Four O' Clock - Mirabilis multiflora


Ethnobotanical Uses


"Navajo, Ramah Beverage Used to make tea." (Moerman 344)


"Wild four-o'clock (Mirabilis multiflora), for instance, in the past has been used at Zuni to decrease the appetite, at San Ildefonso for indigestion, at Nambe for rheumatism, at Santa Clara for eye infections, at San Juan for swellings, and at Acoma for smoking tobacco."(Dunmire and Tierney 55)

"At Santa Clara a small portion of the ground root was mixed with water and taken for colic or relief from distended stomachs. It was also a remedy for eye infection and a rubbing compound to alleviate sore muscles. At Zuni and Laguna the powdered root was once mixed with flour to make a bread to decrease the appetite. The Acoma and Laguna dried the leaves for use as smoking material. These uses indicate that the plant has a sedative property, but to our knowledge the effective ingredient has not been isolated or identified." (Dunmire and Tierney 176-7)

"Tewa Indians drink an infusion of the ground roots for cases of swelling-perhaps those of a dropsical nature." (Moore 108)

"Should a common sore throat arise, the dry roots are scraped, and the powder is put into a cigarette paper and blown into the throat, but if the complaint proves to the the forerunner of a cold, a hot bath made from a decoction of the roots may be beneficial. Fever can be reduced by mixing the powdered leaves with white Vaseline, and by rubbing the whole body with the substance. Mumps can be treated three times a day with an ointment of lard combined with the crushed roots. Finally, camphorated oil should be applied to rheumatic parts and powdered marvilla roots bound on with flannel to effect a rapid cure." (Moore 109)

"Hopi Hallucinogen Roots chewed by doctor to induce visions while making diagnosis. Tewa Kidney Aid Infusion of pulverized root taken for swellings 'of dropsical origin.' ---Gastrointestinal Aid and Pediatric Aid Infusion of powdered root taken by adults or children after overeating." (Moerman 344)