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Flor de Manita-Chiranthodendron

The generic name - Chiranthodendron - is a combination of Greek words meaning "hand-flower-tree." Larreátegui notes that this was the name used by the Spanish botanists in Sessé's expedition, which studied the tree in 1787. The trivial name pentadactylon means "five-fingered." The tree flowers in winter, when the branches are otherwise bare. It was well-known long before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s; in the Aztec language Nahuatl it is called Macpalxochicuahuitl ("hand-flower-tree"). In Spanish it is called Árbol de las manitas ("tree of the little hands"), flor de manita ("flower of the little hand"), and manita or mano de león ("little hand, or hand, of a lion"); and in English, the hand-flower tree or Mexican hand plant (Hortus Third).

As Larreátegui explains, the tree was known from a single specimen growing since time immemorial in Toluca in the Valley of Mexico. The Indians revered it and used it in medicines for relieving pain and inflammation, according to the Badianus Manuscript, an Aztec herbal now in the Vatican Library, and early Spanish commentaries, notably Hernandez's Quatro Libros de la Naturaleza y Virtutes de las Plantas y Animales...en la Nueva España first published in 1615. Following their beliefs about what would please the gods, the Aztecs picked every flower on the Toluca tree each year to prevent it from germinating and producing others of its kind, although it is reported that there were a few others cultivated in gardens or presented as royal gifts.

The Toluca tree was visited and studied by Sessé and Mociño, Cervantes, and Humboldt and Bonpland on their several botanical expeditions during this period. The species is a large forest tree in the Sterculiaceae (Cacao) family and is now known to be abundant in wet mixed oak-pine and deciduous mountain forests through Mexico and Guatemala.

Link to Pictures and more info on Flor de Manita

Properties of Flor de Manita Used by Aztec's

Cures Cardiac Diseases

Astec Method of Use

Divide the flor de manita into 4 parts, then boil 1/4 of the flower with 1/4 magnolia flower, 1/4 pitahaya flower in 1/4 liter of water; strain then drink 1 cup on an empty stomach. Avoid quarrels, displeasures, strong emotions, intense exercise and agitations. If the patient suffers from sharp pain or palpitations; rub some wine near the heart area.

CAUTION: This presentation is not a guide to the identification of plants or their use as a substitute for standard medical treatments. Many plants with medicinal properties are also toxic and frequently FATAL if taken at incorrect dosages or if not prepared in a specific fashion. We do not advocate the consumption of reputed medicinal plant products without prior consultation with your physician or other natural plant products professional. Consult Your Physician Before Using a Herbal Remedy!


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