THE AMAZING WORLD OF MARAVILLA -
(Mirabilis multiflora & Mirabilis longiflora)
This Wild Four-O’Clock or known by the traditional remedios name of - Maravilla, is a member of the Nyctaginacea family, and the two species I use as a medicine are Mirabilis multiflora and Mirabilis longiflora.
I often find the Mirabilis multiflora to be a little stronger in its effects, but in reality, either species works just fine!
You find this plant growing in abundance on hillsides and mesas from 2,500 to 7,500 feet in Arizona, California, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico. Also can be found growing under trees in about every major river drainage throughout the Southwest. Very abundant and very sustainable in all aspects.
The root is the part we use as a medicine, making fresh root extract at a 1:2 ratio, using 70+% alcohol. Dry root extract can be done as a 1:5 using 60% alcohol and 40% water. Tea is not preferred, since its numbing effects are not usually desired in the mouth or throat, but in the upper GI. However dried root, ground into a fine powder is useful when put into capsules. I usually prefer “00” capsule size.
If drying the root for future use, like in powdering for capsules, please chop them very small and thin, like potato chip thin, and 1/4 inch in size. This will allow them to dry fast to prevent mold from setting in (tend to mold quick), and or put in a dehydrator. Smaller pieces also grind better, and do not break blender blades so quickly. When dried these roots turn into pebbles...
The root of Maravilla is the part used!
There has been very little to no chemical work done on this amazing plant. The pharmacology or constituent work very lacking, and this would be a very good candidate for some upcoming ethnobotany student!
This is why I use Maravilla -
#1 It is an anorectic. It sedates and numbs the stomach lining, and lessens appetite. One “00” capsule or 20 to 30 drops of the fresh root extract, will essentially make it seem like you just ate a huge meal, when in fact you did not!
#2 It stimulates the central nervous system, bringing a mild alertness. Similar to a cup of coffee.
#3 It releases stored sugar, raising blood sugar slightly, thus releasing stored energy. Probably making this plant medicine inappropiate for low blood sugar folks, as well as diabetics.
So what you have is a plant that reduces hunger or appetite, then stimulates your nervous system, then releases stored sugar. Amazing, right? Sure it is, but unfortunately it could be abused by weight loss fanatics who are always looking for the next “wonder thing” for weight loss.
DO NOT USE:
# Do not use if you have LOW BLOOD SUGAR
# Do not use if you need to eat. Do NOT use if you are having problems with anorexia.
# Do not use if you have high blood pressure
# Do not use if you have diabetes
# Do not use if you are pregnant
However, if you are a person who is learning to eat less, but your caloric intake demands have been high, then by using this plant, a few days a week, you will learn to eat less… and actually lose a little weight in the process. More importantly this plant can help you function and learn to eat less in a healthy manner. It is a good plant tool, just do not abuse it or get caught up in that cultural psychology of needing to loose weight syndrome.
Here is how I have used it with people:
A man came to me one time, he was working for the power company as a line man. Pretty strong and healthy, very active in his job. He worked in the field putting up power lines. Probably consumed twice the normal amount of calories each day. However he burnt those calories up most days.
When I met him, he had just got promoted from field work to a supervisor desk job ( to me that is not a promotion, hahaha). While he was used to consuming a huge amount of calories in his field work, the desk job now required half as much. After a few weeks he began to put on a lot of extra pounds.
I had him use 2 “00” capsules per day for a month. After the month he had lost 20 pounds, and was now eating much smaller meals to feel full. After a few months, and a total loss of about 30 pounds, he stopped using the Maravilla capsules, and returned to a normal healthy weight and meal size.
Maravilla capsules or extract, when done properly can retrain your stomach to feel full on a lot less food. This is a very useful physiological and psychological tool for staying healthy.
The fresh root extract makes a fair topical liniment that is slightly numbing. Fresh roots grated up and put on sore muscles, sprains, or other muscular soreness, work even better.
I have always wondered if dried root put into salves might have this numbing effect? Not gotten around to really trying that one.
Many Native American hunters have used a small piece of the root, chewed fresh and swallowed to eliminate hunger, especially during starvation or scant food times. Makes sense .. you are hungry, tired and worn out, but you have to go hunting, and by eating a small piece, you get your hunger reduced, central nervous system stimulated and energy released from blood sugar elevation ... now you can go hunting!
In conclusion, this plant is an amazing tool for learning to eat less, but I would never recommend it for long term use (more than 3 months) or for people who are not responsible with their dietary habits. If you are trying to eat less, but can't, because you have been used to eating large amounts of food because you needed to, but now find that you do not need to .. then Maravilla might just help you adjust.