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Family: Siparunaceae, Monimiaceae
Synonyms: Siparuna archeri, S. arianeae, S. camporum, S. cavalcantei, S. discolor, S. duckeana, S. panamensis, S. savanicola
Common Names: picho huayo, fevertree, arbol de la fiebre, asna huayo, caa pitiu, capitiu, capitu, congonja, curuhuinci sacha, curuhuinse sacha, curuinsi sacha, enemi, erva-santa, fedorento, hierba de pasmo, hoja de danta, ira kopi, isula caspi, isula huayo, isula micuna, isla micunan, jara kopi, limao-bravo, moeniridan, muniridan, negramina, tebepau (fever tree), urcugalabili, venere, vinire, wainimi, yariwapna
Parts Used: leaves, fruit
| PICHO HUAYO |
| HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS |
||Decoction: 1 cup 1-3 times daily
||Tincture: 2-3 ml 2-3 times daily
|lowers blood pressure
Picho huayo is a small shrubby tropical tree that is indigenous to most of the Amazon rainforest and up into the mountain cloud forests of the Andes. The Siparuna genus contains least 70 species, distributed from Mexico, Central America and the West Indies throughout northern South America to Paraguay and Argentina. At least 36 species are currently documented in Ecuador alone.
The picho huayo tree is three to five meters in height and produces deeply-veined leathery green leaves which have a distinct lemon-like fragrance. It has small, greenish, inconspicuous flowers that occur in small clusters in the leaf axis on either side of the stem. They develop into reddish, fig-like fruits that are 2-3 cm in diameter. This edible fruit splits open when ripe and reveals 6-8 bright red seeds inside the bright pink to red interior. Once open, the fruits are star-shaped and resemble a flower blossom. The fruit has a distinctive sweet lemon-like fragrance.
TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES
One of the common names used for this Amazon shrub is "fever-tree" because it is widely used in many countries where it grows as a natural remedy for fevers of all kinds. Another widely popular indigenous use is as a love potion, or what Amazonians call a "pusanga." The fruits or crushed leaves are used to rub on the body and many in the Amazon claim that it makes a man all but irresistible to women. Dr. James Duke, noted botanist and ethnobotanist, says his good friend and fellow botanist Alwyn Gentry told him: "I have good empirical success" when trying this particular use of the plant himself. Dr. Duke also notes: "When different ethnic groups as far apart as Mexico and Peru have the same folklore for Siparuna, as an attractant to the human female, I'm reminded of the celestine connection between the Aztecs and the Incas. It warrants scientific investigation. I might even give it a try myself, if the ginseng holds out."
In addition to being used as a love potion, hunters in the Amazon rub the crushed leaves over their bodies to mask their odor from their prey. In the Amazon region of Guyana, the leaves are prepared into a tea and taken for colds, fevers, and high blood pressure. The leaf tincture is highly regarded there to reduce bruises and swellings. The Palikur Indians use the leaves as an anti-inflammatory poultice. The Wayapi Indians in the Amazon take a decoction of leaves and stem bark for colds, flu, and fever. Tikuna Indians eat the fruits for dyspepsia and indigestion. Kubeo Indians use the leaves for snakebite, and make a tea of the fruits to alleviate nasal congestion and colds. The Waorani crush the fruit and leaves to form a pungent mixture that is rubbed on the face and head to treat "fever headache" and an infusion of the leaves is employed as a febrifuge.
In Colombia, a leaf tea is recommended for rheumatism. In Ecuador, the Quichua treat herpes by applying the heated bark to infected areas, while the aromatic leaves are rubbed on the forehead and strongly inhaled to treat headache. Brazilians use a leaf decoction as a carminative and stimulant, while people in Panama use a leaf decoction for colds, intestinal gas and snakebite. The Surinamese use a leaf decoction as sitz bath in childbirth. In other herbal medicine systems in South America picho huayo is described as having fever-reducing, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, hypotensive, insecticidal, pain-killing, and stimulant properties; and employed for colds, cramps, dermatoses, fever, fungal infections, gastritis, headache, mange, rheumatism, snakebite and wounds.
Early phytochemical studies of the Siparuna genus revealed the presence of aporphine, oxoporhine and morphinandienone alkaloids, as well as, cadinane sesquiterpenes and kaempherol glycosides. Both the fruit and the leaves of picho huayo contain a significant amount of essential oils and flavonoids. The main essential oils from leaves of picho huayo are decanoic acid and 2-undecanone; the fruit's main essential oils are 2-undecanone, beta-pinene and limonene.
The phytochemicals documented thus far in the leaves of picho huayo include: (E)-nerolidol, 1-hexanol, 1,1-diethoxyethane, 2-undecanone, 3-hexen-1-ol, acetaldehyde, acetic-acid, alpha-copaene, alpha-caryophyllene, alpha-cubebene, apha-cadinene, atractylone, bergamotenal, bergamotene, beta-caryophyllene, beta-eudesmol, beta-elemene, beta-cadinene, beta-caryophyllene, bicyclogermacrene, bourbonene, cassamedine, curzerene, curzerenone, delta-elemene, delta-cadinene, elemol, epi-alpha-bisabolol, ethyl-acetate, ethyl-methyl-phenol, ethyl-formate, germacrene B, germacrene D, germacrone, hexenyl-acetate, isoelemicin, isogermacrenone, liriodenine, methyl-eugenol, myristicin ocimene-quintoxide, quercetin, safrole, selin-ll-en-4alpha-ol, siparunone, and spathulenol. In addition, the oxoaporphine alkaloids, liriodenine and cassamedine, have been isolated from the trunk wood of picho huayo.
BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH
CURRENT PRACTICAL USES
| PICHO HUAYO PLANT SUMMARY |
Main Actions (in order): |
aphrodisiac, febrifuge, hypotensive, analgesic, antitussive
Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
- as a "pusanga" love potion for men to attract women
- for fevers of all kinds
- as a digestive aid for indigestion and other digestive ailments
- as a general antispasmodic and pain reliever (especially headaches)
- for coughs, colds, flu, and bronchitis
Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
abortifacient, analgesic (pain-reliever), antiedemic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive (stops coughing), aphrodisiac, carminative (expels gas), expectorant, febrifuge (lowers fever), gastric tonic, hypotensive, insecticide, stimulant, stomachic, tonic (tones, balances, strengthens), vasodilator, vermicide, vulnerary
Cautions:Not to be used during pregnancy
Traditional Preparation: The leaves are prepared as a standard infusion or decoction and taken in one cup dosages 2-3 times daily. The leaves are also prepared as an alcohol tincture to use topically on bruises, skin problems, as as a "pusanga" love potion.
Contraindications: Picho huayo has a traditional use as an abortive. It should not be used during pregnancy.
Drug Interactions: None reported.
WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
||as an aphrodisiac and love potion; for bruises, colds, childbirth, cramps, deodorant, dyspepsia, fever, flu, fungal infections, headaches, high blood pressure, indigestion, mycosis, skin infections, snakebite, spasms, rheumatism, wounds|
||as a carminative, diuretic, febrifuge, pectoral, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator; for bronchitis, colic, coughs, dyspepsia, fever, headaches, intestinal gas, laryngitis, menstrual colic, muscle spasms, rheumatism, spasms|
||as a love potion; for fever, headache, snakebite |
||for fever, headaches, herpes, |
||as an abortive, antiedemic, febrifuge and vulnerary; for colds, fever, high blood pressure|
||for fever; as a love potion|
||for colds, fever, intestinal gas, snakebite and as a love potion|
||as an aphrodisiac, love potion and deodorant; for fever, digestive problems, skin fungus|
||for colds, cramps, dermatoses, fever, gastritis, headache, mange, rheumatism, snakebite, wounds, and as a love potion |
The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor, ND and copyrighted © 2005. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.
† The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant
database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not
intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease.
Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.
REFERENCED QUOTES ON PICHO HUAYO
The Green Pharmacy, Dr. James A. Duke:
The Amazing Amazonian Turn-On Shrub
"Some years ago, the tropical shrub the Amazonians call picho huayo came up in a conversation I had with Alwyn Gentry, Ph.D., the late tropical botanist and senior curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis. He said that hunters in the Amazon rub the fruit of this shrub all over themselves in the belief that it prevents their quarry from smelling them. In other words, picho huayo masks their body odor. It's not a true deodorant, however, but just an aromatic mask.
Since that chat, I've asked several Amazonian guides about picho huayo. They use it not only when hunting wild game, they said, but also when courting women. It makes men smell more attractive to the opposite sex, the guides claim.
One noted Amazonian taxonomist (a specialist in classifying plants) swore to me that he had tried it with remarkable success, saying slyly, "I have good empirical evidence that it works." Picho huayo could be a gold mine for some enterprising entrepreneur with a flair for romance.
For those who would like to try picho huayo to attract members of the opposite sex, I'm sorry, but it's not available in the United States--at least not yet."
Tico Ethnobotanical Dictionary:
"SIPARUNA GUIANENSIS Aubl.: Hierba de pasmo (P); Urcugalabili (Cu). This species, a remedy for colic, kills vermin on fowl. The San Blas use it for snakebite and colds . Colombian curanderos use it for headache, often mashed in alcohol and placed over the forehead . La Nueva Negroes drink a leaf infusion for rheumatic pains."
"Siparuna guianensis Aubl. Monimiaceae.
"Isula huayo", "Picho huayo", "Asna huayo". Fruit used in fiestas, the leaf infusion believed aphrodisiac. Leaf decoction used in baths for mycosis. "Créoles" use the leaf tea as an abortive, oxytocic, and antipyretic; the alcoholic leaf maceration as vulnerary, and the salty leaf decoction as hypotensive. "Wayãpi" use the decoction of leaves and bark as a refreshment and antipyretic (GMJ). The tea of the leaves and flowers is used as a carminative, in dyspepsia, and painful spasms (RVM). Don Segundo informed one class that the aroma of this plant, applied to the skin to prevent hunted animals from smelling the hunter (by masking his body odor), was not only effective, but rendered the hunter all but irresistible to females. One of my taxonomic associates claims to have confirmed this empirically (JAD). "Tikuna" eat the fruits for dyspepsia (SAR). Elsewhere considered anodyne, insecticidal and stomachic; used folklorically for colds, colic, cramps, dermatosis, fever, headache, mange, rheumatism, snakebite and wounds (DAW). Tapajos natives make solar tea from the leaves for bathing headache (BDS)."
* The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the
Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant
database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.
© Copyrighted 1996
to present by Leslie Taylor, Milam County, TX 77857.
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Last updated 12-20-2012