The first hidden Gem that can be found throughout the hills of Tortola is named Bidens Pilosa (this is the plant's scientific name), it's common names include; Black Jack, Spanish Needles, and Beggar's Tick. Bidens Pilosa is a member of the Asteraceae Family of Plants (this is the same plant family that the common Daisy belongs to).
When taken as an Infusion (Tea) or Decoction (Concentrated Tea), or as a juice of the leaves. It is used to treat a range of digestive problems (including, Stomach Aches, Bloat, Constipation, Diarrhoea, and Intestinal worms.)
It is also used this way to treat coughs, angina, headache, fever, diabetes, and muscular pains
In the Philippines, it has been observed, that when included in a regular diet as a leafy green Bidens Pilosa will prevent Goitre (an enlarged thyroid gland)
The crushed leaf is used as a poultice to treat burns, sores, itchy skin, and related health issues
Properties of the plant include,
- Anti- Inflammatory
- Anti Microbial
- Anti Malarial
- HepatoProtective (Meaning it has the ability to help protect the Liver)
- Hypotensive (Lowers Blood Pressure)
Biden’s Pilosa is a natural antibiotic that will successfully treat antibiotic-resistant bacteria. It outperforms Penicillin, Methicillin, TetraCycline, and other antibiotics for gram positive, and gram negative Bacteria
Ways that Cultures around the World use, and consume Bidens Pilosa
In Uganda there are 5 known uses of the Plant;
- A poultice is made from the leaves is applied to fresh wounds in order to prevent infections, and to speed up the clotting of Blood.
- A leaf Decoction is used to treat Kidney Issues.Sap from Bidens Pilosa is used to treat Ear Infections
- A Decoction of Leaf Powder is used to treat Kidney Problems
- A Herbal Infusion (Tea) Is used to decrease flatulence, and the bloated feeling.
South Africa -
- Extracts of the Plant are used to treat and cure Malaria
- Strong Decoctions are taken in large doses and are reported to be helpful in treating Arthritis
- The Zulu Tribe use a suspension of powdered leaves as an Enema for Abdominal issues.
- A Decoction of the whole plant is used as an Antidote for Snake bites, It is also used to ease Child delivery, and to relieve pain from a Hernia.
Ivory Coast -
- The plant is used for treating Jaundice, and Dysentry.
- It is used as a Poultice to treat burns
- The powdered seed, or ash is used as a local Anesthetic, and rubbed into cuts.
- The Giriama Tribe from the coastal areas of Kenya use an extract from the leaves to treat swollen spleens in children
- The Manyika Tribe of Eastern Zimbabwe retain the first water used for cooking the foliage of Bidens Pilosa for later use as a Medicinal drink in order to heal Stomach and Mouth Ulcers, Diarrohea, Headaches, and Hangovers.
The Efe Tribe of the Democratic Republic of the Congo wash the root, then dry it in order to use it as a Paint Brush.
The flowers are a great source of pollen for honey bees