Desmodium (Desmodium adscendens (Sw.) DC.) Is a herbaceous species belonging to the Fabaceae family.
From the systematic point of view it belongs to the Eukaryota Domain, Kingdom Plantae, Magnoliophyta Division, Magnoliopsida Class, Fabales Order, Fabaceae Family, Faboideae Subfamily, Tribe Desmodieae and therefore to the Gath Desmodium and the Specie D. adscendens.
The terms are synonymous:
– Desmodium caespitosum (Poir.) DC .;
– Desmodium couleum (Lindl.) G. Don;
– Desmodium glaucescens Miq .;
– Desmodium obovatum Vogel;
– Desmodium oxalidifolium G.Don;
– Desmodium oxalidifolium Miq .;
– Desmodium strangulatum Thwaites;
– Desmodium thwaitesii Baker;
– Desmodium trifoliastrum Miq .;
– Desmodium vogelii Steud .;
– Hedysarum adscendens Sw .;
– Hedysarum caespitosum Poir .;
– Meibomia adscendens (Sw.) Kuntze;
– Meibomia thwaitesii (Baker) Kuntze;
– Meibomia trifoliastra (Miq.) Kuntze.
The term Desmodium is assonant with the Greek δεσμος desmós bond, bond, rope: reference to the shape of legumes that resemble a chain.
The specific epithet adscendens comes from adscéndo elevate, rise up: which tends upward, ascending, erect.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Desmodium is a plant widespread in the tropical areas of South and Central America, the Caribbean and also tropical Africa.
Its habitat is characterized by humid places, provided that they are shaded, as this plant grows in a variety of grasslands and humid swamp forests, banks of streams and bundles of rice fields, at altitudes between 200 and 1,000 meters.
Desmodium adscendens is a perennial herb with stems that can be creeping or upright, with the plant growing up to 100cm tall.
The stems are often ramified from the base and can become alky. The stems sometimes root in their lower nodes.
The flowers are white – lilac – purplish in color and have a bilateral symmetry with the corolla which is made up of a large petal located above and directed upwards called the banner and two lateral petals which resemble the two wings of a butterfly and are called precisely wings; the two lower petals welded together at the bottom form the keel.
The fruits are very crushed legumes, usually containing 4 seeds that can be seen in transparency.
The plant can flower and bear fruit all year round.
Desmodium adscendens is a plant that in some areas of the tropics has become invasive.
Due to the presence of the tiny hooked hairs on most species, the pods cling more tenaciously to clothing, to any part of the human body, and also to the feathers and hair of various animals, thus ensuring a wide dispersion of plants.
This species has a symbiotic relationship with some soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is used by the growing plant, but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby.
Propagation can occur by seed which is sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed develops a hard coat and can germinate more easily if scarified before sowing to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of almost boiling water over the seeds (being careful not to cook them) and then soaking them for 12 – 24 hours in warm water. By now they should have absorbed the moisture and swelled; if they have not swollen yet, carefully make a scratch in the seed coat (taking care not to damage the embryo) and soak for another 12 hours before sowing.
The seed usually germinates within 1 – 4 months at 25 ° C. Sowing may occur in seedbeds and subsequent transplanting.
Customs and Traditions –
The plant has a long history of medicinal use in the Americas and, currently, continues to be very widely used. It is particularly popular as a treatment for asthma and allergies. It is generally harvested in the wild and is often commercialized.
Desmodium Adscendens is a plant that brings significant benefits to the liver. It is an important hepatoprotector, but its intake is also beneficial for the respiratory system.
The hepatoprotective action that this plant exerts is strong, as it increases the cellular resistance of the liver and promotes its regeneration, effectively intervening in cases of toxic and infectious inflammation. It also proved to be an important support for the body during chemo-based therapies and in the treatment of drug treatments that attack and weaken the liver.
Taking Desmodium is useful in all cases of liver disease, such as apatitis (especially in the first phase) and pre-cirrhosis states.
It is widely used and recommended for its extraordinary detox activity, both during slimming diets, when you are quitting smoking or treating alcohol addiction, and during periods of change of season.
It promotes the normalization of transaminases and inhibits histamine, so it can be an adjunct in the treatment of allergies.
In addition, it is a powerful bronchodilator, effectively combats bronchial or allergic asthma crises by providing rapid relief and limiting muscle spasms of the lungs. It can also be useful in cases of epileptic seizures, anaphylactic shock, and in the management of anxiety crises.
It is also highly valued in the treatment of asthma and allergies, and for relieving muscle spasms and back pain.
Clinical studies have demonstrated the efficacy of the plant in the treatment of bronchial asthma, partly due to some dehydrosaponins. It has been shown that 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaf powder, taken in three doses daily, produces improvement and remission in most treated asthma patients. The plant works by interfering with the production of many of the chemicals normally produced during an asthma attack, particularly spasmogens, histamines, and leukotrienes. The leaves can also perform an anti-anaphylactic action, protecting against those substances that can cause severe allergic reactions.
In general, the plant is analgesic, anti-asthmatic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antitussive, bronchial dilator, digestive, galactogogue, laxative, nervine, vermifuge and vulnerable.
Desmodium adscendens is a plant rich in a number of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and saponins.
Astragaline is also present, an antibacterial found in the popular medicinal plant astragalus, probably responsible for traditional plant uses in treating infections, venereal diseases, and wounds.
Among other uses, no particular edible uses are known while it is used in agroforestry: the plant is often used as a cover crop and green fertilizer in various plantations, including tea, coffee, palm oil, cloves and coconut.
Preparation Method –
With Desmodio, various preparations can be made:
– You can prepare an herbal tea by boiling 10 grams of leaves, cut herbal tea, in half a liter of water for about 15 minutes, filter and drink throughout the day.
– a tea obtained from the plant is administered as a treatment for nervousness and eczema;
– the whole plant is soaked in rum for 24 hours, then 1/4 cup three times a day for seven to ten days as a treatment for back pain and to strengthen the kidneys;
– alternatively, a whole plant is boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes, and 1 cup of hot tea is taken before meals for 3-5 days to relieve back pain, muscle pain, kidney disorders, and impotence;
– a decoction is used as a laxative and to treat convulsions and to soothe urinary disorders in case of venereal diseases;
– the plant is used in bathrooms to treat vaginal infections;
– a decoction of leaves is used as an aid to digestion and also in the treatment of tuberculosis, diarrhea, and venereal diseases;
– dried leaves are used to treat asthma, muscle aches and pains, excessive urination, excessive mucus, and diarrhea;
– a decoction of leaves is a folk remedy for bronchial asthma, constipation, dysentery, and colic;
– a tea, boiling the leaves, is used as a blood purifier; to detoxify the body of environmental toxins and chemicals; as a urinary tract cleanser; and to treat ovarian and uterine problems such as inflammation and irritation, vaginal discharge, and bleeding;
– a decoction of leaves is used as a wash on mothers’ breasts to promote milk flow
– an application of crushed leaves and lime juice is applied to the wounds;
– a decoction of dried roots is a popular tribal remedy for malaria.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (eds.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and Experiences with Medicinal Herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.