Psychotria Poeppigiana is very unique tropical plant, both medicinally and ornamentally. Found growing mostly near water, this velvety-leaved member of the psychotria family displays unique, bright red flowers that resemble a pair of lips with red lipstick, giving way to the nickname, Hot Lips or Hooker’s Lips. The flowers are almost cartoon-like. In the center of the “lips” is a yellow area where the actual blooms are. A blue fruit the shade of a blueberry appears when the flowers mature, and the fruit usually contains several seeds. Birds like to eat these, which is presumably the main way the plant reproduces. The fresh seeds, whether dried or not, seem stubborn to germinate, which is a quality of other psychotria seeds. But the seeds of this species are far different from those of species like carthagenensis, viridis, nervosa or alba, which form in a red berry in pairs. Psychotria Poeppigiana seeds are black and are long, rather than round.
It is clear why this shrub has gained attention as an ornamental plant. But few, even most locals where these plants grow, seem to know about the herbal qualities of the leaves of this plant. About 20-30 fresh leaves or approximately 1/2 oz of dried leaf can be boiled in a small pot of water to make about 2-3 cups of a mild-tasting, hypnotic tea. Some reports indicate that this plant can be helpful to those suffering with pain, and it can be helpful to unwind after a stressful day or before bed-time. After many requests, we are proud to offer the dried leaves of this rare plant imported from Peru.
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