This species is often confused with Aspilia africana. It may be given the same common names and have the same uses[
Amellus scandens (Schumach. & Thonn.) Kuntze
Buphthalmum scandens Schumach. & Thonn.
Melanthera brownei (DC.) Sch.Bip.
Melanthera scandens is a scrambling or climbing, much-branched, perennial herb growing up to 3 - 4 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as an occasional food and more commonly for medicinal use. It is occasionally sold in local markets[
The whole leaves are very scabrous and can cause irritation to the skin if rubbed against it[
Tropical Africa - Senegal to Ethiopia, south to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Madagascar.
Waste thickets, cultivation edges, savannahs and forest margins[
]. It can be the dominant species in shifting cultivation[
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A fast-growing weed of cultivation, it has become troublesome in S Nigeria and in W Cameroons where it is deemed a pest on oil-palm plantations[
Leaves - cooked. They are commonly put into soups[
]. The leaves are available all year round[
The whole leaves are very scabrous and can cause irritation to the skin if rubbed against it. On the other hand, when pulped, decocted or macerated, the leaves are cicatrizant[
The leaves are a drastic purgative, and the leaf-sap is used to accelerate childbirth and to treat for poisoning. Rubbed with salt and then chopped up, the leaves are mixed with gin and used as an antidote against poisoning[
]. A decoction is used as a soothing cough-mixture and to treat sore-throats and hiccups[
The leaves, or preparations of them, are haemostatic and are used on cuts and wounds, chicken pox spots etc. They are said to draw up exudations from open sores, to curb inflammation, and to promote healing[
]. The leaves are reduced to ash and then applied to wounds and burns[
]. The leaf-sap, or a decoction with citron-juice added, is used to treat eye troubles, even for trachoma, but the treatment is irritant and is given only with some hesitation[
]. A preparation of leaves is rubbed on the patient’s head as a treatment for epilepsy[
Infusions made from leaves, stems and roots are emetic[
The twigs are used for cleaning the teeth[
Bundles of the sticks are burnt to make an acrid smoke, used to drive off bees from a nest when raiding it for honey[
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