Gardening

Achiote: medicinal plant for prostatitis, gastrointestinal ailments and protect the liver

If you like to use medicinal plants and be aware of their uses and their properties, in this article I am talking about a plant that may be well known to you or, on the contrary, a total unknown, depending on the area in which you live.

In this article I will tell you what are the medicinal properties of annatto, what are its components, its medicinal action, what it is good for and the possible contraindications and precautions when taking annatto.

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What is Achiote?

The achiote, with the scientific name Bixa Orellana , and also known by other names such as axiote, onoto, roncol, orellana, bija, urucú or annatto , among others, is a plant native to tropical America.

It is an evergreen shrub that belongs to the botanical family Bixaceae , its crown is low and can reach up to 6 meters high. It grows in tropical forests.

It has very showy flowers, the leaves are large and light green, and the fruit is a spiked capsule that contains red, triangular-shaped seeds.

Its wood is used to build furniture.

What parts of achiote are used?

The fruits, seeds, roots and leaves have been traditionally used by cultures such as the Mayans for their medicinal properties.

From the seed coat that the fruit contains, a spice is made that is used as a food coloring because it provides red color (due to the carotenoid content ) to the meals and is also called achiote, bijol or anatto depending on each area. .

How is achiote used?

This excellent medicinal plant is used mainly by making an infusion of annatto leaves or seeds .

But in addition to being able to use annatto infusion for internal use, we can prepare it in the form of a poultice for external use and apply it locally in the area we want to treat. The infusion can also be applied to the skin.

As I said before, one of the most common and widespread uses when using annatto is as a natural food coloring to flavor and color different traditional cooking recipes. In addition, it is believed that this pigment may have an aphrodisiac action.

Medicinal properties of achiote

Annatto contains vitamin A (carotenoids), and group of the B vitamin C . Minerals such as calcium , iron, and phosphorus .

It also provides fiber and vegetable protein . It also has flavonoids, bixin and tannins in its composition .

The ground achiote seed is traditionally used against kidney ailments, smallpox, to lower fever, for stomach problems and measles.

The oil achiote seed is used in cosmetics for its antioxidant properties and its ability to soften skin.

Annatto leaf has traditionally been used for headaches, fluid retention, hemorrhoids, sore throats, inflammation, stomach pain, as a purgative, and to lower blood sugar.

We currently have numerous scientific evidence that supports the different traditional uses of achiote.

It has anti-inflammatory, expectorant, diuretic, febrifugal, antibacterial, antitumor, emollient, antiplatelet, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, healing, astringent, hypoglycemic, antiseptic, cardiotonic, immunomodulatory and mild sedative action.

Benefits of consuming achioteachiote benefits

  • The antioxidant action of this plant protects our cells

 

  • Improves high blood pressure

 

  • It is useful in cases of stomatitis, gastritis and heartburn

 

  • Stimulates the proper functioning of the kidneys

 

  • The infusion of annatto leaves is a natural remedy to help fight or reduce prostatitis

 

  • Achiote is used for cases of fever

 

  • The infusion of fruits and seeds is used for headache (infusion and poultice)

 

  • It is an effective remedy for diarrhea

 

  • It is beneficial for treating urinary tract infections (cystitis)

 

  • Achiote improves respiratory conditions

 

  • The leaves help fight throat infection

 

  • Supports good liver health

 

  • The infusion of the leaves is used to combat conjunctivitis

 

  • Improves the general condition of the skin

 

  • Achiote helps us prevent premature aging

 

  • The pulp applied externally helps to heal wounds and stimulates cell regeneration.

 

  • Protects the skin against sun exposure (external use)

 

  • One of the traditional uses of achiote is against gastrointestinal conditions.

Contraindications of Achiote

Although achiote as a spice does not have reported cases of damage in cases of pregnancy and lactation, for safety it is recommended not to abuse its consumption. The same in children under 6 years of age.

The infusion of leaves should be taken under the supervision of a professional.

If you are under pharmacological treatment, consult your doctor and / or pharmacist before taking annatto infusion because medicinal plants can interact with drugs or medications, nullifying their effect or enhancing it.

This is general information and under no circumstances is it a substitute for personalized professional advice. Medicinal plants should be taken under the direction of a qualified health professional who knows your medical history and your particular needs.

 

Read more interesting articles on other medicinal plants and on home remedies

Consulted bibliography

http://scielo.sld.cu/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S0034-75152010000200012

http://www.conabio.gob.mx/conocimiento/info_especies/arboles/doctos/13-bixac1m.PDF

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