John Charles

Cordia globosa

Herbs gallery - John Charles

Common names

  • Black Sage
  • Bloodberry
  • Butterfly sage
  • Gout Tea
  • John Charles

A medicinal herb, John Charles (scientific name Cordia globosa) belongs to the borage family. On an average, this plant can grow up to a height of up to six feet when it is grown in conditions where it receives full sun. This plant is a shrub having multiple stems and grows up to anything between 6 feet and 8 feet (1.8 m and 2.4 m). The leaves of John Charles will burn up if it is planted in a seaside site or a windy locale. This plant possesses the ability to tolerate drought conditions very well.

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John Charles produces small flowers that have a sweet aroma and they are give way to small red berries, which are consumed by birds immediately when they color up. Numerous seedlings appear all over the yard where the shrub grows from bird droppings. Therefore, the seedlings require thinning.

Precisely speaking, John Charles is a small evergreen shrub that loves heat and bears wonderful small flowers that attract numerous bees, butterflies and other pollinators. This densely branched plant as well as its plentiful red berries is a favourite of the mockingbirds who have a preference to set up their nests on this plant and protect them from all corners.

John Charles is also known by its common name butterfly sage. The plant has been named such because it is extremely attractive to butterflies as well as other pollinators. This plant bears tiny, star-shaped white flowers in clusters that are not very ostentatious, but they are a favourite of the smaller butterflies, who find it difficult feeding on larger flowers. This plant is also known as bloodberry - a common name of James Charles that has been derived from the fact that it produces copious dark red berries after the flowering is over. Like the flowers, these berries to attract a large number of birds who consume the red berries happily.

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John Charles is a native of Florida, where this plant has been marked as an endangered species. While harvesting John Charles plants in Florida in the wild, it is absolutely legal to purchase the seeds or seedlings of this native plant from the plant suppliers there.

Parts used

Leaves.

Uses

Plants belonging to the genus Cordia include trees as well as shrubs that are distributed widely in places having warmer weather conditions. Since long, John Charles (Cordia globosa) plants have been used in traditional as well as folk medicines for treating a wide range of ailments. A number of plants belonging to this species were explored in detail, while some others are yet to be explored by botanists. Considerable progress has been made on the chemical as well as pharmacological attributes of some of the species. People in India consume the tiny red fruits in the form of a vegetable. Pharmacological studies undertaken on the extracts as well as the purified compounds of plants belonging to this species have been found to possess anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial, antiviral as well as anti-fertility activities. In addition, a variety of compounds such as tannins, flavonoids, triterpenes, alkaloids and fatty acids having wide ranging bioactivities were also isolated from the diverse parts of plants belonging to the Cordia species. Founded on such reports, it is clear that plants belonging to the Cordia genus possess a number of potential medicinal actions.

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It is worth mentioning here that the Cordia genus (scientific name Boraginaceae) includes about 300 species that are spread across the globe. Many of these species have different applications in traditional and folk medicines and have been used for many different purposes like anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antimalarial, cicatrizing and also to cure infections in the urinary system. In addition, it has been established that Cordia globosa is an inexhaustible source of chromenes, meroterpenoid quinines, hydroquinones and hydrochromenes. In addition, People in Mexico, Puebla, and San Rafael Coxcatlan use Cordia globosa for treating gastrointestinal problems. A tea prepared from the leaves of this plant is excellent for treating common cold.

An infusion made from the aerial parts of this plant is employed for treating throat infections, gastrointestinal problems fungal infections of the skin. This plant is known to possess astringent, tonic, antitussive and hemostatic properties which help in treating the above mentioned conditions.

This particular species belonging to genus Cordia is said to be used in popular medicine to treat a number of ailments affecting the human systems. This herb is known for its analgestic, antimicrobial, anthelmintic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties and, hence, it has various therapeutic applications - such as treating problems related to the respiratory tract, digestive system, cardiac, vascular systems, urogenital diseases and also to cure blood disorders.

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People in Hispaniola and Cuba prepare a decoction of the plants in genus Cordia and use it for treating pulmonary hemorrhages as they hold these plants in high esteem for their hemostat and astringent properties. All the species in this genus have mainly been used for treating various problems related to the lungs.

John Charles (Cordia globosa) plants are also employed for treating fever. For this application, a decoction is prepared with the plant, bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris) and fever grass (Andropogon citrates). In Cuba and other places, a simple decoction made from John Charles plant is used in the form of a depurative for treating problematic skin eruptions. This decoction is used both internally as well as in baths. In Jamaica, people use this decoction in the form of a beverage. On the other hand, in Yucatan, people use the leaves of John Charles for seasoning foods while cooking armadillo as it is known to enhance the flavour of the food.

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Habitat and cultivation

John Charles (Cordia globosa) plants are very sensitive to cold, but when grown in a warm weather they remain evergreen. Once these plants are established, they are able to tolerate drought conditions very well. On the other hand, these plants are unable to handle wind or salt and it has been found that their leaves get burned when they are exposed to any of these conditions. John Charles plants grow extremely well when they are in full sunlight or in locations where there is partial shade. These plants are also able to endure moderate pruning. As the red berries of John Charles are extremely attractive to birds, you will often find the seeds of the plant scattered all around the garden or yard through bird droppings. Therefore, you need to look for the volunteer seedlings and get rid of them while they are still young if you do not wish your garden or yard to be overtaken by these shrubs.

Constituents

Plants belonging to the genus Cordia are an excellent source of several useful phyto-constituents. This plant contains a wide variety of compounds such as pyrrolizidine alkaloids, phenolics flavonoids, tannins, cardiaquinones, triterpenes, phenyl propanoid deravatives and several others. Some of these compounds that were isolated were found to be bioactive. In fact, a new meroterppenoid benzoquinone that has been isolated from the roots of John Charles (Cordia globosa) was evaluated for cytotoxic exploits with another compound called doxorubicin. The results of this comparison were found to be significant from the statistical point of view.

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