San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Multipurpose Mozote

Mozote de CaballoTriumfettasemitrilobaTILIACEAGeo-Distribution:A native plant ofthe tropical Americasfound in Florida,Bermuda andthe continent, mozotede caballomost often growsin pastures andalong riverbanks and roadsides in low andmid-range elevations.Botanical Description:An annual herbaceousplant with woodystems, mozotegrows to 1-1.5 min height, with alternate,hairy, serrateleaves with threelobes. The small, yellowflowers are born onlong panicles forming spiny seedcapsules that stick to clothesand animal fur. The plant’sname in Spanish means“horse sticker.”Medicinal Uses:The cambium layer ofthe woody stems containsa mucilaginoussubstance used for thetreatment of gastritis,ulcers, diarrhea, dysentery,kidney problems,and colds and flu. Muchlike aloe juice, this remedyacts to sooth the stomachand intestinal lining, inaddition to acting as an expectorant forexpelling mucus from the lungs and adiuretic for cleansing the kidneys.Preparation: A segment of the woodystem (15-30 cm long) is prepared by scrapingthe bark from the stem, which is eithersoaked in one liter of water overnight orprepared as an infusion by steeping in boilingwater. This mucilaginous solution canbe taken as a warm tea or cold drink,known as fresco de mozote in Spanish.Dose: Three cups per day. This herb isnon-toxic and can be used safely forextended periods.Notes: Mozote can be easily grown in thehome garden. Seeds can be collected frommature plants and planted 2-5 cm deep inplastic nursery bags with average soil. Keepthe soil moist until the seeds germinate,then watertwice a week.When the seedlingsare about30 cm tall, transplantto permanentsites, preferablyat a distancefrom the main gardenand house, since thestickers from matureplants are bothersome.The stems can be harvestedfrom matureplants to make arefreshing health drink.Campesinos also usethis mucilaginoussubstance in theprocess of makingtapa dulce (brownsugar). A bucket ofmozote is added tothe boiling sugar canejuice to clean it ofimpurities. This processis much healthier than thechemical process with aluminumbisulfate, a known carcinogenic.We have an abundance of mozoteseeds this year, and will be glad to sendyou a free gift pack if you send a self-addressedstamped envelope to: NewDawn, A.P. 372-8000, San Isidro, P.Z.We also have more seeds, books andclasses on tropical medicinal plants, or

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