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Abuta

( Cissampelos pareira )

 

Family

Menispermaceae

 

Synonyms

Imchich masha, barbasco, palikur, and the root is known as false pareira

 

Character

Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge

 

Description

Abuta is a high-climbing vine with woody stems, grayish bark and rhizomes which grow to several feet in length. The leaves are wide, waxy, heart-shaped structures. Male and female flowers are produced on separate plants and the unripe fruit is a vivid red color that becomes black when ready for consumption. The fruit contains a number of flat seeds. Thirty-five species of abuta live in tropical forested regions of South America and consist of woody lianas, shrubs and small trees.

 

Phytochemistry

Abuta contains alkaloids of several varieties: soprenoid bitter principles, saponins, sterols, and sometimes triterpenes, ethereal oils, polyterpeines, and polyphenols.

 

Note: Tetradine is an isolated compound of abuta that relieves pain and inflammation, and can reduce fever. Root and stem parts are extremely bitter and contain d-tubocurarine and four crystalline tertiary bases. Root components contain isochondodendrine and other alkaloids which have the ability to block neuromuscular activity.

 

Traditional rain forest use

Brazilians used this plant both externally and internally as an antidote for snakebite. Infusions of dried root steeped in boiling water were prepared for fevers and for kidney and bladder infections. This tea was also utilized in cases of jaundice, gonorrhea and rheumatism. Decoctions of abuta root are used throughout the Brazilian Amazon as a tonic and to treat kidney stones and fever. Peruvian tribes used the boiled root to treat anemia. In Ecuador, root tea is given to women during childbirth and to children that are hyperactive or suffering form stomach complaints. the Ketchwas boil abuta leaves and apply them directly to infected eyes.

 

Modern medicinal applications

Current medical practitioners have used tubocurarine chloride to induce muscle paralysis in cases of tetany or strychnine poisoning. In addition, this compound has been used as a muscle relaxant during surgery and in cases of spastic cerebral palsy, myasthenia gravis and poliomyelitis. This particular rain forest botanical has recently experienced heightened demand, so its natural compounds have been synthetically produced as pharmaceutical agents. The plant is not cultivated commercially.

 

Authentication

Extracts of this plant have already been used in medical applications as pharmaceutical products.

 

Safety

Taking large doses of this herb or using it in combination with other drugs may cause respiratory paralysis. It should be used as recommended.

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