BenefitsRead full entry
Uses: FOOD, Vegetable/potherb, MEDICINE/DRUG, Folk medicine
Comments: The parboiled leaves of this perrenial vine are served as a vegetable, and the unripe fruits, boiled or fried, are eaten in salads in Peru. Sap from the leaves and fruit is taken for colic and as a vermifuge. It is the most common medicine for diabetes among the populations of the Iquitos region in Peru. An infusion of the leaves is taken before breakfast to decrease blood sugar levels, and is locally known as papailla. In Colombia, the seeds are thopught to be toxic. In Brazil, the plant is used in baths to cure eczemas and herpes. A tincture of the stems is considered febrifugal, the roots are thought to be purgative and emetic, and the leaves are used for rheumatic and menstrual pains. In the Carribbean, is is commonly used to treat colds and fevers, rheumatisms and arthritis. In the Caicas Islands a decoction of the vine is taken with salt before and after childbirth. In Aruba, a decoction with sugar is drunk to lower blood pressure. Barbados natives take a decoction to treat influenza. In the Coro Islands, the plant is thought to remedy kidney stones. The Jamaicans drink a decoction of the fruit and diced leaves for colds, fever, and stomachache, and value it as a constipation reliever in small children. It is also a general tonic and emmenogogue and is widely believed to be a "cancer cure" in Caribbean. In Cuba, it is reported to be used to improve the appetite and as a treatment for colic, hepatic problems, fever, and kidney stones. A lotion is applied to reduce skin inflammation from skin diseases. In the Yucatán, a root decoction is thought to have anthelmintic and aphrodisiac properties.