This post will complete the series of three that I promised in my post on West Indian Lilac. Hamelia Patens, also known as firebush, is a very attractive shrub with masses of orange-red flowers that are wonderful butterfly attractors. I see zebra longwings (heliconius charitonius) on the bushes all the time and occasionally I am lucky enough to watch a hummingbird feed on the bush, too.
Parts of the plant are used in folk medicine in Central and South America. Various indigenous peoples use the leaves in different ways for dysentery, intestinal parasites, fevers, bruises, and tumors. I found an interesting website that lists the various uses, though I’m not sure that I’d try them without further study! Like I said in the last post – the things I learn by blogging! I had no idea that the plants in my yard could be used for such purposes. I doubt very much that medical professionals would approve of such uses – makes you wonder, doesn’t it? The fact that native peoples have used these plants for perhaps thousands of years only to be dismissed by modern science makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?