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Heimia salicifolia facts for kids

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Heimia salicifolia
Heimia salicifolia flowers by Jules Jardinier.jpg
Scientific classification

Heimia salicifolia is a species of flowering plant in the Loosestrife family, Lythraceae. It is native to the Americas, ranging from the southwestern United States (Texas and New Mexico) through Mexico and Central America to Argentina. Common names include shrubby yellowcrest, sinicuichi, sun opener, willow-leaf heimia, sini. The plant has been used for shamanic purposes by native peoples in Central America and Mexico.

Heimia salicifolia seed closeup
The seed of Heimia salicifoli magnified many times

Isolated alkaloids

  • Vertine, also known as cryogenine, is regarded as the primary bioactive component and is also generally the most abundant constituent of alkaloidal extracts.
  • Lyfoline, the second most abundant alkaloid
  • Lythrine, the third most abundant alkaloid
  • Heimidine, a minor alkaloid
  • Lythridine, a minor alkaloid

Spiritual use

Use of H. salicifolia for shamanic purposes by native peoples of Central America and Mexico has been described. In the method of preparation commonly used, fresh leaves are collected and allowed to wilt. The leaves are put into a cup or jar, cool water is added, and the mixture is placed in the sun to brew and ferment for at least 24 hours. It is said that during the fermentation process, the knowledge of the sun is embedded into the potion, creating the "elixir of the sun."

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