This prostrate or sometimes bushy plant with
yellow flowers is found in the tropical zones of
Central and South America. The Cuna Indians
(Darien, Panama) esteem the plant, which they
call kwala, as a "mystical medicine" (Duke 1975,
292*). A tea made from the leaves is consumed in
Bangladesh to help induce sleep (Ott 1993,419*).
Among the Maya, this species is known as
chichibeh ("the little one on the path"). On the
Mexican Gulf Coast, its leaves, like those of the
closely related Sida rhombifolia 1., are smoked as a
marijuana substitute (see Cannabis indica). The
two species are known locally as el macho, "the
male" (S. rhombifolia) , and la hembra, "the female"
(S. acuta) (Schultes and Hofmann 1980, 347*).
Both of these Sida species apparently contain
ephedrine (Schultes and Hofmann 1992, 56*).
When drying, the herbage of Sida acuta exudes a
distinct aroma of coumarin. The leaves are said to
contain saponins. Several studies of Caribbean
and Philippine specimens of Sida acuta have
demonstrated the presence of asparagine and
ephedrine in the roots (Wong 1976, 132*). The
alkaloids choline, pseudoephedrine, f3-phenethylaminePhenethylamine (PEA) is a natural monoamine alkaloid, trace amine, and psychoactive drug with stimulant effects. In the mammalian central nervous system, phenethylamine is believed to function as a neuromodulator or neurotransmitter.,
vasicine, vascicine, vasinole, and vasicinone
have been found in all parts of Sida
rhomb~folia. The stem contains the indole alkaloids
hipaphorine, hipaphorine methylester, and cryptolenine.
The leaves contain traces of an essential oil.
The seeds contain sesquiterpenes (gosipol, et
cetera) (Argueta et al. 1994,615*).