Goatweed

(Ageratum conyzoides) There are records of its use in traditional medicine in widely separate areas. The Chagga, in Africa, drink a decoction of the root for all abdominal upsets. In central Africa (and in the Far East (Perry & Metzger)) the leaf is used to help the healing of wounds and burns (Watt & Breyer-Brandwijk). It is used in traditional medicine in Nigeria, too, for dressing wounds and ulcers, for craw-craw, and as an eyewash, while in East Africa it is used as a styptic (Sofowora). The Mano of Liberia also take it as a wound herb - they squeeze the juice directly into the wound. It is further utilised by these people, by rubbing to a pulp with water, to put on the chest of children with pneumonia. They say the sickness is then transferred to a stick (Harley).

The leaf is used in Yoruba medicine as a worm remedy (there are other ingredients, including snails) (Buckley). A leaf of this plant, and a leaf of Peti-veria alliacea, with some other, unidentified, leaf, are required in a Yoruba preparation to prevent one from being attacked byanother person. They are all burnt together, and the ashes put into small incisions made on the hand (Verger). Another ritual usage is reported from Brazil. The plant is an ingredient of the ritual baths that form part of Brazilian healing ceremonies (P V A Williams). It is an aid to catching snakes - the leaves are crushed and rubbed on the hands. Presumably the rather unpleasant smell (it is not called Goatweed for nothing) affects the snakes in some way (Harley).

A decoction of the leaves and young stems is used in Chinese medicine for common colds, and eczema (Chinese medicinal herbs of Hong Kong vol 1). There is yet another tradition in Africa, to treat a child who cries too often for no known cause, especially at night. Stress is put on the requirement that the plant should be collected at night, especially when witchcraft is suspected. The procedure is described as follows: the plant is found during the day, and in the dead of night the collector approaches the plant and chews 9 or 7 seeds (for male or female respectively) of Melegueta Pepper (Aframomum melegueta). The chewed grains are spat on the plant while the appropriate incantations are recited. After that the plant is plucked, taken home and warmed over a fire before the juice is expressed. Palm oil is added to this, and the two mixed together are used to rub the child all over the body (Sofowora).

Chinese Herbs

Chinese Herbs

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