Justicia pectoralis - Tilo, piri piri (South America), Chapantye (Cuba)

Justicia pectoralis is a low growing, branching sprawling shrub, can grow up to 3 ft. It has small lanceolate leaves and violet flowers, similar in appearance to those of snapdragons.

In areas of the Central American Caribbean coast it is considered to have aphrodisiac properties. The entire plant is dried in the sun and made into a powder before being used. Notably, the powder is effective only when it is taken via the nasal membranes, (as snuff), or smoked (in conjunction with Cannabis sativa). In South America one variety, Justicia pectoralis var. stenophylla, is used to produce psychedelic experiences or used as an additive in ayahuasca (Banisteriopsis caapi). The plant contains psychedelically active tryptamines. A “tilo tea” is commonly seen sold in supermarkets, it has anti-inflammatory and relaxant effects.

Justicia pectoralis leaf.jpg

Bignoniaceae, Mansoa alliacea, Wild Garlic, Ajo Sacha

Ajo Sacha is a climbing vine that has a distinctive garlic-like odor when crushed or cut. The young leaves and tendrils of Ajo Sacha taste like garlic and can be used, minced, in a variety of foods, raw or cooked. The bark of the wild garlic vine is mixed with water and used as a path for people with asthma or who smoke excessively. Bark raspings, taken orally with water or with cane rum, are used to treat asthma and arthritis, respectively. The most common form of usage seems to be an infusion of parts of the plant in water, which is used to bathe oneself and treat or protect against evil spirits, fever, influenza, and aches and pains, as well as nervousness, fatigue, and cramps.