Archive for September 15th, 2011

Lantana – Lantana camara


This native to the tropics of the western hemisphere causes vomiting, diarrhea, dilated pupils, and labored respiration on ingestion! If large enough quantities are consumed it can even cause death. The leaves may cause dermatitis if handled by someone who is sensitive. The green unripe berries are the culprit, and activated charcoal has proven to be an effective treatment by leaching the triterpenes.


In research carried out in India a leaf extract has antimicrobial, fungicidal, and insecticidal effects. Even with the toxicity of the unripe berries, Lantana is used for herbal medicine.

            Leaves: used to treat flu, colds, coughs, fever, yellow fever, dysentery, Jaundice

            Oil: to treat cancers, chicken pox, measles, asthma, ulcers, swellings, eczema, tumors,

            high blood pressure, rheumatism, and malaria


A rare Essential Oil is produced through steam distillation of the flowers and leaves. The scent is somewhat reminiscent of Sage dalmatian having a rich green, herbaceous bouquet with a resinous, balsamic undertone. It blends well with Bergamot, Clove, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Patchouli, Clary Sage, Rose, and Jasmine essential oils. In Indian ethnic medicine it has had limited use in treating itchy skin, and minor skin traumas.


Even thought the unripe berries are quite toxic, in some areas of the world people do eat the fully ripe, black berries. Upon ripening it is heavily feasted on by birds. There are also other uses…the stems have been used as toothbrushes; the leaves are used to polish wood. The stems and leaves make mulch; and the stems have been used as a fuel for fires for cooking and heating. If handled properly the stems can also be used to produce paper, and the making of baskets.