Piper auritum Kunth - hierba santa, hoja santa (span.), Mexican pepperleaf, Vera Cruz pepper, Mexikanischer Blattpfeffer, Makulan, Ohrenpfeffer
Shrub or subshrub, native to Central America, naturalized and cultivated in Central and South America; leaves ovate, up to 20cm long and broad, base narrowly and deeply obliquely cordate, abaxially and adaxially minutely pubescent; spikes 12-25 cm; fruits not seen. http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=1&taxon_id=233500960
„It is often used in Mexican cuisine for tamales, the fish or meat wrapped in fragrant leaves for cooking, and as an essential ingredient in mole verde, the green sauce originated in the Oaxaca region of Mexico.“ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piper_auritum
The sensoric quality of Piper auritum leaves is „… aromatic and pleasant, loosely reminiscent to anise, nutmeg and black pepper. The flavour is strongest in the young stems and veins, which have additionally a pleasant warming pungency.“ http://gernot-katzers-spice-pages.com/engl/Pipe_aur.html
The crushed leaves of P.auritum are used to catch fish by the natives of Panama, as they act as fish attractand. Safrole (70%) was identified as main component of the essential oil (yellowish clear liquid, 0.71%) collected by steam distillation of the fresh leaves.
[Safrole, the main component of the essential oil from Piper auritum of Panama., Gupta, M.P., Arias, T.D., Williams, N.H., Bos, R., Tattje, D. Journal of Natural Products, 48(2), 1985, 330-330]
The essential oil of Piper auritum containing safrole (86.9%) as the most abundant compound, was active against the promastigotes of Leishmania major, Leishmania mexicana, Leishmania braziliensis and Leishmania donovani. Minor constituents of the oil were γ-terpinene (1.3%), terpinolene (1.1%), and myristicin (1.5%) eg.
[Chemistry, cytotoxicity and antileishmanial activity of the essential oil from Piper auritum., Monzote, L., García, M., Montalvo, A.M., Scull, R., Miranda, M., Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, 105(2), 2010, 168-173] http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?pid=S0074-02762010000200010&script=sci_arttext&tlng=es
Grower Jim Garden Adventures Blog, http://growerjim.blogspot.de/2013/07/hoja-santa-acuyo-piper-auritum.html