Cyprus Mail
Health

Plant of the Week: Plant considered a delicacy by American Indians a valuable cardiac stimulant

Name: Yucca (Yucca Filamentosa)

Otherwise known as: Palm Needle, Adam’s Needle, Hairdresser’s Delight

Habitat: An evergreen shrub member of the Agavaceae family growing up to 5m in desert soil and native to the South East United States. It is clump-forming and produces sword-like leaves that grow directly from the soft, thick stems that emerge from a massive root system. At times of frequent precipitation the plant produces spikes of highly aromatic, tulip-shaped white flowers.

What does it do: The medicine men of the southern Native American tribes have used the plant medicinally for centuries. Yucca contains saponins, sarsasapogens, similagens, sapogenin and like yams and vitex is a natural source of progesterone. The hormonal content is used to control cases of bleeding from the uterus and other menstrual disorders: the saponins make the plant a valuable cardiac stimulant and a treatment for calming inflamed blood vessels.

The plains tribes consider the stem and unopened flower a delicacy and regularly serve it at their ceremonies. The Hopi tribe make a demulcent from the roots to use as a cleansing agent for their priests and claim the same mixture will restore sight to blind dogs.

A number of American pharmaceutical companies are experimenting with the plant because there is a claim by the tribal medicine men that it can shrink tumours and prevent clumping in blood cells.

Yucca root, although poisonous, is a staple source of food – when cooked – among desert dwellers.

Care must be taken over the location of a Yucca because the roots will expand to fill the container and can prove extremely difficult to remove from a fixed planter.

Alexander McCowan is the author of The World’s most Dangerous Plants


Related posts

Thousands of cases of system abuse of Gesy have been investigated

Evie Andreou

London doctor awarded for helping Syria’s ‘burnt-out heroes’ in hell

Reuters News Service

Flu vaccination programme begins on Friday, 10,000 shots in stock, more to come

Annette Chrysostomou

Stress-free eating out

CM Guest Columnist

Unions turning Gesy into a ‘theatre of the absurd’ minister says

Annette Chrysostomou

Plant of the week: Plant used by herbalists for IBS and aromatherapists for stress

Alexander McCowan