Macela

Botanical Name :Achyrocline satureioides
Family : Asteraceae
Genus: Achyrocline
Species :  A.  satureioides
Kingdom :  Plantae
Division :  Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order :  Asterales
Synonyms: Achyrocline candicans, Egletes viscosa, Gnaphalium candicans, G. satureioides
Common Names: Macela, marcela, birabira, marcela-da-mata, hembra marcela, Juan blanco, macela-do-campo, marcela hembra, camomila-nacional, marcelita, mirabira, perpétua do mato suso, viravira, wira-wira, yatey-caa, yerba de chivo.

Habitat :Macela is indigenous to much of tropical South America including Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela,Brazil  including the Amazon Rainforest. It often springs up on disturbed soils and some consider it a weed.

Description:
Macela is aaromatic annual shrub that grows from 0.20 to 0.50 m. tall, is a medicinal plant well branched with leaves linear, alternate, entire, and whitish, having a size of about 5 cm long. It produces small white flowers with yellow centers and serrated green leaves.
The Achyrocline satureioides blooms from spring until mid or late summer. Peripheral flowers of this medicinal plant are female in number of 3-6, filiform, central flowers are hermaphroditic, so tubulosa, 1-2 in number.

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Marcela grows where the climate is mild and usually sandy or rocky soils with little moisture, as this causes the roots to rot.
Part of this medicinal plant used for medicinal purposes are the leaves and flowers of Marcela.
That is why the harvest is done when the Marcela is in bloom. It is usually between late spring and early summer.

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Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used: Aerial Parts, Leaves, Flowers

Properties/Actions:
Analgesic, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-mutagenic, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Antitumorus, Antiviral, Cytotoxic, Digestive, Emmenagogue, Genotoxic, Hypoglycemic, Immunostimulant, Insecticidal, Muscle Relaxant, Sudorific, Vermifuge .

Phytochemicals:
Alnustin, Auricepyrone,6-o-demethyl-23-methyl, Cadinene,delta, Caffeic Acid, Callerianin,caffeoyl, Calleryanin, Caffeoyl, Calleryanin, Protocatechuoyl, Caryatin, Caryophyllene, Caryophyllene Oxide, Caryophyllene,beta, Caryophyllene-1-10-epoxide, Chlorogenic Acid, Cineol,1-8, Coumarin, Flavone,5-8-dihydroxy-3-7-dimethoxy, Flavone,3-5-7-8-tetramethoxy, Flavonoids, Galangin, Galangin-3-methyl Ether, Germacrene D, Gnapahaliin,ISO, Gnaphaliin, Italidipyrone, Lauricepyrone,6-o-demethyl-23-methy, Luteolin, Ocimene,beta, Pinene,alpha, Pyrone,alpha, 6-(4′-hydroxy-trans-s, Tyryl)-4-methoxy, Quercetagetin, Quercetin, Quercetin-3-methyl Ether, Quercetin-3-methyl ether, Scoparol, Scoparone, Tamarixetin, Tamarixetin-7-glucoside

Traditional Remedy:
In Brazil  Macela has been used in natural medicine for many years there. The flowers and/or the dried plant is prepared into a tea with five grams of herb to a liter of boiling water and used for nervous colic, epilepsy, and gastric problems. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and analgesic for gastric disturbances, diarrhea and dysentery, and as a sedative and emmenagogue in herbal medicine and by local people in Brazil. In Argentina, 20 grams of the flowers are infused in a liter of hot water and taken to help regulate menstruation and for asthma. In Uruguay, it is used much the same way; for stomach, digestion and gastrointestinal disorders, as an emmenagogue and menstrual regulator and as a sedative and antispasmodic.

Traditional Preparation:
The therapeutic dosage is reported to be 1-2 g two or three times daily of dried whole herb and/or flowers. One cup of a whole herb infusion 2-3 times daily or 2-3 ml of a 4:1 tincture twice daily can be used.

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Phytochemical analysis of Macela shows that it is a rich source of flavonoids included novel ones never before seen in science. Much of its active properties are attributed to these flavonoids as well as other sequiterpenes and monoterpenes isolated in the plant. Macela has been of recent clinical interest and its uses in natural medicine have been validated by science since the mid 1980’s. In animal studies with mice and rats, Macela demonstrated analgesic, anti-inflammatory and smooth muscle relaxant properties internally (gastrointestinal muscles) and externally without toxicity. This may well explain why Macela has long been used effectively for many types of gastrointestinal difficulties as well as asthma. In vitro studies have demonstrated that Macela is molluscidal, and mutagenic against salmonella and E. coli which could explain it’s uses against dysentery, diarrhea and infections.

Other research on Macela has concentrated on its anti-tumorous, antiviral and immunostimulant properties. It was shown to pass the initial anticrustacean screening test used to predict antitumor activity in 1993. In the mid-1980’s, German researchers extracted the whole dried plant and demonstrated that in humans and mice it showed strong immunostimulant activity by increasing phagocytosis. They isolated a polysccharide fraction in the Macela extract which seemed to be responsible for this effect. Japanese researchers showed that an extract of Macela flowers inhibited the growth of cancer cells by 67% in vitro in the mid-1990’s. In 1996, researchers in Texas found that a hot water extract of dried Macela flowers demonstrated in vitro antiviral properties against T-Lymphoblastoid cells infected with HIV. A US research group as well as a Brazilian group are currently studying Macela’s antioxidant properties.

With its potential anti-HIV properties combined with its immunostimulant actions, Macela could (and should) be the subject of futher AIDS research. Until then, a simple Macela tea is still a highly effective natural remedy for many types of gastrointestinal complaints, especially where inflammation and spasms occur. Many practitioners in South and North America are using Macela in tea or capsules for spastic colon, Crohn’s, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and for a general digestive aid. Although not studied by scientists, many natural health practitioners in South America still use Macela to help regulate menstrual periods as it has been used for many years with reported good results.

Contraindications:
*This plant has been documented with hypoglycemic effects; people with hypoglycemia and/or diabetes should only use this plant under the care and direction of a qualified health care practitioner who can monitor blood glucose levels.

*This plant has a long history of use as a menstrual promoter and regulator and its biological effects during pregnancy have not been studied or reported. While these traditional uses have not been clinically validated, pregnant women should still refrain from using this plant.

*One study demonstrated barbiturate potentiation activity when a hot water extract of macela was injected in mice; it remains unclear if this effect is evident when taken orally. In herbal medicine systems, the plant is used as a sedative. Natural herb capsules, teas or tinctures might potentiate the effects of other sedatives and barbiturates. Use with caution when taking other prescription sedatives and pain-killers.

Known Hazards:: It has a sedative effect and might increase the effects of other sedatives. People with diabetes should use with caution as it has a mild hypoglycemic effect.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:

http://ip.aaas.org/tekindex.nsf/2a9c4e44835b04ea85256a7200577a64/a05a3c356224163585256af0006b4afe/Body/M1?OpenElement
http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macela
http://www.yourmedicinalplants.com/marcela/

http://www.southamericanspecials.com/product_info.php?products_id=81

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