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Useful Tropical Plants

Desmodium axillare

(Sw.) DC.

Fabaceae

+ Synonyms

Desmodium oblongifolium DC.

Desmodium radicans Macfad.

Desmodium reptans (Poir.) DC.

Desmodium spirale stoloniferum (Poir.) DC.

Desmodium stoloniferum (Poir.) Steud.

Hedysarum axillare Sw.

Hedysarum oblongifolium DC.

Hedysarum reptans Poir.

Hedysarum stoloniferum Poir.

Meibomia albida S.F.Blake

Meibomia andina Rusby

Meibomia axillaris (Sw.) Kuntze

Meibomia prorepens S.F.Blake

Meibomia reptans (Poir.) Kuntze

Meibomia sintenisii (Urb.) Britton

Meibomia umbrosa Britton

Nephromeria axillaris (Sw.) Schindl.

Common Name:

Desmodium axillare
Close-up of the flowers
Photograph by: Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil
Creative Commons License
Desmodium axillare Desmodium axillare Desmodium axillare Desmodium axillare Desmodium axillare Desmodium axillare

General Information

Desmodium axillare is a perennial plant with slender, prostrate to procumbent stems that often root at the nodes[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
The plant has a long history of medicinal use in the Americas and it continues to be much used at present. It is especially valued as a treatment for asthma and allergies. It is generally harvested from the wild and is often traded.

Known Hazards

None known

Botanical References

315
Title
Flora of Barro Colorado Island
Publication
 
Author
Croat. Thomas B.
Website
http://biogeodb.stri.si.edu/bioinformatics/croat/home
Publisher
Stanford University Press
Year
1978
ISBN
0-8047-0950-5
Description
A very good flora of an area in Panama. Written some years ago, so some of the names have been changed. The book is out of print, but the whole flora is now available on the web.
,
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/

Range

S. America - Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, the Guyanas; C. America - Panama to southern Meico; Caribbean.

Habitat

Moist or wet thickets or forest, sometimes in pine forest, often in open weedy places, frequently a weed in banana plantations; at elevations up to 1,000 metres[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height0.50 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details



Because of the abundant small uncinate hairs on most species, the seedpods cling most tenaciously to clothing, to any part of the human body, and also to the feathers and hair of various animals, thus ensuring a wide dispersal of the plants[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
755
Title
Nodulation Plants in GRIN Taxonomy
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.ars-grin.gov/~sbmljw/cgi-bin/taxnodul.pl?language=en
Publisher
United States Department of Agriculture
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An online database listing plants that have either positive or negative reports on root and stem nodulation with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant has a rich history of medicinal use in tropical America, going back long before the arrival of the Europeans. It is still commonly used to treat a wide range of conditions, many of these uses having also been adopted in modern herbalism. In particular, it is highly valued in the treatment of asthma and allergies, and for the relief of muscle spasms and back pain[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The plant is rich in a range of bioactive compounds, including flavonoids, alkaloids, and soyasaponins[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Clinical trials have shown the plant’s effectiveness in the treatment of bronchial asthma, in part due to the compound dehydrosoyasaponin. It has been shown that 1 to 2 teaspoons of the dried leaf powder taken daily in three doses, produces improvement and remission in most asthma patients treated. The plant works by interfering with the production of many of the chemicals normally produced during an asthma attack, especially spasmogens, histamines and leukotrienes. The leaf may also have an anti-anaphylactic action, giving protection against those substances that can cause severe allergic reactions[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
Astragalin, an antibacterial found in the popular medicinal plant astragalus, is also present, probably accounting for the plant’s traditional uses in treating infections, venereal diseases, and wounds[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

The plant is analgesic, antiasthmatic, antiinflammatory, antispasmodic, antitussive, bronchodilator, digestive, galactagogue, laxative, nervine, vermifuge and vulnerary[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. A tea of the plant is given as a treatment for nervousness[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
] The entire plant is soaked in rum for 24 hours, and then 1/4 cup is taken three times daily for seven to ten days as a treatment for backaches[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. Alternatively, an entire plant is boiled in 3 cups of water for 10 minutes, and 1 cup of warm tea is taken before meals for three to five days for relief of backache, muscle pains, kidney ailments, and impotence[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
The plant is used in baths to treat vaginal infections[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

A leaf decoction is used as an aid to digestion and also in the treatment of TB, diarrhoea and venereal diseases[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. The dried leaves are used for the treatment of asthma, body aches and pains, excessive urination, excessive mucus, and diarrhoea[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. A leaf decoction is a popular remedy for bronchial asthma, constipation, dysentery, and colic[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
]. A leaf tea is used as a blood cleanser; to detoxify the body from environmental toxins and chemicals; as a urinary tract cleanser; and to treat ovarian and uterine problems such as inflammation and irritation, vaginal discharges, and haemorrhages[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].
A decoction of the leaves is used as a wash on the breasts of mothers in order to promote milk flow[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
,
348
Title
Medicinal Plants of the Guianas
Publication
 
Author
DeFilipps, R. A.; Maina, S. L.; & Crepin, J.
Website
http://botany.si.edu/bdg/medicinal/index.html
Publisher
Smithsonian Museum
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A down-loadable PDF document of a book in pre-publication awaiting illustration. An excellent, if rather terse, guide to the traditional medicinal uses of the plants of the region
]. An application of pounded leaves and lime juice is applied to wounds[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

A decoction of the dried roots is a popular tribal remedy for malaria[
318
Title
Raintree Nutrition - Tropical Plant Database
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.rain-tree.com/plants.htm
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Detailed information on the medicinal uses of more than two hundred rainforest plants, mainly from S. America, with basic descriptions of the plants, their other uses etc.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Stored seed develops a hard seedcoat and may benefit from scarification before sowing in order to speed up and improve germination. This can usually be done by pouring a small amount of nearly boiling water on the seeds (being careful not to cook them!) and then soaking them for 12 - 24 hours in warm water. By this time they should have imbibed moisture and swollen - if they have not, then carefully make a nick in the seedcoat (being careful not to damage the embryo) and soak for a further 12 hours before sowing.
The seed usually germinates within 1 - 4 months at 25°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots once they are large enough to handle and grow them on until large enough to plant out.
Cuttings of half-ripe wood with a heel.
Division. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on until they are rooting well.
Root cuttings.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2024-07-23. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Desmodium+axillare>

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