Helianthus quinquelobus Sessé & Moc.
Mirasolia diversifolia Hemsl.
Tithonia triloba Sch.Bip. ex Klatt
Urbanisol tagetiflora diversifolius (Hemsl.) Kuntze
Urbanisol tagetiflora flavus Kuntze
Urbanisol tagetiflora grandiflorus Kuntze
Urbanisol tagetifolius grandiflorus Kuntze
Common Name: Mexican Sunflower
Mexican sunflower is a robust plant that can vary significantly in habit. Sometimes an unbranched or sparsely-branched annual, it can also be a short-lived perennial, or the plant can become shrub-like with more or less woody stems. It can grow from 1 - 5 metres tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and fuel. It is sometimes grown as a companion plant, helping to improve the soil and increasing the yields of a range of crops. It is also often grown as an ornamental.
C. America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Belize, Guatemala, Mexico.
Damp thickets or dry, brushy slopes, at elevations from 200 - 2,300 metres in Guatemala[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental, Wild
A plant of the tropics and subtropics, it can also be grown as a summer annual in temperate areas. It the tropics it can be found at elevations from 200 - 2,300 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 31°c, but can tolerate 12 - 38°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,000 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 700 - 2,500mm[
Succeeds in any well-drained, moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[
]. Plants are moderately drought-resistant[
Commonly grown as an ornamental, the plant has escaped from cultivation and become a weed in many areas of the tropics and subtropics[
The plant can flower and produce seed all year round[
Various studies have been carried out into the medicinal properties of this plant:-
A methanol extract of the dried leaves reduced pain levels and inhibited oedema and granuloma, confirming the plants traditional use in the treatment of painful inflammatory conditions[
The leaves contain sesquiterpene lactones, including tagitinin ,which possess insecticidal properties. A study showed it possessed antimicrobial activity, active against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, suggesting that the leaves can be used in treating gastrointestinal infections, skin diseases and urinary tract infections[
An 80% ethanol extract of the leaves showed reduction of blood glucose levels 3 weeks after a single oral dose, also significantly lowering plasma insulin, decreasing blood glucose in an insulin tolerance test. The results suggest it may be useful in the treatment of type2 diabetes[
Aqueous and methanolic extracts of the plant had 50% and 74% clearing of malarial parasites respectively, compared to 100% for chloroquine. It was more effective when administered at the onset of the infection, suggesting a time-dependency of the anti-malarial effects[
A 70% methanol extract showed a dose- and time-dependent toxic effect on the kidney and liver toxicity. Although reversible, it raises concern over the safety of the use of the plant extract against malaria[
The leaves contain a bitter essential oil[
A decoction of the leaves is sometimes used in the treatment of malaria[
]. An infusion of leaves is used in the treatment of constipation, stomach pains, indigestion, sore throat and liver pains[
]. The leaves should be ground into small pieces, mixed with water, and then drunk[
Leaf extracts are used externally for the treatment of wounds and haematomas[
The plant is used for soil improvement and has a positive effect on crop yields. Yields of maize, kale, French beans, tomatoes and Napier grass all increased when they were planted with this species[
Planted as a living fence[
A bitter, essential oil is extracted from the leaves[
]. It has a repellent activity on the mosquito Anapholes gambiae, and a smaller, but still significant, action on other species of mosquito[
Sesquiterpene lactones, such as tagitinin, found in the leaves have been shown to possess insecticidal properties[
An ethanol extraction of the leaves has been shown to be an effective fungicide in treating pathogenic fungi on the cultivated plant Jatropha curcas[
The stems are used as fuel[
Seed - sow in situ.
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