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Taxon: Aspidosperma excelsum Benth.
Synonyms: Macaglia excelsa (Benth.) Kuntze
Common names: avore de carapana, arvore dos mosquitos, canalete, carapanauba, jaroeroe, musara, paddle tree, paddlewood, parihoedoe, porekai, remo caspi, yarula, yaruru, zwart
Parts Used: Root bark
| REMO CASPI |
| HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS |
||lowers blood pressure
||supports erectile function
||Decoction: 1 cup 3 times daily
||Tincture: 2-3 ml twice daily
|expels intestinal gas
Remo caspi is a huge multi-buttressed canopy tree of the Amazon Rainforest. It grows up to 30 meters high and has large above-ground buttress roots. The name "remo caspi" is Spanish for paddle wood and refers to the large buttress roots that are often used to construct canoe paddles since the root wood is lightweight yet highly durable. The tree produces very small white flowers and a very distinctive knobby and woody capsule as a fruit.
Remo caspi can be found throughout the lower elevations of the Amazon basin in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, and Guyana. The Aspidosperma genus comprises approximately 80 species of trees in tropical South America and the West Indies.
TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES
The bark from remo caspi's buttress roots are a very common remedy of the local people throughout the Amazon rainforest for malaria. A decoction of the root bark is usually prepared for malaria and other types of fevers. The stem bark or leaf stems are also chewed on to relieve toothaches by the Ese'eja and Shipibo-Conibo Indians. In addition, the Shipibo-Conibo Indians use remo caspi for hepatitis, to prevent cavities, as well as to treat malaria.
In Brazilian herbal medicine systems, remo caspi is considered a carminative (expels intestinal gas) and a digestive aid. It is also used for bronchitis, inflammation, fevers, diabetes, cancer, and malaria. In herbal medicine in Peru, the root bark is considered an aphrodisiac, vasodilator, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and cicatrizant (causes wounds to scab) and it is used for malaria, high blood pressure and bronchitis.
The main active constituents of remo caspi are a group of indole alkaloids that are called aspidosperma alkaloids. Several of these alkaloids are documented with antimalarial actions which help explain why the tree is so widely used for malaria and malarial fevers in the Amazon. The root bark also contains another well known alkaloid called yohimbine. Yohimbine has been the subject of much research as a vasodilator for the treatment for erectile dysfunction. Remo caspi's traditional uses for high blood pressure and as an aphrodisiac are probably attributed to the yohimbine alkaloids found in the root bark.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
Very little research has been conducted on this rainforest canopy tree. Laboratory testing in vitro reveals that it has antibacterial actions against Staphylococcus and Bacillus but not against several other bacterial and fungal strains they tested. In another laboratory test that is intended to predict antitumor activity, a dichloromethane extract of the root bark was much more active than a methanol extract. Remo caspi has also been documented with antioxidant actions
CURRENT PRACTICAL USES
Besides its widespread use for malaria in the Amazon, even in South America, remo caspi is probably better known for it lumber and construction material value than its medicinal value. The tree is quite popular with the loggers and the lumber industry since it produces a huge quantity of high quality rainforest hardwood timber. While its buttress roots are traditionally turned into wooden paddles by the locals, the rest of this "paddle wood tree" produces valuable lumber for numerous construction uses to the large multi-national logging companies.
As a traditional herbal remedy, remo caspi is a good one for malaria, as well as for sluggish digestion, sluggish sexual performance, and for coughs and bronchitis.
| REMO CASPI PLANT SUMMARY |
Main Preparation Method: tincture or decoction |
Main Actions (in order): antimalarial, stomachic, antiseptic, antitussive, aphrodisiac
Properties/Actions Documented by Research: antibacterial, antimalarial, antioxidant, antiplasmodial, antitumor
- for malaria
- as a cough suppressant for bronchitis and other respiratory conditions
- for digestive difficulties, bloating and gas
- as an aphrodisiac
- for high blood pressure
Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: antimalarial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, carminative, cicatrizant, febrifuge, stomachic
Cautions: None reported.
Traditional Preparation: Remo caspi root bark is traditionally prepared in decoctions, or for longer storage, in tinctures.
See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.
Contraindications: None reported.
Drug Interactions: None reported.
WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
||as an antimicrobial, carminative, and stomachic; for bronchitis, cancer, diabetes, fever, and malaria|
||as an aphrodisiac, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antitussive, cicatrizant and vasodilator; for bronchitis, erectile function, fever, hepatitis, high blood pressure, malaria, toothaches, and wounds|
- Mitaine-Offer, A. C., et al. “Antiplasmodial activity of Aspidosperma indole alkaloids.” Phytomedicine. 2002 Mar; 9(2): 142-5.
- Deutsch, H., et al. “Isolation and biological activity of aspidospermine and quebrachine from an Aspidosperma tree source.” J. Pharma. Biomed. Anal. 1994; 12: 1283-1287.
- Steele, J., et al. “Two novel assays for the detection of haemin-binding properties of antimalarials evaluated with compounds isolated from medicinal plants.” J. Antimicro. Chemo. 2002; 50: 25–31.
- Kernohan, A. F., et al. “An oral yohimbine/L-arginine combination (NMI 861) for the
treatment of male erectile dysfunction: a pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and
interaction study with intravenous nitroglycerine in healthy male subjects.” Br. J. Clin. Pharmacol. 2005; 59(1): 85-93.
- Sharabi, F. M., et al. “Comparative effects of sildenafil, phentolamine, yohimbine and L-arginine on the rabbit corpus cavernosum.” Fundam. Clin. Pharmacol. 2004 Apr; 18(2): 187-94.
- Verpoorte, R., et al. Screening of antimicrobial activity of some plants belonging to the
Apocynaceae and Loganiaceae.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1983; 8(3): 287-302.
- Verpoorte, R., et al. Medicinal plants of Surinam. III. Antimicrobially active alkaloids from Aspidosperma excelsum.” Planta Med. 1983; 48(4): 283-289.
- Desmarcheilier, C., et al. “Studies on the cytotoxicity, antimicrobial and DNA-binding activities of plants used by the Ese'Ejas.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1996; 50(2): 91-96.
- Desmarcheilier, C., et al. “Total Reactive Antioxidant Potential (TRAP) and Total
Antioxidant Reactivity (TAR) of medicinal plants used in Southwest Amazonia (Bolivia and
Peru).” Pharmaceutical Biology 1997 Oct; 35(4): 288-296.
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Last updated 12-28-2012