Anamu (Petiveria alliacea)
Anamu, also commonly known as Guinea Henweed or Garlic Weed is a perennial herb native to the tropical western world, primarily Puerto Rico, Florida, and throughout Central and South America. Anamu is a deep rooted shrub that sports simple, deep green alternate leaves, and grows up to 4ft tall.
The roots and leaves of the plant are described as having a strong garlic taste and aroma. It generally flowers in winter but can be harvested year round. Anamu is easy to grow and thrives in disturbed areas, coastal flood plain areas. It is a member of the Pigeon Berry family of plants.
Anamu has a well documented ethonobotanical legacy in the Caribbean. In Puerto Rico and surrounding areas, it was used as a form of traditional medicine by both the native populations, the imported slave population, and the European colonizers. Even to this day, Anamu is still widely used in local folk medicine in Mexico. For medicinal use, the whole herb is generally used to make teas, extracts, and tinctures. Anamu can be consumed raw, whether dried or fresh. It is purportedly used to treat all types of ailments and issues, including use as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, an antibacterial, anti-fungal, and antiviral, and to enhance the immune system. Current research suggests that Anamu may have further use as a herb for the regulation of blood sugar levels, making it a plant of interest for the treatment of diabetes (alongside another plant Sow Exotic offers, the Insulin Plant Costus igneus)!