Spanish needles is a well-known medicinal herb in the Caribbean, as well as in South America and parts of Africa. In Jamaica, a tea is made from the leaves (or the flower is soaked in rum) for colds and toothache. It is used to treat colic as well as worms. A mixed infusion is prepared from the leaves and root.
The root, leaves and seed of the Spanish Needle have been known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-dysenteric properties. Spanish Needle also serves as a diuretic and contains antimalarial properties, making extracts from the plant a treatment for malaria in certain cultures.