Fitweed

Fitweed is a popular food herbs in the Caribbean. It is one of many ‘corianders’ used across the world, although it is not closely related. A chutney made with fitweed leaves, they say, stimulates the appetite.

As a medicine, fitweed is recommended in a tea for diarrhoea, vomiting and constipation and also for flu and fevers. In Jamaica it’s used for colds and convulsions in children and, combined with Rivina humili (rouge plant), to treat eye diseases. It is also used to bring on menstrual bleeding.

Some herbalists say fitweed is an aphrodisiac and, indeed, Sloane commented it ‘excites venery’ (sexual intercourse). He also noted its use for venomous snakebites. The root, eaten raw, is said to be good for scorpion stings.

As well as being a popular food herb, it appears in many herbal traditions. In Brazil it’s used to bring down fevers, in Africa for headaches and boils.