Man oh man

Peperomia pellucida, man oh man or lingua de sapo here, is a small, shallow rooted, succulent leafed and stemmed herb which likes shady, moist spots. It stands about 10 inches high, though can vary between 6 to 15 inches.  The stem is a light yellow green, smooth and round in shape, juicy and a little crunchy in texture. It’s not quite erect, but seems to grow or move between leaf nodes. The leaves are shiny, heart shaped and quite large in comparison to the stem. Flowers are tiny and born aloft on spikes which rise up from the top of the plant. Fruits are small and a little peppery. Overall the plant has a sweet hot smell, not unlike mustard.

It’s native to the Americas, but is found throughout the tropics. Flowers year round.

Can be enjoyed in salads, the whole plant, including roots is edible, and it can be used cooked or eaten raw. It has a lightly spicy taste, peppery, but is also refreshing in the mouth.

In traditional medicine it has many uses: for colds, kidneys and as diuretic (Caribbean); gout and arthritis (South America); abscesses and eye inflammation and conjunctivitis (Brazil); wounds, roots for fever (Bolivia); convulsions and tumours (Africa); excited mental disorders (Bangladesh); constipation, kidney disorders, urinary tract infections, emaciation, edema and general weakness (Ayurveda).

Research has shown it to be anti inflammatory and analgesic in aqueous extract.

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