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Angostura – a genus of medicinal plant is native to tropical South America

Image of Angostura (genus) plant at Google

Angostura is a genus of medicinal plant that is native to tropical South America (Caroni region of Venezuela and northern Brazil). It is known for its use of bark in bitters. It is also known as Angustura, Bonplandia trifoliata, Cusparia Bark, Cusparia febrifuge (Galipea officinalis syn Galipea cuspana).

The Angostura Species are:
• Angostura alipes
• Angostura trifoliata

Characteristics of Angostura
– This is a shrub to a slender tree which is a part of rainforests.
– It can grow up to a height of 20 feet.
– It has gray bark that is smooth in texture.
– Its leaves are of trifoliate nature.
– They smell like tobacco.
– The flowers are tubular, hairy and has unpleasant odor.
– They are white in color and produce seed capsules that are 5 celled.
– These seeds have round black seeds in them.
– The bark is used by drying in concentrated infusions, liquid extracts and powders.
– It is used as a bitter tonic by natives of South America.
– The well known Angostura Bitters were first produced in Angostura, Venezuela (currently Cuidad, Bolivar).
– It is used to flavor alcoholic and soft drinks.

The chemical constituents are:
• Angosturin (colorless crystalline substance soluble in water, alcohol or ether),
• 2.4% bitter crystalline alkaloids (galipine, cusparine, galipidine cusparidine, cuspareine)
• 1.5% volatile oil,
• a glucoside.

Medical Uses:
– It is medicinally used as a Bitter tonic, aromatic bitter, and stimulant, stomachic.
– It has been a substitute for cinchona.
– It is used as a Laxative and emetic in large doses.
– It is used to stimulate liver and gallbladder, lower fevers, and to relax spasms.
– It is also used to treat dysentery, bilious diarrhea, poor appetite, headaches, feverish illnesses, intermittent fever, and edema.

Growing/Caring conditions for Angostura:
– The planting location should receive full sunlight.
– The location should be watered well.
– This plant cannot withstand temperatures less than 30 degrees.
– Dig a hole in the planting location such that the base of the tree fits right.
– While planting, take care of the roots not to get damaged.
– Pack the sides with moist soil and the top of the area with compost and water.
– Tie a support to the trunk of the tree to withstand heavy winds.
– Water regularly as the tree is a rainforest tree.
– Prune the tree and remove the dead and unhealthy parts of the tree.
– Prune during late winter to early spring.
– Fertilize the tree with compost.
– Use tropical plant food every 4-6 weeks especially during the growing season.

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