Matico, Piper angustifolium, is a shrub native to Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Venezuela, and other South American countries. Its qualities are said to have been discovered by a Spanish soldier named Matico, the legend being that he applied some of the leaves to a wound, and observed that the bleeding was thereby stopped. This legend, current in South America, gave to the shrub the name soldier's herb, or tree. (See Stramonium.) It is probable, however, that he learned of its native use by the Indians. In the beginning of the nineteenth century matico came to the attention of the profession of medicine in North America and in Europe, being conspicuously introduced by Jeffreys (340), a physician of Liverpool, who commended it, 1839, as a styptic and astringent. The introduction of the drug must, however, be considered as empirical, through the infusion of the leaves used by the soldier.
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.