Tag Archives: Amazon Basin

Guarana

Botanical Name: Paullinia cupana
Family: Sapindaceae
Genus: Paullinia
Species: P. cupana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Sapindales

Synonyms: Paullinia. Guarana Bread. Brazilian Cocoa. Uabano. Uaranzeiro. Paullinia Sorbilis.

Part Used: Prepared seeds, crushed.

Habitat: Guarana is native to the Amazon basin and especially common in Brazil.

Description:
Guarana is a climbing shrub took the name of its genus from C. F. Paullini, a German medical botanist who died 1712. It has divided compound leaves, flowers yellow panicles, fruit pear shaped, three sided, three-celled capsules, with thin partitions, in each a seed like a small horse-chestnut half enclosed in an aril, flesh coloured and easily separated when dried. The seeds of Guarana are often used or mixed with those of P. Cupana. Guarana is only made by the Guaranis, a tribe of South American Indians..……….click  &  see the pictures

(Note: Marcos Garcia, Embrapa-CPAA, Manaus Amazonas, Brazil, also points out “The origin habitat of Guarana is the Amazon Region. But actually it is cultivated in others locations at Southest of Brazil.” – editor HTML version – A MODERN HERBAL)

After the seeds are shelled and washed they are roasted for six hours, then put into sacks and shaken till their outside shell comes off, they are then pounded into a fine powder and made into a dough with water, and rolled into cylindrical pieces 8 inches long; these are then dried in the sun or over a slow fire, till they became very hard and are then a rough and reddish-brown colour, marbled with the seeds and testa in the mass. They break with an irregular fracture, have little smell, taste astringent, and bitter like chocolate without its oiliness, and in colour like chocolate powder; it swells up and partially dissolves in water.

Guarana features large leaves and clusters of flowers, and is best known for the seeds from its fruit, which are about the size of a coffee bean.

Edible Uses:
As a dietary supplement, guarana is an effective stimulant: its seeds contain about twice the concentration of caffeine found in coffee seeds (about 2–4.5% caffeine in guarana seeds compared to 1–2% for coffee seeds).As with other plants producing caffeine, the high concentration of caffeine is a defensive toxin that repels herbivores from the berry and its seeds.

Guarana is used in sweetened or carbonated soft drinks and energy shots, an ingredient of herbal teas or contained in capsules. Generally, South America obtains most of its caffeine from guarana.

Constituents: A crystallizable principle, called guaranine, identical with caffeine, which exists in the seeds, united with tannic acid, catechutannic acid starch, and a greenish fixed oil.

Medicinal Uses:
Nervine, tonic, slightly narcotic stimulant, aphrodisiac febrifuge. A beverage is made from the guaran sticks, by grating half a tablespoonful into sugar and water and drinking it like tea. The Brazilian miners drink this constantly and believe it to be a preventive of many diseases, as well as a most refreshing beverage. Their habit in travelling is to carry the stick or a lump of it in their pockets, with a palate bone or scale of a large fish with which to grate it. P. Cupana is also a favourite national diet drink, the seeds are mixed with Cassava and water, and left to ferment until almost putrid, and in this state it is the favourite drink of the Orinoco Indians. From the tannin it contains it is useful for mild forms of leucorrhoea, diarrhoea, etc., but its chief use in Europe and America is for headache, especially if of a rheumatic nature. It is a gentle excitant and serviceable where the brain is irritated or depressed by mental exertion, or where there is fatigue or exhaustion from hot weather. It has the same chemical composition as caffeine, theine and cocaine, and the same physiological action. Its benefit is for nervous headache or the distress that accompanies menstruation, or exhaustion following dissipation. It is not recommended for chronic headache or in cases where it is not desirable to increase the temperature, or excite the heart or increase arterial tension. Dysuria often follows its administration. It is used by the Indians for bowel complaints, but is not indicated in cases of constipation or blood pressure.
In the United States, guarana has received the designation of “generally recognized as safe” by the American Food and Drug Administration.

Preliminary research has shown guarana may affect how quickly the body perceives itself to be full. One study showed an average 5 kg (11 lb) weight loss in a group taking a mixture of yerba mate, guarana, and damiana, compared to an average one-pound loss in a placebo group after 45 days. Although inconclusive about specific effects due only to guarana, this study differs from another showing no effect on body weight of a formula containing guarana.

Guarana extract reduced aggregation of rabbit platelets by up to 37 percent below control values and decreased platelet thromboxane formation from arachidonic acid by 78 percent below control values. It is not known if such platelet action has any effect on the risk of heart attack or ischemic stroke.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guarana
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/g/guaran43.html

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Cyperus articulatus

Botanical Name : Cyperus articulatus
Family:    Cyperaceae
Genus:    Cyperus
Species:    C. articulatus
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Poales

Common Names:  Piri Piri, Sedges, Borrachera, Jointed flatsedge and Priprioca,

Habitat :Cyperus articulatus is native to the Amazon basin, where tribes have used it as a medicine for hundreds of years; but it is also known to grow in tropical climates in a number of other countries. Notably,  it grows in the southeastern United States, in the Florida panhandle, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas. It also grows in Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Congo, the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, as well as tropical areas in Asia, northern Australia, and most of the countries in Central and South America. It is still found growing wildly along the Nile River, the Amazon River and the Congo River (Rain Tree Nutrition 2006).It  grows near the edges of lakes, ponds, swamps, rivers, streams, wetlands and other damp soil areas.

