Ocimum micranthum – Amazonian Mint (seed)
Ocimum micranthum originates in Central America. It grows to a height of approximately 50cm and the leaves are oval and slightly toothed. The flowers are white or purple. Many species of Ocimum have antiseptic qualities.
This plant was mentioned as being an admixture of the Amazonian brew, Ayahuasca in Plants of the gods, Schultes and Hofmann, 1992. Pers. com. with a Western Australian indicated that O. micranthum was good at alleviating nausea caused by the ingestion of Ayahuasca. O. micranthum often utilized in ayahuasca rituals for its smell which is said to help avoid bad visions. from Wikipedia.
The plant has been used as an emmenagogue, a febrifuge, a diuretic, and a treatment for intestinal disturbances in Brazil. In Puerto Rico, the plant has been used as a carminative to treat GI disorders and to increase lactation in women. In Central and South America as well as the West Indies, the plant has been used to treat colds, bronchitis, conjunctivitis, fever, GI disorders, dysentery, and for screw-worm parasites in nasal passages; a remedy is also used to kill the larvae. Other indications include treatment of epilepsy, nervous symptoms, earaches, influenza, colic, convulsions in children, and painful menstruation. The plant also has been used to flavor beverages and soups. The essential oils are of economic and pharmaceutical interest and have been used in the preparation of perfumes and cosmetics taken from here.
Previous studies on volatile oils from leaves of O. micranthum reported the occurrence of three chemotypes. The Indian chemotype which contain mainly eugenol, 1,8-cineole, β-caryophyllene and γ-elemene, the North-Brazilian chemotype from plants growing in Amazonian region which produces β-elemene, β-caryophyllene and isoeugenol as main components and the NE-Brazilian chemotype, growing under low humidity climate and high solar light incidence, produces oil with eugenol, β-caryophyllene and elemicin as main components. A biological assay of the O. micranthum NE-Brazilian chemotype oil showed analgesic activities and the dichloromethane and methanol extracts obtained from this plant showed anticonvulsant, antispasmodic and antifungal activities. Excerpt taken from: Composition of essential oils from three Ocimum species obtained by steam and microwave distillation and supercritical CO2 extraction Maria Goretti de Vasconcelos Silva, Francisco Josï¿½ de Abreu Matos, Paulo Roberto Oliveira Lopes, Fï¿½bio Oliveira Silva and Mï¿½rcio Tavares Holanda. ARKIVOC 2004 (vi) 66-71
Care and Cultivation
Sow Ocimum micranthum seed in spring/summer/autumn just beneath soil surface. Rich, light, well-drained soil in full sun. Pinch out tips to encourage bushiness and delay flowering (this can be used with all Ocimum species and is a useful technique to keep your culinary basil producing heaps of leaves).
25 seeds per packet.
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