From:Stoughton, MA Region: Mid-Atlantic Topic: Medicinal Plants Title: Possible medicinal uses of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides) Answered by: Dean Garrett
I recently read an article about the healing properties of Spanish Moss. It mentioned reducing bad cholesterol in the human body. What exactly are the properties in this plant that are good for you, and is it poison if you make tea out of it?
Oral extracts of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides), a non-parasitic epiphyte in the pineapple family, have been found in a few studies to reduce blood glucose in laboratory animals. The compound primarily responsible is called HMG, short for 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaric acid. HMG is now featured as an ingredient in a few herbal diabetic supplements.
I don't know if it would be poisonous to make a tea out of it. My brief perusal of literature didn't reveal any information about toxicity and I didn't find it listed on the toxic plant lists I looked at, but I'd prefer to know more before stating that it can definitely be consumed in tea form.
It does have a long history of uses by indigenous peoples throughout its range. The Houma Indians of Louisiana used it somehow to treat fevers, while people in Brazil traditionally used it for a variety of medicinal purposes.
More Medicinal Plants Questions
Identifying a plant similar to sarsaparilla September 04, 2011 - I am trying to identify a plant that looks very similar to sasparilla, but has a ring of blue berries at the end of a long stalk, and the plant itself is spreading, not an isolated herb like sasparill... view the full question and answer
List of plants native to the Abilene, Texas area September 15, 2011 - Am looking for direction to a complete list of plants native to the Abilene, Taylor County, Texas area (trees, shrubs, grasses, cacti and other plants that grew here before cultivation, eradication or... view the full question and answer
Dumb question about prickly pear December 23, 2005 - This is probably a really dumb question but I am interested in picking the prickly pear next year when it is in season, and was wondering the best way to get all of the little stickers off of the pear... view the full question and answer
Information on herbs for Northeast Ohio May 03, 2006 - Hello there,
I am writing you seeking some information on Northeast Ohio's native plants. This has been rather difficult to find—specific native plants that can be used as herbs.
If you could h... view the full question and answer
Yucca plant for horse joint problems October 21, 2008 - is the yucca plant the same as what the joint medication is made of to give to older horses for the joints, and if so, can a plant be nibbled on when it grows in the pasture? view the full question and answer