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Taxon: Jatropha macrantha Mull. Arg
Synonyms: Jatropha aphrodisiaca
Common names: higos del duende, huanarpo, huanarpo macho, huanarpo de Canta, guarnarpo macho, mitocala, palo de grado, sangre de drago, simayuca, urco huanarpo, vanarpo, wanarpo
Parts Used: young branch stems
| HUANARPO MACHO |
| HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS |
|supports sexual function
||Tincture: 3 ml twice daily
||Capsules: 2-3 g daily
|supports renal function
||Decoction: 1 c 3 times daily
Huanarpo macho is medium shrubby tree (10 to 12 m in height) with pretty reddish-orange flowers. It is indigenous to Peru and can be found in abundance in the Marañon river valley in the Amazon and in the Puno district in Peru. Huanarpo macho is a plant that follows, what is termed in botany and ethnobotany as, the "Doctrine of Signatures." The Doctrine is based on that, by observation, one can determine from the color of the flowers or roots, the shape of the leaves, the place of growing, or other "signatures," what the plant should be used for. The young branch stems of the huanarpo macho tree are shaped like a man's anatomy and for centuries these young branch stems have been used in traditional medicine systems to support, aid, and enhance male sexual function.
The Jatropha genus is a large tribe of plants with approximately 175 species of trees and shrubs in the tropics and subtropics of both hemispheres.
TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES
In herbal medicine systems in Peru, Huanarpo macho is considered aphrodisiac, anti-asthmatic, anti-diabetic, antitussive, anti-ulcerous, and nervine. It is widely used to restore male sexual potency, for premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, and as a male sexual tonic and aphrodisiac. It has recently been called "Peruvian Viagra" in various marketing programs and is as popular in Peru as a male aphrodisiac as muira puama is in Brazil for the same purpose. In addition, the branches and/or tree bark is also used in Peruvian herbal medicine for asthma, bronchitis, coughs, and diabetes in Peru. Herbalists and practitioners in Peru believe that huanarpo macho can block alpha-adrenoreceptors which reduce the effect of hormones that cause vasoconstriction of blood vessels in penile tissues and augment the production of norepinephrine which is essential in maintaining erectile function. Based on the chemistry of the plant, there is some support for that type of mechanism of action.
A different plant in the Jatropha family is also called “huanarpo” (Jatropha cilliata) in Peru. Although this plant also used as an aphrodisiac, this is a small perennial herb and the leaves and root are used to prepare a “huanarpo aphrodisiac” and it shouldn’t be confused with the
huanarpo macho tree.
Huanarpo macho contains sapogenins, steroids, flavonoids, ethereal oils, and alkaloids. It also contains a large amount of proanthocyanidins. Proanthocyanidins are compounds, naturally occurring in various plants, with anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities. They are reported to prevent skin aging and heart diseases, to scavenge oxygen free radicals, and inhibit UV radiation-induced peroxidation.
Several researchers reported in the last few years the possible role of proanthocyanidins as sexual stimulants, specifically able to correct erectile dysfunction and infertility. Thus, the high amount of these chemicals in huanarpo macho is in agreement with the traditional use of this plant as an aphrodisiac. The Italian researchers documenting the proanthocyanidins in huanarpo macho stated: “On the basis of these spectrometric data in J. macrantha stems extract proanthocyanidins exist with an extremely wide molecular weight range, from 290, corresponding to catechin, to 3144, corresponding to the oligomer generated from the condensation of 11 catechin units, and all the MW intermediates are present. This finding is very interesting considering that extracts rich in condensed tannins have been recently reported in literature to exert sexual stimulant activity and therapeutical activity in infertility; this is in agreement with the traditional use as an aphrodisiac of the plant under investigation.” A Peruvian researcher however, attributed the aphrodisiac effect of a tincture of huanarpo macho to its alkaloid content.
One of the main proanthocyanidins in huanarpo macho is one called proanthocyanidin B-3 and it occurs in large quantities in the young branch stems. Other researchers studying this antioxidant chemical report that it is capable of interacting with and regulating bradykinin (a hormone in the body). Both human and animal studies have demonstrated that the corpus cavernosum is capable of relaxing in the presence of bradykinin and impairment of endothelium-dependent cavernosal smooth muscle relaxation occurs in vascular-associated diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia which cause erectile failure. Regulating bradykinin, in the manner which proanthocyanidin B-3 does, has also been suggested as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction and/or achieving and maintaining an erection for longer periods of time.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
With such a high amount of antioxidant proanthocyanidins, it's not surprising that crude extracts of huanarpo macho root and bark were reported with antioxidant actions. In a study conducted with mice in 2003, researchers mixed 5 grams of huanarpo macho ground powder in 100 ml of water and gave it to mice to drink as their drinking water at will. At the end of thirty days, the group of mice receiving the huanarpo macho had increased their testosterone levels significantly over the control group which only received regular water. Progesterone and estrogen levels did not increase. These researchers attributed some of these hormonal effects to huanarpo macho's sapogenin chemicals.
CURRENT PRACTICAL USES
While scientists are still hypothesizing whether huanarpo macho's beneficial effect on male sexual function stems from its alkaloid, proanthocyanidin, or sapogenin chemicals, it remains to be one of the most popular natural remedies in Peru for erectile dysfunction and as an overall male sexual stimulant and libido aid. It is gaining in recognition here in the United States and showing up in several male sexual stimulant products, and in combination with other plants such as maca, muira puama and catuaba (other South American aphrodisiac plants). Huanarpo macho can now be found in capsules, tinctures, and in combination products sold in the U.S. natural products industry.
| HUANARPO MACHO PLANT SUMMARY |
Main Preparation Method: tincture |
Main Actions (in order): aphrodisiac, erectile enhancer, tonic, stimulant, antioxidant
Properties/Actions Documented by Research: antioxidant, hormone stimulant (testosterone), cytotoxic (Artemia)
- as a male sexual stimulant, libido enhancer and aphrodisiac
- for erectile dysfunction
- for renal and adrenal support
- as a nervine to calm and support the central nervous system
- as an antitussive; for coughs, asthma and bronchitis
Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: aphrodisiac, anti-asthmatic, anti-diabetic, anti-tussive, antiulcerous, nervine
Cautions: None reported.
