Anamu

ANAMU
Family: Phytolaccaceae
Genus: Petiveria
Species: alliacea
Common Names: Anamu, Apacin, Apacina, Apazote De Zorro, Aposin, Ave, Aveterinaryte, Calauchin, Chasser Vermine, Congo Root, Douvant-douvant, Emeruaiuma, Garlic weed, Guinea Henweed, Guine’, Guine, Guinea, Guinea hen leaf, Gully Root,Herbe Aux Poules, Hierba De Las Gallinitas, Huevo De Gato, Kojo Root, Kuan, Kudjuruk, Lemtewei, Lemuru, Mal Pouri, Mapurit, Mapurite, Mucura-caa, Mucura, Mucuracaa, Ocano, Payche, Pipi, Tipi, Verbena Hedionda, Verveine Puante, Zorrillo
Parts Used: Plant, Root

DESCRIPTION
Properties/Actions:
Analgesic, Anthelmintic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antileukemic, Antipyretic, Antispasmodic, Antitumorous, Abortifacient, Antirrheumatic, Cytotoxic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Immunostimulant, Stimulant, Sedative, Sudorific, Vermifuge
Phytochemicals:
Allantoin, Arborinol, Arborinol,iso Astilbin, Benzaldehyde, Benzoic-acid Benzyl-2-hydroxy-5-ethyl-trisulfide, Coumarin, Dibenzyl Trisulfide, Engeletin, Friedelinol,alpha, Isoarborinol, Isoarborinol-acetate, Isoarborinol-cinnamate, Isothiocyanates, Kno3, Leridal, Leridol, Leridol-5-methyl Ether, Lignoceric Acid, Lignoceryl Alcohol, Lignoceryl Lignocerate, Linoleic Acid Myricitrin, Nonadecanoic Acid, Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Pinitol, Polyphenols, Proline,trans-n-methyl-4-methoxy, Senfol, Sitosterol,beta, Stearic Acid, Tannins,Trithiolaniacine
Traditional Remedy:
Three tablespoons of whole herb or leaf infusion 2 times daily or 1 ml of a 4:1 tincture twice daily. 500 mgs of powdered herb in tablets or capsules twice daily can be substituted if desired.
See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.
Anamu is an herbaceous perennial that grows up to a meter in height. It is indigenous to the Amazon Rainforest and can be found in other areas in Tropical America and Africa. It is sometimes called “garlic weed” as the plant and especially root have a strong garlic-like odor.

Called Mucura in the Peruvian Amazon, it is used as part of an herbal bath against witchcraft. In Brazilian herbal medicine it is called Tipi and is considered antispasmodic, diuretic, emmenagogue, stimulant, and sudorific and is employed for hydropsy, arthritis, poor memory and to induce abortions. In large dosages it is toxic and care must be used if taken internally. A decoction or infusion with 30 grams of dried Anamu root and leaves is used in a liter of water recommended with 1/4 cup dosages 1-2 times daily. The root is more powerful than the leaves and the root is considered anesthetic and analgesic. The leaves are beaten into a cataplasm and used externally for headache, rheumatic pain and other types of pain as well as an insecticide. Anamu has been used in Brazil for malaria and rheumatism. In Ka’apor ethnobotany, it is calledmikur-ka’a which means opossum-herb and it is used for both medicine and magic.

In Guatemalan herbal medicine the plant is called Apacín and it is used as a traditional remedy for sinusitis (by inhaling the root powder), a leaf decoction is taken internally for digestive ailments, and sluggish digestion, flatulence, and fever. The leaf decoction is also used externally as an analgesic for muscular pain amd for skin diseases. In Haiti, the fresh squeezed leaf juice or the crushed root is inhaled for migraine headaches and a maceration of leaves is used as an analgesic mouthwash for tooth pain.Clinically, Anamu has demonstrated in vitro antileukemic and antitumorous properties in several studies. The plant containsBenzaldehyde as well as Coumarin, and both plant chemicals have been documented with antitumorous and/or anticancerous properties. Anamu has also been documented with in vivo and in vitro immunostimulant properties. In a 1993 study, a water extract demonstrated the ability to stimulate lymphocyte and Interleukin II production in mice. In the same year, another study with mice demonstrated that an Anamu extract increased Natural Killer Cell Activity by 100% and stimulated Interferon, Interleukin II and Interleukin 4 production. Newer research in 1999 and 2000 continues to substantiate Anamu’s in vivo immunostimulant properties. Early research in 1949 documented Anamu’s insecticide activity, and a weak uterine stimulant effect in rats was noted in 1964. A German research group documented Anamu’s antimicrobial properties in vitro against numerous pathogens including against several Gram positive and negative bacteria, the tuberculosis mycobacterium and several strains of fungi in 1972. It’s antibacterial properties were demonstrated by another research group again in 1979 including against E Coli and Pseudomonas. It’s antifungal properties were documented by yet another research group in 1991. Researchers from Guatemala and Austria have been following up on Anamu’s antimicrobial properties, publishing two studies in 1998 confirming it’s activity in vitro and in vivo against numerous bacteria, fungi and protozoas. In these in vivo studies with mice no acute or oral toxicity to the mice was noted at the therapuetic dosages used. In 1996, researchers discovered that an infusion of Anamu roots to be an effective nematocide. An extract of Anamu seeds demonstrated in vivo (in rats) and in vitro to stimulate uterine contractions which may explain it’s history in herbal medicine in the tropics as a abortifacient and emmenagogue. As such, Anamu is contraindicated for use by pregnant women.

