South And Central America

Geranium core-core L.

An infusion of the leaf of this plant, known as 'core-core', is used in Chile by the Mapuche Amerindians to treat cataract, shock and fever. The root, considered astringent, was used to treat toothache and the whole plant used as an antiinflammatory agent (Rodriguez etal., 1994). It is not normally used for diabetes, but the hypoglycaemic effects of an extract of the whole plant was assessed in normoglycaemic and alloxan diabetic rats and the activity found to be significant, but less than that produced by tolbutamide (Rodriguez etal., 1994).

Geranium mexicanum HBK.

In Mexico, the juice of this plant is used as a laxative in infants although it is reputed to have no effect in adults. A decoction is used to bathe babies to prevent and treat rashes and wounds. In parts of Venezuela, the leafy stems are sold by herb vendors to make a decoction, which is drunk for digestive spasms (Morton, 1981).

Geranium niveum

This plant is used in Mexican traditional medicine to treat infectious diarrhoea, which is usually amoebic dysentery, and has recently been tested as for antiprotozoal activity against Entamoeba histolytica and Giardia lamblia. Activity was confirmed to support this usage, although the plant extract was less effective that metronidazole (Calzada et al., 1998). Bioassay-guided fractionation led to the isolation of two new antiproto-zoal constituents, identified as A-type proanthocyanins and named geranins A and B (Calzada etal., 1999).

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