Common Name(s): Worry Vine, Vervine, Porter Weed
Scientific Name: Stachytarpheta jamaicensis
Medicinal Uses: Used in a tea to treat anxiety, heart conditions, coughs, fevers, constipation and colds. Leaves were mashed for use in poultices. Midwives used the entire plant either as a tea (in combination with cerasee) or vaginal irrigation.
This bushy herb is described in Flora of the Cayman Islands as “a weed of open waste places and dry sandy clearings and thickets” but it is also increasingly used in landscaping and can be seen lining the walkways of Camana Bay.
Its genus name (Stachytarpheta) comes from the Greek δΤαΧυς-ταρφυς meaning “thick spike” and refers to the flowering spikes which contribute to its striking appearance.
Worry vine is a medicinal plant in many Caribbean cultures and several studies have demonstrated its potential for treating diarrhoea, healing wounds and as an antimicrobial, confirming a number of its purported uses as a bush medicine.
Gledhill, D. (2008) The Names of Plants. Cambridge University Press.
McCubbin, L. (1995). Healing Plants of the Cayman Islands. Grand Cayman: unpublished.