Chiranthodendron - Flor de Manita - Mecapalxochitl
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The generic name - Chiranthodendron - is a combination of Greek words meaning "hand-flower-tree." Larre?tegui notes that this was the name used by the Spanish botanists in Sess?'s expedition, which studied the tree in 1787. The trivial name pentadactylon means "five-fingered." The tree flowers in winter, when the branches are otherwise bare. It was well-known long before the Spanish arrived in the 1500s; in the Aztec language Nahuatl it is called Macpalxochicuahuitl ("hand-flower-tree"). In Spanish it is called Arbol de las manitas ("tree of the little hands"), flor de manita ("flower of the little hand"), and manita or mano de leon ("little hand, or hand, of a lion"); and in English, the hand-flower tree or Mexican hand plant (Hortus Third).
As Larre?tegui explains, the tree was known from a single specimen growing since time immemorial in Toluca in the Valley of Mexico. The Indians revered it and used it in medicines for relieving pain and inflammation, according to the Badianus Manuscript, an Aztec herbal now in the Vatican Library, and early Spanish commentaries, notably Hernandez's Quatro Libros de la Naturaleza y Virtutes de las Plantas y Animales...en la Nueva Espana first published in 1615. Following their beliefs about what would please the gods, the Aztecs picked every flower on the Toluca tree each year to prevent it from germinating and producing others of its kind, although it is reported that there were a few others cultivated in gardens or presented as royal gifts.
The Toluca tree was visited and studied by Sess? and Moci?o, Cervantes, and Humboldt and Bonpland on their several botanical expeditions during this period. The species is a large forest tree in the Sterculiaceae (Cacao) family and is now known to be abundant in wet mixed oak-pine and deciduous mountain forests through Mexico and Guatemala.
Properties of Flor de Manita Used by Aztec's
Cures Cardiac Diseases
Astec Method of Use
Divide the flor de manita into 4 parts, then boil 1/4 of the flower with 1/4 magnolia flower, 1/4 pitahaya flower in 1/4 liter of water; strain then drink 1 cup on an empty stomach. Avoid quarrels, unpleasant situations, strong emotions, intense exercise and agitations. If the patient suffers from sharp pain or palpitations; rub some wine near the heart area.
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