Clavillia is a perennial herb that grows to about a height of 50 to 100 cm from the roots. Some hybrid species can also grow up to a meter tall. The beautiful flowers usually produced open at around 4 o’clock, stemming the common name ‘four o’clock.’ It is a worldwide ornamental plant grown for the beauty of the flowers, which can be multi-colored, red, purple, pink or even white. The sweet fragrance is also another major reason for its growth. In 1973, the plant was officially botanically recorded despite the fact that it had originally been distributed as an ornamental plant. Disagreements, however, exist when it comes to matters of origin since some believe it originated from India, other Chile, and others Mexico. Today, the plant is naturalized throughout the tropics of India, France, Latin America and South America.
Herbal medicinal uses
Besides the beauty and fragrance, the indigenous people of Amazon also plant the Clavillia for medicinal purposes just as the city dwellers. The indigenous Peruvian people use the root decoration as a diuretic; the shipibo-conibo Indians to tray flu and cold put its flowers in baths. The powdered dried flowers are inhaled by the Kayapo Indians in Brazil; they believe it helps curb headaches. The roots are made into a concoction to wash wounds and treat skin conditions such as leprosy. The Assurani Indians, based in Brazil, crush the seeds using the powder as a condiment for food, besides that, they also grate the roots, mix with cold water and take it to curb intestinal parasites. Another Indian group, by the name Orissa, grinds the roots of the plant, turning it into a paste, and orally consumes it to help with conjunctivitis. The juice of the leaves is also useful for treating fungal infections.
The traditional practices brought to the attention of the world the medical importance of the Clavillia. In Peru, the plant is used as a bowel cleanser or diuretic laxative. The juice from the flower is used to treat the ear arches and clear herpes lesions. In the Brazilian herbal medicine, a paste is made of the flower and leaf, and such is utilized to treat skin infections such as eczema, itchiness, skin sports, herpes and skin infections. The juice from roots is also important in treating earaches. The roots of the plant also combat worms. The roots also treat intestinal parasites, dysentery, leucorrhea, liver infections, syphilis, diarrhea, edema and abdominal colic. In Mexico, the whole plant is decocted and used for vaginal discharge, dysentery, bee and scorpion stings as well as infected wounds. In the USA, the plant is used for bone fractures, mumps and as a stimulant to the uterus to hasten childbirth.
Biological activities and clinical research
In addition to the antiviral infection of the maps, the plant has demonstrated other biological activities. New phenolic compounds were found in the plant by researchers in 2001. This was major since it demonstrated action against the yeast candidate Albicans. Anti-fungal activity has also been demonstrated by the hot water extracts from the leaves, roots, and flowers of the plant. Further research on the branch and leaves of the plant did not reveal antimicrobial action, hence the property attributed to only the roots of the plant.