Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Callisia fragrans.......Basket plant, Chain or Inch plant

Callisia fragrans is native to South America, the country of origin being Mexico;  family name Commelinaceae.

Basket plant, one of its common names,  has been known as a houseplant for more than 100 years, however, it can also be found growing outdoors in warmer climates in moist, fertile soil in partially shaded areas.

 The fleshy stems of the herb can grow to a height of 1 metre and the leaves become violet if exposed to strong sunlight.

Blossoms are white and fragrant as its name suggests.

I originally obtained this species from Madeira and it arrived in the post as three unrooted cuttings!

It's thuggish reputation  might well be deserved if planted in a true tropical climate but here in the Cortijo Azahar Garden it is a well behaved ground coverer and an absolute delight.

This plant was first described in 1840 and was named “Spironema fragrans”.
 The name “Callisia Fragrans” comes from the Greek word “Kallos” - “beautiful” and “lis” – “lily”.

Callisia fragrans has been studied in Russia as holistic medicine for everything from upset stomachs to skin ailments to cancer.
It is one of the unique medicinal plants and helps in the treatment of many diseases: varicose veins, hepatic failure, impotence, skin disease, heart disease, cancer, colds, venereal disease and many others.

 Callisia Fragrans is a strong biogenic stimulant herb with a wide range of applications. It is important to follow recipe and dosage. When used incorrectly, allergic reaction may occur, as well as headaches, and develop sensitivity to the skin.

 For medical treatment the plant has to be mature with many long spears, which will be cut off and cooked into liquid emulsion.  Or the leaves can just be chewed.

 Medicinal properties of plants caused by the presence in it of the two active components of flavonoids: kemferol and kvartetsin. Kemferol tones, strengthens blood vessels, promotes the extrustion of sodium salts from the body, has diuretic properties. Kvartetsin stops the aging of the cornea, causes the decrease in capillary permeability, minimizes
oxidation processes, prevents strokes and heart attacks.

 Callisia Fragrans is said to be rich in minerals and vitamins but it is probably a better idea to visit the family doctor for treatment for the above mentioned ailments and to simply enjoy the plants flowering in the garden rather than to risk poisening oneself!