A variable species which might end up being separated into two or three species when more material has been studied[
Banisteria lupuloides L.
Gouania domingensis L.
Gouania glabra Jacq.
Lupulus lupuloides (L.) Kuntze
Common Name: Chew Stick
Chew stick is a shrub with arching branches. It can produce stems up to 12 metres long and these sometimes climb into nearby trees, shrubs etc, attaching themselves by means of tendrils[
The stems are harvested from the wild and popularly used as chew sticks for cleaning the teeth and as an addition to a range of soft drinks[
]. They are often sold in local markets and have been dried and exported in large amounts from tropical America to the United States and Europe for use in preparation of dentifrices[
Central America - Panama to Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Dry, moist, or wet thickets or forest, most often in second-growth thickets, ascending from sea level to elevations of around 1,500 metres[
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The flowers are much frequented by bees[
The aromatic, bitter stems have been used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer[
]. They are used to add flavour and body to a range of drinks including soda, ginger beer, root beer and root tonics[
]. This is a very agreeable bitter. It is used as a substitute for hops in ginger beer, and cool drinks[
A decoction of the root is used in Yucatan as a gargle for sores in the mouth and throat[
An infusion (of the stem?) has been employed in the treatment of gonorrhoea and dropsy, and as a light grateful bitter, in cases of debility, to restore the tone of the stomach[
The stems of this and other species probably contain saponin, and when they are chewed large quantities of lather are produced. The stems are often chewed to clean the teeth and harden the gums[
]. A piece of a branch, about as thick as the little finger, is softened by chewing, and then rubbed against the teeth. In this manner a tooth-brush, and, with it, a powder are obtained, equal, if not superior, to any in use in Europe[
When powdered, the stem forms an excellent dentifrice; its aromatic bitter producing a healthy state of the gums, and the mucilage it contains working up by the brush into a kind of soap-like froth[
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