Smilax havanensis – Chaneyroot

The chaneyroot is a woody liana that grows in great masses out of a yellowish, gnarled, polymorph rootstock. The climbing stalks of the plant carry many hooked thorns. The oval leaves are 2–12 cm long, the flowers greenish and very small (4–6 mm). It occurs in mountain forests of the limestone formations in Cuba, Costa Rica, South Florida, the Bahamas and on Jamaica.

Active constituents: No alkaloids were found in the chaneyroot. However, similar to kava-kava there seem to be fat-soluble constituents of the root which still need to be studied.

Use: The gnarled root stock of older plants are dug out, cut into “Chips” and dried. In Jamaica the chaneyroot is traditionally decocted with the addition of a bit of sarsaparilla-root (5 %) into a tonic, which is called “man‘s nature” or “courage”. Following a well-tasting preparation of modern times 8 g of ground chaneyroot-chips are cooked in one liter of a mixture (3:1) of water and sweetened condensed milk at low heat in a pot with lid for about 60 minutes. Then the plant-parts are strained off and the decoction is reduced to about 1/4 liter. The use of chaneyroot as a spice is also popular.

Effects: The significance of Chaneyroot as a tonic and aphrodisiac has a century-long history. The Arawak-Indians have already prepared a potion for marriage ceremonies out of it. The above mentioned recipe has a pleasantly stimulating and euphoriant effect, that starts around 20 min. after the intake and lasts for about 4 hours. The willingness for sexual experiences is also significantly increased.

In native Indian natural medicine the chaneyroot is also used for the relief of kidney- and testicular diseases. In the Outer Bahamas a chaneyroot-decoction is used for blood cleansing.

Side effects: None are known.

Suppliers: It is only rarely offered in Europe.

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