Exostema sanctae-luciae

Exostema sanctae-luciae

Exostema sanctae-luciae (Exostema sanctae-luciae (Kentish) Britten) is an arboreal species belonging to the Rubiaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Order Rubiales,
Rubiaceae family,
Subfamily Cinchonoideae,
Chiococceae tribe,
Genus Exostema,
E. sanctae-luciae species.
Basionimo is the term:
– Cinchona sanctae-luciae Kentish (1784);
the terms are synonymous:
– Exostema floribundum (Sw.) Schult .;
– Cinchona montana Badier;
– Cinchona luciana Vitman;
– Cinchona floribunda Sw ..

Etymology –
The term Exostema comes from the Greek exo, which means external and stema which means stamen.
The specific sanctae-luciae epithet refers to the island of Santa Lucia, a sovereign state in the Caribbean Sea.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Exostema sanctae-luciae is an endemic plant of the lesser Antilles and present in Guadeloupe, Marie Galante, Dominica, Martinique, Santa. Lucia, San Vincent.
It is a fairly rare plant from the lower montane rainforest.

Description –
Exostema sanctae-luciae is an evergreen tree that grows from 5 to 8 meters in height.
It has a short trunk and can reach a diameter of 10 cm.
The branches are thin and wide and sometimes without a defined crown.
The leaves are narrow, pointed and opposite, dark green above and lighter below. The flowers have 5 petals which are merged into a narrow tube. The anthers are long and basifix. The stamens are inserted near the base of the corolla tube and protruding. They are single flowers, which open from the axils of the leaves and are light pink to violet in color.
The fruit is a vertical capsule that splits into two parts when ripe.

Cultivation –
Exostema sanctae-luciae is a plant that grows spontaneously and is sometimes collected in its habitats for local use as a medicine, source of lighting and wood.

Customs and Traditions –
This plant was first discovered and used as a substitute for quinine by Alexander Anderson in the late 18th century. Exostema sanctae-luciae is a common and irreplaceable ingredient of many of the tonics produced by the herbalists of Saint Lucia, especially for fever, cold complications and for blood purification in case of boils and skin ulcers.
These tonics are varied but are most often used using pulverized bark in wine or rum with cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum J. Presl), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans Houtt.) And cloves (Syzygium aromaticum ((L.) Merr . & LMPerry, 1939).
Also used as an ingredient for blood purification, it is used with the addition of alata senna (Senna alata (L.) Roxb.) As a purge.
In the presence of feverish states it is used by adding leonotis (Leonotis nepetifolia (L.) R.Br.) and lime (Citrus aurantiifolia (Christm.) Swingle, 1913) with three leaves of each. The bark of this plant is put in wine and drunk to combat rheumatism.

Preparation Method –
Exostema sanctae-luciae is a cinchona used for the first time as a substitute for quinine, to combat malaria.
The plant is added to other essences for various preparations useful to combat feverish states and to purify the blood.
The bark of this plant is added to the wine and drunk, using a full glass of wine, drunk every morning, for rheumatism, worms and for being feverish with chills. This preparation leaves a feeling of bitterness in the mouth.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, 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.




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