October Plant of the Month: Scorpion Tail
Common names: Scorpion-Tail, Heliotrope
Preparation: Cuba: Dried powder of leaves poured over a moistened burn; Dominican Republic & Haiti: decoction of leaves on sores and cleaning baby’s skin at birth.
In the Bahamas and Virgin Islands this plant is sometimes referred to as Eyebright, or Bright-Eye Bush, lending some information to its historical medicinal uses. Primarily, however, it’s recorded as being used mostly for skin problems, like burns.
Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, use with caution – there have been deaths associated with overdosing on the decoction of this plant. These alkaloids are present in all Heliotropium species.
Florida Ethnobotany, Dan Austin
Florida Native Plant Society