Traditional Preparation: The young branch stems are typically prepared in alcoholic tinctures for its sexual stimulant actions. The branch stems and/or the tree bark are usually decocted in water for remedies pertaining to the upper respiratory system and lungs.
See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.
Contraindications: None reported
Drug Interactions: None reported.
WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
||as a blood depurative|
||as an aphrodisiac, anti-asthmatic, anti-diabetic, antitussive, depurative, and nervine; for asthma, blood cleansing, bronchitis, coughs, diabetes, erectile dysfunction, erectile function, libido stimulation, premature ejaculation, and sexual stimulant (male)|
||as an aphrodisiac; for erectile function and dysfunction|
- Benavides A., et al. “Catechin derivatives in Jatropha macrantha stems: characterisation and LC/ESI/MS/MS quali-quantitative analysis.” J. Pharm. Biomed. Anal. 2006 Feb 24; 40(3): 639-47.
- Tits, M., et al. “Anti-inflammatory prodelphinidins from blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) leaves.” Planta Med. 1991; 57: A134.
- Blazso, G., et al. “Antiinflammatory activities of procyanidin-containing extracts from Pinus pinaster Ait. after oral and cutaneous application. Pharmazie. 1997; 52: 380–382.
- Haqqi, T. M., et al. “Prevention of collagen-induced arthritis in mice by a polyphenolic fraction from green tea.” Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci.1999; 96: 4524–4529.
- Agarwal, R., et al. “Inhibition of skin tumor promoter-caused induction of epidermal
ornithine decarboxylase in SENCAR mice by polyphenolic fraction isolated from green tea
and its individual epicatechin derivatives.” Cancer Res. 1992; 52: 3582–3588.
- Maffei Facino, R., et al. “Procyanidins from Vitis vinifera seeds protect rabbit heart from ischemia/reperfusion injury: antioxidant intervention and/or iron and copper sequestering ability.” Planta Med. 1996; 62: 495–502.
- Aucamp, J., et al. “Inhibition of xanthine oxidase by catechins from tea (Camellia sinensis). Anticancer Res. 1997; 17: 4381–4385.
- Bagchi, D., et al. “Protective effects of grape seed proanthocyanidins and selected
antioxidants against TPA-induced hepatic and brain lipid peroxidation and DNA
fragmentation and peritoneal macrophage activation in mice.” Gen. Pharmacol. 1998; 30: 771–776.
- Bouhalidi R, et al. “High protection by grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPC) of
polyunsaturated fatty acids against UVC-induced peroxidation. CR. Acad. Sci. III. 1998;
- Zhao, J., et al. “Anti-tumor-promoting activity of a polyphenolic fraction isolated from grape seeds in the mouse skin two-stage initiation-promotion protocol and identification of procyanidin B5-3'-gallate as the most effective antioxidant constituent.” Carcinogenesis. 1999; 20:1737–1745.
- Bagchi, D., et al. “Cellular protection with proanthocyanidins derived from grape seeds.” Ann. NY. Acad. Sci. 2002; 957: 260–270.
- Comhaire, F., et al. “The role of food supplements in the treatment of the infertile man.” Reproductive Biomedicine Online. 2003; 7(4): 385-391.
- Stanslavov, R., et al. “Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L-arginine.” J. Sex Marital Ther. 2003; 29: 207-213.
- Roseff, S. J., et al. Improvement of sperm quality and function with French maritime pine
tree bark extract. J. Reprod. Med. 2002; 47(10): 821-824.
- Packer, L., et al. “Antioxidant activity and biologic properties of a procyanidin-rich extract from pine (Pinus maritima) bark, Pycnogenol.” Free Rad. Biol. Med. 1999; 27(5-6): 704-724.
- Sanabria, G. G. R. “Thesis: Aislamiento y identificacion de un alcaloide del extractro alcoholico de la Jatropha macrantha (Huanarpo macho) con propiedades afrodisiacas.” Universidad Nacional de San Agustin, UNSA, Peru
- Richards, T., et al. “NMR and simulated annealing investigations of bradykinin in presence of polyphenols.” J. Biol. Struct. Dyn. 2001 Feb; 18(4): 627-37.
- Trinity, J., et al. “Endothelial dysfunction in erectile dysfunction: role of the endothelium in erectile physiology and disease.” J. of Andrology. 2003; 24(90060)
- Becker, A. J., et al. “Possible role of bradykinin and angiotensin II in the regulation of penile erection and detumescence.” Urology. 2001c; 57: 193–198.
- Desmarchelier, C., et al. “Total reactive antioxidant potential (TRAP) and total antioxidant reactivity (TAR) of medicinal plants used in Southwest Amazona (Bolivia and Peru).” Int. J. Pharmacog. 1997; 35(4): 288-296.
- Oshima, M., et al. “Effects of Lepidium meyenii Walp and Jatropha macrantha on blood levels of estradiol-17 beta, progesterone, testosterone and the rate of embryo implantation in mice.” J. Vet. Med. Sci. 2003; 65(10): 1145-6.
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Last updated 12-29-2012