fever, flu, pneumonia. Root decoctions are applied for fever, cold, cough, pneumonia, malarial fever and constipation. An infusion of the root in rum and vermouth helps against worms and bles.

Chemical contents
The odour and flavour of the species is certainly due to the etheric oils in the secretory cavities of leaves, shoots, roots and fruits. The toxic effect may be due to toxic acetylene-compounds or to toxic alcaloids, such as coniin. The plant is toxic to live stock and even to man, when used in excess or for a prolonged time. The species also contains saponins and sesquiterpenes (essence of Eryngium).

Leaves, whole plant: aire, asthma, belly pain, colic, colds, cough, diarrhea, earache, fever, giddyness ("drunky head"), parasites, vomiting


Uses: local pain                                                 

Origin: Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Caribbean, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Gabon, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Suriname, USa, Venezuela            


Whole plant: Plant is boiled and the water drunk as an anti-malarial, by the Guyana Patamona. Plant is boiled and the water used for an herbal bath or as a medication for chicken pox or for measles, by the Guyana Patamona. Used for treatment of hemorrhage in NW Guyana.

Leaf: Infusion for chills, grippe, febrifuge, head colds, children's purgative; decoction of crushed leaves for children's leprosy and children's convulsions, and for a febrifuge bath; sometimes mixed with leaves of Ayapana triplinervis for the preceding uses (except leprosy and convulsions). Leaves are boiled and the water drunk as an anti-pyretic or as a medication for colds, by the Guyana Patamona. Leaves are used for flavoring food by the Guyana Patamona. They are used for coughs and colds, epilepsy, and for headaches in NW Guyana.

Root: Infusion for a febrifuge, sudorific, hydropsy,

Part unspecified: Used by Surinam Saramaccan Bush Negroes as an ingredient in a curative herbal bath taken for fright and convulsions. For a sudorific febrifuge in French Guiana.

Nota de alcance

PARTE UTILIZADA= Used part: Hojas y raiz. 

ACCIÓN FARMACOLÓGICA= Pharmacological action: Asma, diabetes, empacho, dolor de oídos, artritis, alta presión, dolor de estómago, adelgazante, disminuye el colesterol, gastritis, anemia, corazón. 

COMPOSICIÓN QUÍMICA= Chemical composition: La planta contiene flavonoides saponósidos, esteroles, triterpenos y un aceite escencial constituído por alfa pineno. 

ZONA GEOGRÁFICA= Geografical zone: Costa Rica y Honduras. 


Hojas y raíces: Antiinflamatorio


Origen: Crece en América tropical y en las Anillas.

Alivia el dolor de pecho, controla los gases, regula las palpitaciones y disminuye el cansancio; alivia síntomas de gripe, disminuye el vómito, alivia el dolor de estómago, baja los niveles de colesterol, baja la fiebre.

Nota bibliográfica

1) 270 (doscientos setenta) plantas medicinales iberoamericanas. Santiago de Bogotá : CYTED-SECAB, 1995, p 37.

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

3) Geraldini , Isanete, Journal of Ethnopharmacology v. 173, 2015 . -- p. 383-423

4) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017

5) Escalona Cruz, José Luis; et al/ Revista Cubana de Plantas Medicinales vol. 20, no 4. 2015. p -- 429 - 439

6) Quesada Hernàndez, Alonso/ Herbario nacional de Costa Rica. Costa Rica: Arena Trans Amèrica, 2008. - p. 61

Eryngium foetidum L.
Término aceptado: 04-Sep-2009