Spanish needle (Bidens Pilosa) medicinal herb is grown widely all over Jamaica. It is a plant that is native to America and it is an annual herb from the Asteraceae family. It can be seen in fields, roadways and even on the lawns. It is a very showy herb because it is very easy to be seen from afar because of its colorful and bright flowers. It possesses white petals settled around a circle of beautiful yellow blooms.
This is the main plant fed to rabbits, so every morning in the rural areas, rabbit owners pick the fresh herb to put in the rabbit cages. Goats also enjoy this outstanding and wonderful medicinal plant.
Some of the medicinal properties of this plant are astringent, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue amongst others.
Some of the common names are Beggars tick, Black jack, Broomstick, Needle grass, Cobblers peg, Demon spike grass, as well as Ghost needle weed. The constituents are flavonoids, benesenoids, terpene as well as lipids.
This medicinal plant is always dear to me because it reminds me of my primary school days when we were taught a poem written by Jamaican poet, Claude McKay in regards to this plant. He described it as lovely and dainty with its yellow and white flowers. However, there was more to it than that. It possesses great medicinal benefits.
The benefits of this medicinal herb are many. It may be used to treat diabetes, colds, flu, bronchitis, hepatitis, colic, asthma, menstrual conditions, urinary tract infections as well as bacterial infections. It is also used to treat Anti-adult T-cell leukemia.
The flower can be soaked in white rum and used for alleviating toothaches. It can also be combined with cabbage and callaloo and juiced then used as herbal remedy for most of the above ailments
Due to its antiseptic properties it can be utilized as a natural mouth wash which will benefit sore gums and sore mouths. In Africa they use the juice as a styptic for cuts and wounds. The tea can be used to wash boils and rashes on the skin.
Lovely dainty Spanish needle, With your yellow flower and white, Dew bedecked and softly sleeping, Do you think of me to-night?
Shadowed by the spreading mango, Nodding o'er the rippling stream, Tell me, dear plant of my childhood, Do you of the exile dream?
Do you see me by the brook's side Catching crayfish 'neath the stone, As you did the day you whispered: Leave the harmless dears alone?
Do you see me in the meadow, Coming from the woodland spring, With a bamboo on my shoulder, And a pail slung from a string?
Do you see me all expectant, Lying in an orange grove, While the swee-swees sing above me, Waiting for my elf-eyed love?
Lovely dainty Spanish needle, Source to me of sweet delight, In your far-off sunny South-land, Do you dream of me to-night?
Updated July 25, 2015