Mentzelia scabra

Mentzelia scabra

Anguratè (Mentzelia scabra Kunth) is a perennial bushy species belonging to the Loasaceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Rosidae,
Cornales Order,
Loasaceae family,
Genus Mentzelia,
M. scabra species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Loasa ignea Phil .;
– Mentzelia chilensis Gay;
– Mentzelia cordifolia Dombey ex Urb. & Gilg;
– Mentzelia ignea (Phil.) Urb. & Gilg;
– Mentzelia soratensis Urb. & Gilg.
Within this species there are some subspecies; the following are listed below:
– Mentzelia scabra subsp. atacamensis (Urb. & Gilg) Weigend;
– Mentzelia scabra subsp. Bolivian Weigend;
– Mentzelia scabra subsp. chilensis (Gay) Weigend;
– Mentzelia scabra subsp. cordobensis (Urb. & Gilg ex Kurtz) Weigend;
– Mentzelia scabra subsp. grandiflora (Ruiz & Pav. ex G.Don) Weigend.

Etymology –
The term Mentzelia of the genus was dedicated by Plumbier to Christian Mentzel (or Christianus Mentzelius, 1622-1701), German physician, botanist and sinologist.
The specific scabra epithet comes from scábo scratch, scrape: rough, rough, sour.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Mentzelia scabra is a plant from the Andes area that grows in South America.
Its natural habitat is that of the slopes and hilly areas of the desert and semi-desert Andes, thickets and dry forests in areas often characterized by xerophytic vegetation, on dunes covered by sparse and stunted savannahs with scattered trees and shrubs.

Description –
Mentzelia scabra is a species with bushy habit – perennial shrub, with hairy and branchy stem, 2 m tall, erect, more rarely declined or ascending or climbing; basally 5-20 mm thick stems.
It has alternate, sessile, ovate, toothed or crenellated leaves, densely hairy on both sides, 20-150 by 35-70 mm.
The flowers are sessile, with 5 orange petals and all the same stamens.

Cultivation –
Mentzelia scabra is a plant that, together with its subspecies, grows spontaneously in semi-desert areas or dry woods and forests in areas often characterized by xerophytic vegetation.
The plant has been collected since ancient times by local populations and used in South American folk medicine.

Customs and Traditions –
Mentzelia scabra is a plant used in South American and Peruvian folk medicine in particular.
The decoction of the aerial parts of this plant is used as a healing agent in case of gastric ulcers, as an anthelmintic, choleretic and cholagogue.
The plant contains simple glycosides iridoids, secoiridoids and flavonoids (quercetin and canferol).

Preparation Method –
With Mentzelia scabra a decoction is prepared, obtained with the aerial parts, as a healing agent in case of gastric ulcers, as an anthelmintic, choleretic and cholagogue; it is also used to counteract bloating, stomach acid and promote digestion. However, the roots of this plant are also used.

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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