Stinking Weed Plant

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The stinking weed plant has an unpleasant odor; however, it is desirable because of its medicinal virtues. In Columbia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, and other Latin American countries, its seeds are used to substitute for coffee when toasted.

image of stinking weed plant and flowers

Stinking Weed Scientific Facts

  1. Scientific name – Cassia occidentalis L.
  2. Other names – Coffee senna.
  3. French – Casse fetide.
  4. Spanish – Brusca.
  5. Environment – Central and South America: it grows by roadsides in warm climate areas. It is also cultivated in yards and gardens.
  6. Description – Annual plant of the Leguminosae family, growing up to 1 m high. It has composed of leaves, with up to 12 pairs of smaller lanceolated leaves each. Its flowers are yellow in color and beautiful, and its fruit is a large pod of up to 12 cm long, containing two rows of dark-colored seeds.
  7. Parts of the plant used medicinally – The leaves, the root, and the seeds.

Healing Properties

the seeds of the stinking weed plant

The ROOT of stinking weed is used successfully in popular medicine as an antispasmodic substance. Its most specific indication is for dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), usually caused by uterine spasms (womb). Women who suffer from painful menstruation should begin drinking stinking weed tea or infusions some days before the date menstruation is expected to occur.

The SEEDS are taken in infusion as a substitute for coffee, and in the regions of Latin America where this plant grows, it is used for prostate disorders.

The LEAVES have resolutive properties; that is to say, they make inflammation and swelling disappear. They are used as poultices for edema, bruises, furuncles, and sprains.

How to use Stinking Weed

  1. Decoction of root, ground, with 30 to 50 grams per liter of water. Boil until the liquid reduces to a third. Strain and sweeten with honey. Take two tablespoonfuls with each meal (three times daily).
  2. Infusion of seeds, toasted and ground like coffee or malt (one coffee spoonful per cup of water).
  3. Poultices of leaves.


  • 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. 630. Print.

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