Litmus is an annual herb classified within the family Euphorbiaceae. It is a green-white, by the large amount of hair that covers all parts, the leaves are scattered on the stem, are triangular in shape and edges are supported by sinuous and long tails. The litmus fruit consists of three coconuts warty and covered with small scales membranous and rounded.
One grows in vineyards and olive groves by almost the entire peninsula, more abundant towards the southern half of the country.
The litmus blooms all summer until late September. Interested in harvesting the plant juice loose, this is very characteristic milky juice in the family Euphorbiaceae. For this plant, its interest lies more in the textile industry in medicine, but once had a medicinal use, besides serving as a color for pharmaceutical use.
From the plant in question is removed a milky juice which contains a coloring matter called litmus, which can be blue or red, depending predominantly alkaline (blue) or acidity (red). This curious property is that we include this plant in a treatise on natural medicines, because their use is widespread in any laboratory as an indicator of pH, ie the acidity or basicity of any solution. Besides, this dye was formerly much used in dyeing fabrics of all kinds, mainly of wool and silk. Until the eighteenth century never considered using this plant directly in medicine, but was later recognized some virtues, especially seeds, to cure fever, sweating, vomiting and many other uncomfortable symptoms. However, these alleged virtues are hardly recognized today. His only but valuable application reduces to the indicator, as we mentioned before.
Formerly it took the whole seeds in amounts ranging from 20 to 30 grams, administered in the morning, and fasting on alternate days.
Tincture. Note that it is for medicinal use, but chemical, laboratory level. It is prepared by taking 50 gr. Powdered litmus paste and mixed with 100 cc. Alcohol of 85 grados Celsius , boiling. This treatment is repeated twice more, then macerated in cold water for a short period of time and throws water on the resulting paste adding 1 / 4 l. Of boiling water. After filtered and hydrochloric acid is added until the resulting solution passes from red to blue. It is housed in a covered jar with a cotton swab. We stress that this dye is not for eating but for use in the laboratory.
From this tincture is made the litmus paper, just use the dye.
HABITAT: In vineyards and olive groves
PART USED: Plant juice
CASTILIAN: Heliotropo menor
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