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aroids as medicines including againt snake bite!

  • Subject: aroids as medicines including againt snake bite!
  • From: ExoticRainforest <Steve@ExoticRainforest.com>
  • Date: Mon, 29 Mar 2010 09:05:50 -0500

Thanks Julius, and also thanks to Alison, Dan, John and others for your responses.  I have read many articles that appear to claim an aroid can heal, but so far none that explain why. 

As Dan mentioned, Studies have indicated Amorphophallus konjac is known to be useful in weight control as well as having medicinal properties for the control of constipation , high blood pressure, hypoglycemia and other conditions.  (Doi et al., 1979; Misra & Sriram, 2002).  This may be as a result of the unique sugars in the glucomannans in the plant but I am not trained in this study, just curious about it.

I'm currently trying to locate Dr. Croat's papers as well as the book by Hans. with the help of Beth Campbell who lives in Ecuador, I learned about a great book entitled Useful Plants of Ecuador (Plantas Utiles del Ecuador), edited by Montserrat Rios, Michael J Koziol, Henrik Bogroft Pedersen, and Gabriela Granda published by the Missouri Botanical Garden Press and since I'll be there in just a few weeks I'm going to try to buy a copy, provided it is still in print.  There are also close to a dozen articles in Aroideana with at least anecdotal mentions of the topic.  

For any of you that don't know, you can research Aroideana on the IAS website www.Aroid.org  I am fortunate to own a complete set, but for anyone that does not you can download individual articles from the issues one through 32 directly from the site.  if you are an IAS member, short articles can be downloaded free of charge but there is a small charge for the longer pieces.

My specific interest is not in the fact aroids do appear to be able to heal, but why and how.  I'm sure some of you have read all the claims on many pet websites trying to convince the world Philodendron and Anthurium should not be grown in homes because they will "kill your pets".  Even though it is true an aroid contains oxalate crystals, the claims they are "deadly poisons" is not factual and I am curious if the oxalates actually have healing powers.

Thanks to everyone for your response, and if you know of sources with more in-depth information please let me know.


PS: for anyone reading this that is still convinced calcium oxalate is a "poison" you probably should know all these vegetables (and more) contain calcium oxalate crystals:    Parsley, Chives, Cassava, Spinach, Beet leaves, Carrot, Radish, Collards, Bean, Brussels sprouts, Garlic, Lettuce, Watercress, Sweet potato, Turnip, Broccoli, Celery, Eggplant, Cauliflower, Asparagus, Cabbage, Tomato, Pea, Turnip greens, Potato, Onion, Okra, Pepper, Squash, Cucumbers, and Corn!

On 3/28/2010 07:53, ju-bo@msn.com wrote:
Dear Steve and Friends,

I can think of three GOOD references.
Our ''mentor'' Dr. Croat published a paper on the use of Aroids as medicine. 

The second is within the review of the genus Dracontium by Tom Croat and the late Guang Hua Zhu.   In this publication the genus has so many references to different species of Dracontium being used as ''cures'' for different species of snake, mainly the genus Bothrops, that many of the Dracontium sps. carry the same native names as the native names for the Bothrops sp. associated with the cure!

The third is "The Snakes of Trinidad and Tobago" (Amazon.com) by Hans Boos.  On Trinidad there is widespread belief that Dracontium asperum (and to a lesser  extent the leaves/stems/tubers of Caladium bicolor) are a ''cure'' for the terrible bites of the two large vipers found on that Island, Bothrops atrox (fer de Lance) and Lachesis muta (bushmaster).  It seems that this follows the old belief that a cure would be found in a ''natural'' plant which resembles the snake, and the petioles of Dracontium (and some cultivars of wild-growing C. bicolor) are certainly very snake/Bothrops-like in their patterns and colors. 

I don`t believe any scientific testing has been done to determine if an application of a poltice of crushed Dracontium or Caladium tuber and petioles was effective in any way to alleviate the terrible symptoms of a true Bothrops bite.


Julius Boos.

fn:Steve  Lucas

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