Santa Maria Plant
(Piper peltatum L.)

Santa Maria flower

    Family: Piperaceae
    Genus: Piper
    Species: Piper peltatum
    Common Names: Santa María (Spanish), cordoncillo (Spanish), Pakina, Monkey's Hand, Cachimuela, Pariparoba, Pariparova, Jaguarandi, Capeba, Caena
    Parts Used: Leaves, flowers

The name piper denotes that it is in the pepper family. Erect shrub 2 meters high, succulent stems. Leaves alternate, long petioles up to 21 cm. long, vaginantes; large sheets up to 32 cm. latitude, orbicular-ovate, peltate, glandular-dotted, glabrous, apex acuminate, base cordate to sinuous, basal wolves generally asymmetrical palmatinervada, with 5-7 pairs of basal nerves and an extra pair above the base. Inflorescence axillary, consisting of a common peduncle 3-11 cm. holding a long apical umbels set of spikes, spikes 4-25, very dense, long and delicate, up to 12 cm. long, creamy-white or greenish. Flowers minute, sessile, aclamídeas (without perianth), perfect. Stamens and stigmas 2 or 3. Fruit bacciforme small.

Monkey’s Hand is a native to Central America that thrives in gaps of the rainforest. Their fruits play an important role as food for bats and some birds. Their finger like fruit spikes are made of hundreds of tightly packed flowers or fruits. The leaves not only provide tablecloths and food wrapping material, but are also rubbed on the body to repel ticks and may be applied directly to swollen sores. External: In the Philippines, the fresh leaves are applied to the surface of abscesses and the juice of leaves can be applied to the eyes for conjunctivitis. In French Guiana, the plant is a remedy for tapeworms. In Africa, it is used in a poultice for swellings, boils and burns. Juice used as eardrops for earaches. Juice taken to stimulate menses, milk production in mothers, and to promote urination. Decoction of leaves or roots used for jaundice, malaria, urinary problems, syphilis, gonorrhea, constipation and stomachache.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: (properties and medicinal uses)

Anti-inflammatory: Decoction of leaves of Santa Maria.

Antirheumatic: Decoction of leaves of Santa Maria.

Antivenom: Decoction of leaves of Santa Maria.

Diuretic: Decoction of the root. Drink a cup a day.

Headache: Crush the leaves in water, add lemon juice and let sit. Sitz baths with this liquid, wetting the head well initially.

Pain and Fever: Bathe the whole body with leaves macerated in water.

Toothache: Decoction of leaves. Drink the liquid and the leaves are placed on the painful area.

Vomiting: Root Decoction of Santa Maria 15 grams in a liter of water. Drink a cup before meals.
This plant has both household and medicinal uses. The leaves not only provide tablecloths and food wrapping material, but are also rubbed on the body to repel ticks and applied directly to swollen sores.The leaves are used as diuretic, antipyretic, and as an external and internal anti-inflammatory agent, for muscle pain, a leaf is placed on the affected area and a hot wet towel placed over it for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
Origin and ecology: Central America