Love bush (Cuscuta Spp) is a parasitic vine or plant which wildly spreads on hedges as well as fences and it can become quite a nuisance. Also referred to as dodder, there are up to one hundred and seventy species in the genus in various colors such as red, yellow and orange.
It is native to northern Europe and it is an annual plant from the Cuscutaceae family. Also, it is multiplied only by seeds. It can be found in the Caribbean in abundance.
Although it has medicinal purposes, it can pose a big danger to other plants which is expected of parasitic plants. It will pull every nutrient from host plants which it has entrapped and can also spread diseases from one plant to the next. Therefore, do not allow it to spread on plants that you derived benefits from because it will surely kill them if it is not controlled.
The common names are Love vine, Dodder, Devil's guts, Devil's ringlet, Devil's hair, Hailweed, Goldthread, Hairweed, Hellbine, Strangleweed, Pull down, Witch's hair, Tu-Si-Zi, Love vine, Cuscuta Spp, Cuscuta and Angel's hair.
It is used for back pains, alopecia (hair loss), babies' gripes, osteoporosis, infertility and prickly heat rash. To make love bush tea or dodder tea, infuse approximately an inch of the plant in boiling water then cool and consume in small wine glasses. However, the seeds are sold as herbal products in stores.
The seeds are highly prized by the Chinese and are used to maintain the health of the kidneys. One of the medicinal properties of the seeds is antioxidant and it contains an abundance of flavonoids.
During my childhood, I clearly remembered seeing dodder vine all along the streets in my community. I also remembered, coming from school on many occasions I would break off a piece of this love plant and put it down at a spot vacant of the main dodder. While doing this, I would call out the name of the boy whom I think I was in love with. I would constantly visit that spot to see what was happening because if it grew, then it was a sign that the person was the right one for me and that the love was strong between us. If it died, then it was a sign that there would be no progress and that there was no love between us.
Reflecting on these days brought back so much memories and how a little
gesture like this seemed so significant at that time because of the
stories that our elders tied to these plants. I remembered saying the
popular verse when throwing down this plant, "He loves me, he loves me
not! How do I know if he really loves me?" If you should ever try it,
then good luck to you. You never knew what might work for you. I can
tell you that it did not work for me.
However, dodder, Cuscuta Spp or whatever name you refer to it as, though scorn by many, love bush as a medicinal herb has its advantages in regards to health.