Br Poult Sci. Jul;44(3) The effect of chaya (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) leaf meal and of exogenous enzymes on amino acid digestibility in broilers. Abstract. Aims: This study focused on the possible protective effect of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius leaf extract (CA) against hepatic damage. Introduction: Male fertility is controlled by a complex assortment of pituitary- gonadal hormones. This regulation is key to understanding.
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Cnidoscolus aconitifolius possibly originated in the Yucatan region of Mexico, but is now widespread in eastern Mexico and Central America. It is also cultivated from northern Mexico to Guatemala and occasionally elsewhere, e. Young chaya leaves and shoots are cooked and eaten, alone or in combination with other vegetables and meat in stews and soups.
Flora: Península de Yucatán
The leaves are only rarely eaten raw as fresh greens. A popular drink in Yucatan Mexico is made by blending raw chaya leaves in sugar water with lemons, pineapple and other fruits and is said to heighten virility. Chaya is also used as forage for domestic animals. Medicinally, chaya has numerous characteristics, ranging from the ability to strengthen fingernails and darken graying hair.
It is also used to cure alcoholism, diabetics, insomnia, skin disorders, venereal diseases, gout, scorpion stings and to improve brain function and memory. Fresh chaya leaves aconihifolius per g edible portion: It also contains HCN 27—42 mg. Uncooked chaya leaves contain cyanogenic glycosides that produce hydrogen cyanide upon tissue damage.
The cooking time required to lower HCN to safe levels is about 15 minutes.
Numerous flavonoid compounds have been isolated from chaya and most are kaempferol and quercetin glycosides e. Most medicinal properties have never been experimentally tested.
Diabetic rabbits, fed increasingly higher quantities of chaya leaves, showed a significant drop in blood sugar levels. Chicks fed diets high in chaya leaf meal had a cniddoscolus overall mass but a significant increase in absolute heart mass, liver mass, red blood cell count and a significant reduction in mortality. Chaya is known to contain proteolytic enzymes which could explain the use of chaya sap for skin disorders.
Cnidoscolus comprises about 50 species, all American. Most species bear long stiff needle hairs, stinging the flesh much worse than most nettles, the pain often being excruciating and persistent for hours, sometimes accompanied by swelling and blistering. The genus is closely related to Jatropha and was combined with it in the past. At present it is considered nearer to Manihot. Cnidoscolus aconitifolius is divided into 2 subspecies.
Cnidoscolus aconitifolius – Useful Tropical Plants
Breckon is restricted to a small area in western Mexico. Forms without stinging hairs used as a vegetable are classified as a cultivar-group: Plants of this cultivar-group produce functionally sterile flowers very rarely fruits are produced and are propagated by cuttings; at least 4 cultivars are known: Under natural conditions in Central America Cnidoscolus aconitifolius grows in moist and dry thickets in open forest, often in open rocky localities, from sea-level up to m altitude.
Chaya is propagated by stem cuttings about 40 cm long, that are dried 1—14 days before being planted. It can survive harsh conditions of high temperatures, deep shade, inundations or droughts. It is mostly planted as a hedge in home gardens.
Although the plant can reach 6 m in height, the stems are easily broken by wind and it is recommended that a height of less than 2 m be maintained. Harvesting is best done with protected hands, because even in unarmed plants, long-term contact with the white sap can cause skin irritation.
The optimum harvest period is only 2—3 months per year, but in home gardens leaves are harvested when needed. Serious diseases and pests aclnitifolius not known.
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Cnidoscolus aconitifolius is widespread in Central America and not in danger of genetic erosion. Chaya has potential as a home garden crop.