The jaborandi plant was known and used by the natives of Brazil and Paraguay when European colonizers discovered its medicinal properties. The name of the plant is precisely that one which the natives gave it in the Tupi-guarani language.
Jaborandi was brought to Europe in 1874, and since then, it has been the focal point of much physiological research. It is currently part of various pharmaceutical preparations.
Healing Properties and Warning
The most crucial active component of the jaborandi leaves is pilocarpine, an alkaloid with parasympathomimetic properties; that is, it reproduces the actions exerted by the parasympathetic nervous system: increases saliva and sweat production; produces miosis (closes the eye pupil), decreasing the intraocular tension; stimulates the motility of the digestive tract and the production of gastric, pancreatic, and intestinal juice; and reduces heart rate (bradycardia). Its effects are counteracted by atropine.
It is used whenever an increase in sweat production is required (influenza, fever diseases, edema, or hydropsy) and for glaucoma (an increase of the intraocular pressure). It must always be used under medical supervision.
WARNING! Jaborandi contains pilocarpine, an alkaloid that acts on the autonomic nervous system. It must be used under medical supervision, always respecting the recommended doses.
Jaborandi Plant Scientific Facts
- Scientific synonyms: Pilocarpus jaborandi Holmes.
- French: Jaborandi.
- Spanish: Jaborandi.
- Environment: Native to Brazil and spread in tropical areas of South America.
- Description: Shrub of the Rutaceae family, growing up to 1.5 m high. The surface of its leaves is full of small secreting bags, which render a scent similar to that of orange when rubbed.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves.
How to use Jaborandi
- Infusion with 4-5 g of leaves per 250 ml of water. As a sudorific, drink hot cups and then cover the patient with several blankets.
- Pharmaceutical preparations in the form of an eyedropper and hypodermic injections.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 759. Print. [jaborandi plant]