- Family Krameriaceae
- Krameria species
- K. triandra
- K. lanceolata
- K. cytisoides
- K. parviflora
- Rhatania, Cramer Plant, Krameria/Crameria Root, Peruvian Rhatany, Mapato
- Spanish: Raiz para los Dientes, Raiz Para, Chacate, Cosahui, Mezquitillo, Pumacuchu, Chacatl (Aztec)
- Since it does have a high tannin content, it is generally considered unsafe for frequent use as it can compromise the mucous membranes.
Indigenous to Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, rhatany is also found on western slopes of the Andes at altitudes of 3,000 to 10,000 feet. These low shrubs with red or purple flowers and spiny fruit also grow wild in parts of Mexico, Baja California, and southwestern US. The plant is a dense evergreen shrub, growing to three feet with oblong leaves and large red flowers. The younger branches are dark green, silky to bristly haired, while the older ones are black and often gnarled. The root is thick and covered with a brownish-red, smooth, peeling bark. The root is collected in the wild throughout the year, washed, and air-dried in the shade.
Rhatany is a traditional South American plant remedy used by the indigenous as an astringent and tooth preservative. Its Spanish name, which means “root for the teeth”.
Another species native to North and Central America, K. parvifolia, was used by the Papago as an eyewash.
The indigenous of the Baja used the plant as a red dye for wool and leather and as a remedy for diarrhea and dental problems. It is still a staple of Mexican traditional medicine used to treat diarrhea, hemorrhoids, sore throat or gums, and sore nipples.
- decreases mucous secretions
- tannins (10-20% including phlobaphene, benzofurans, and n-methyltyrosine)
- tanner’s reds
- Root, bark, flowers, stem
As an astringent and antimicrobial, it is a useful remedy taken mainly for problems affecting the gastrointestinal tract, and commonly used for diarrhea and dysentery.
These properties also make it a good mouthwash and gargle for bleeding gums, canker sores, and sore throats.
It is effective when used as an ointment, suppository, or wash for inflammations of genitalia. It is also taken for urinary tract problems and painful rectal conditions.
When applied externally to wounds, it helps staunch blood flow. It can also be used on varicose veins and over areas of capillary fragility that may be prone to easy bruising.
The Mexican species (K. cystisoides) is also an astringent remedy, and is used in much the same manner as rhatany.