Anamu (Petiveria alliacea)
Anamu (Petiveria alliaceae) also known as Guinea Hen Weed or Garlic Weed, is a 4-foot-high, herbaceous perennial shrub, native to the Amazon rainforests and naturalized over the southern U.S., Central and South America, and the Caribbean. It is an attractive plant with alternate, leathery, dark green leaves and gently arching spikes of tiny white flowers that bloom in the winter. Its leaves, and especially its roots, emit a strong garlic odor when crushed and can be harvested year-round.
Anamu is used in medicines and magic rituals in the areas where it is grown. Indigenous peoples in Central and South America and urban herbalists use the leaves and roots as an anti-inflammatory and pain reducer, for coughs, colds, and flu, for digestive ailments, fever, cancer prevention, and diabetes treatment. Because of its strong odor, Anamu is also used as an insecticide and bat repellant.
This shrub is deep-rooted and easy to grow. It prefers moist, humid conditions and can grow in a variety of soil types and environments, including disturbed areas and coastal plains. It is hardy to USDA zone 9 to 11 but can be overwintered in colder regions and grown as a container plant.