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Ocotillo Bark

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 14, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Ocotillo plant (Fouquieria splendons)


The Ocotillo plant (Fouquieria splendons) is a desert dwelling plant that is typically found in the Southwestern United States and also in Northern Mexico. It is called by many names, such as Desert Coral, Coachwhip and Vine Cactus. The Ocotillo may look like a cactus but it is not a true cactus; it may look like a bunch of tiny dead sticks but if you look closer you can reveal stems that are partly green in color. When the desert rain falls, the Ocotillo becomes a lush plant with beautiful small ovate leaves that may remain for months. It also develops bright red flowers in spring.
The Ocotillo bark is widely used as herbal remedy and is not easily harvested because of the prickly thorns that can easily prick a harvester if they are not wearing special protective clothing. There are many diseases that are treated with the Ocotillo bark which can range from diseases of the pelvic area, PMS symptoms in women and also prostate enlargement in men.

History and Origin

The Ocotillo plant is regarded as a medicinal plant by many Native American tribes. The plant is harvested fresh or after a desert rain when it is plum and lush. Ocotillo bark extracts are used for therapeutic treatment of pelvic diseases and to improve systemic circulation.

Ancient Uses

During ancient times, the Ocotillo bark and, in fact, the entire plant, was regarded as a desert plant or as a cactus with no more than shelter for use. It was later discovered, however, to have healing properties since there is certainly more than meets the eye in this plant. North American tribes used the Ocotillo bark for different medicinal purposes such as pelvic pain, to relieve menstrual symptoms and as an overall body tonic to energize and add vigor.

Modern Uses

In modern times, the Ocotillo bark and the entire plant was further studied and found that it contains medicinal properties that can increase systemic circulation especially in the pelvic area and all the organs in that region. It is used for the treatment of hemorrhoids, enlargement of the prostate in men and also abdominal pain and swelling in women. The use of Ocotillo bark extracts are usually also recommended for women who experience PMS or premenstrual symptoms, such as abdominal pain, mood changes and Headaches. It is also known to effectively remove fats in cells of the digestive tract and to improve portal circulation in organs of the abdominal and pelvic area. Tinctures of the fresh Ocotillo bark are used for medicinal purposes. Your doctor can better advise you how much dosage you can take to reap the full benefits of this wondrous herbal remedy.

Side Effects

Ocotillo bark is contraindicated in people who suffer from thrombosis since it increases blood supply and circulation. It is also not advised for women who are pregnant and breastfeeding. If you want to reap the full benefits of Ocotillo bark and to use it to treat a particular illness, consult your doctor first before using any supplements, capsules or extracts containing Ocotillo bark. It is safe idea to consult your naturopathic doctor about any possible adverse reactions to any medications you that you may be taking at present for any type illness as well.

Read also: Forsythia Fruit

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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