Researchers in 1990 demonstrated the in vivo hypoglycemic effect of Anamu, showing that sugar levels in the blood decreased by more than 60% after one hour of administration to mice. Another area of study on Anamu is based upon it’s traditional uses as an analgesic and anti-inflammatory remedy. By using the carragenine or histatine-induced edema test and orally administering Petiveria alliaceae root hydro-alcoholic extract, a marked anti-inflammatory effect was demonstrated in one study. A small double-blind crossover human trial was conducted with people with osteoarthritis which demonstrated a Anamu leaf tea only slightly better than placebo However in another study, the anti-inflammatory effect of Petiveria alliacea was also studied by using a water-based freeze-dried whole plant extract orally administered to rats. No significant difference was found between the controls and the treated groups, which lead researcher to suppose that the anti-inflammatory action is achieved with alcoholic extracts from the root and not from leaves of this species.

There has been some toxicity of the plant noted at higher dosages. In the Germano study, the gastrotoxicity was studied with root hydro alcoholic extract, showing a low toxicity and no ulcerogenic effect in the gastric mucous membrane. The lethal dose (LD 50) value was higher than that of the effective dose (ED 50), by 31.4 mg/kg. In the Hoyos study, human lymphocytes were treated in vitro with extracts at 200, 300 and 400 times the recommended human dosages. A delay in cell proliferation was observed at the higher dosages, but not an inhibition of mitosis. This led researchers to surmise that while Anamu may contain mutagenic and potentially carcinogenic agents, the folk medicine is not a potent mutagen.
COUNTRY
ETHNOBOTANY: WORLDWIDE USES
Argentina
Diarrhea, Diuretic, Emmenogogue, Febrifuge, Respiratory Tract Infections, Rheumatism, Urinary Infections
Brazil
Abortive, Analgesic, Anthelmentic, Antirheumatic, Asthma, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Arthritis, Emmenagogue, Cancer, Diabetes, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Fever, Heachache, Inflammation, Insecticide, Osteoartritis, Poison(Arrow), Repellant(Bat), Rheumatism, Sedative, Spasm, Toothache, Venereal Disease, Vermifuge
Cuba
Abortive, Anti-inflammatory, Cancer, Diabetes
Elsewhere
Abortifacient, Ache(Head), Aphrodisiac, Analgesic, Anthelmentic, Antirheumatic, Asthma, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, Bite(Snake), Cancer, Counterirritant, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Ecbolic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Fever, Heachache, Insecticide, Lung, Nerve, Parturition, Pertussis, Piscicide, Repellant(Bat), Repellant(Insect), Rheumatism, Sedative, Spasm, Sudorific, Toothhache, Venereal Disease, Vermifuge
Guatemala
Diarrhea, Menstruation, Ringworm, Skin fungus, Stomach cramps, Skin Disease, Scrofula
Haiti
Ache(Head), Antiseptic, Depurative, Diuretic, Expectorant, Fever, Insecticide, Insectrepellant, Sedative, Spasm, Sudorific, Tumor, Vermifuge
La
Abortifacient, Depurative, Diuretic, Emmenagogueue, Expectorant, Hysteria, Nerve, Spasm, Sudorific, Vermifuge
Mexico
Abortifacient, Ache(Head), Boils, Catarrh, Childbirth, Cold, Depurative, Diuretic, Ecbolic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Fever, Deatrash, Hives, Hysteria, Nerve, Paralysis, Pustules, Rabies, Repellant(Insect), Rheumatism, Spasm, Sudorific, Toothhache, Tumor, Venereal, Vermifuge
Paraguay
Abortive, Emmenagogue, Flu, Insecticide
Puerto Rico
Abortive, Cholera, Childbirth, Emmenogogue, Fever
Peru
Hallucinogenic
Trinidad
Abortifacient, Counterirritant, Cystitis, Decoagulant, Depurative, Dysmenorrhea, Flu, Head-Cold, Venereal, Womb
Venezuela
Abortifacient, Caries, Depurative, Rootcanal, Spasm, Sudorific,Vermifuge
West Indies
Abortive, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Parturition

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