Description:
Cyperus articulatus is a tall marsh grass.  This flat sedge grass grows in small clusters and routinely reaches over 6 feet (2 meters) in height. The stems are fibrous, cylindrical, hollow and can be as large as 3/4 of an inch (2 cm) in diameter at the base.The blackish-red, somewhat top-shaped tubers are 3/4 to 1 inch long, 1/2 to 3/4 inch in diameter, sometimes in a series of two or three, connected by an underground stem 1/8 inch in diameter and 1 to 2 inches long. Internally, the tubers are pale in colour, a transverse section showing a central column with darker points indicating vascular bundles. The stem narrows as it grows upward turning into spiked blades of shiny grass, which range in color from bright yellow-green to dark forest green, and can project a purplish inflorescence under the right lighting conditions. During the summer season, the grass produces many tiny white flowers at the top of the stalk, which has been described as being similar to the tiny white flowers produced by wheat grass.

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Medicinal Uses:
Recent studies on the biochemical makeup of Cyperus articulatus or  Piri Piri have shown that this grass contains an abundant amount of active alkaloids. These compounds include: flavonoids, polyphenols, saponins, tannins, and terpenes. Several specific compounds isolated from this tropical grass include alpha-corymbolol, alpha-cyperone, alpha-pinene, carophyllene oxide, corymbolone, cyperotundone, and mustakone. However, the most interesting and promising compounds isolated from this grass are cyperotundone and alpha-cyperone. These latter two compounds are believed to be effective pain relievers, working in the same manner as aspirin and ibuprofen, and may also possess antimalarial properties. A scientific research study published in early 2003 found that an extract made from the roots of the Cyperus articulatus produced compounds that acted as N-methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists; another compound that acts as an NMDA receptor antagonist and has similar, yet much stronger, effects on the brain is  phencyclidine.

Cyperus articulatus has many medicinal uses in both traditional folk remedies and modern medicines. In the early 1980s it was discovered that the rhizomes of Cyperus articulatus produce compounds that are effective anti-convulsants and beneficial in calming epileptic seizures. In traditional indigenous medicine, Piri Piri roots are made into a tea to treat myriad ailments; they used the tea as a digestive aid, to calm nervous anxiety, as a sedative and tranquilizer, and to induce vomiting at higher doses. Women in certain Amazonian tribes add the root to a love potion that they call Pusanga.

The Karipúna-Palikúr Indians of Guiana use Piri Piri to treat the symptoms of malaria, and to help quell nausea. Other uses include: a hair tonic to help fight baldness, a treatment for severe flu symptoms, and relief for headache and migraine pain. However, the most notable and widely reported effects are the sedative and tranquil feelings induce by the rhizome tea. Even today, many lucid dreamers report that they are able to relax, meditate, dream and more easily recall those dreams, as well as being able to achieve lucidity more easily after consuming Cyperus articulatus tea.

Native tribes in Central America have used this grass to relieve the pain caused by sensitive teeth and toothaches. The Shipibo-Conibo Indian tribe from the Peruvian rainforests make a nerve tonic from the roots of the grass, which helps to calm epileptic seizures and psychological imbalances. The Secoya Indians use the roots to make a medicine that they believe cures influenza, relieve anxiety induced stress and to calm frightened children .

In 19th and 20th century America, a drug called Adrue was made from the roots of C. articulatus and sold over the counter as a digestive aid to help relieve morning sickness, nausea, gas, and other digestive problems; at higher doses it was used to sedate anxious patients and as a side effect produced euphoric states and dreamy surreal perception.

Traditional Uses:
Many aboriginal tribes that live in the Amazonian tropical rainforests believe that Cyperus articulatus or Piri Piri grass has magical qualities and have used it to cure disease, heal wounds, relieve pain, and so forth. The Sharanahua Indians, from the Amazon river basin, have used Cyperus articulatus to help pregnant women induce labor, or even force an early term abortion. They also use Cyperus articulatus to reduce high fevers, soothe upset stomachs, and induce sweating, which they believe expels evil spirits and disease. The Shuar shamans use the roots to make a tea which they consume and lulls them into a deep state of relaxation, trance and allows them to communicate with ancestors and the recently deceased; they also use it an additive in their potent Ayahuasca recipes for magical religious ceremonies. This grass is known throughout Central and South America as a Borrachera, a term used to describe many intoxicating, inebriating plants.

Cyperus articulatus is renowned in both modern and ancient societies for its calming, sedating, and tranquilizing effects. When the rhizomes are steeped in warm water and made into a tea, many people report feelings of relaxation, euphoria, lethargy, and profound tranquility. Overwhelming sensations of contentment, torpidity, and vivid waking dreams are also reported. Cyperus articulatus is classified as a dream herb, sedative, and euphorant, and a number of contemporary reports suggest that many people use the tea to improve dream recall and to induce vivid lucid dreams

Other Uses:
It is used by the cosmetic industry, and increasingly as a flavoring for food.

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

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyperus_articulatus

Cyperus articulatus – Piri Piri


http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/adrue011.html

Curare

 

Botanical Name: Chondrodendron tomentosum
Family:Menispermaceae
Genus: Chondrodendron
Species: Tomentosum
Parts Used: Leaf, Root

Synonyms: Pereira Brava. Cissampelos Pareira. Velvet Leaf. Ice Vine.
Parts Used: Dried root, bark, bruised leaves.

Common Names: Curare, Grieswurzel, Pareira Brava, Pareira, Vigne Sauvage,  pareira, uva-da-serra, uva-do-mato, ampihuasca blanca, antinupa, antinoopa, comida de venados, curari, ourari, woorari, worali, velvet leaf

Habitat: Curare is native to   West Indies, Spanish Main Brazil, Peru.  It grows in  Amazon Basin of South America.(In El Salvador and other parts of Central America)

Description:
This deciduous plant will flower in a container just prior to leafing out. The flowers are attractive red “spikes”. Zone 9+ The bright red seeds contain a number of poisonous alkaloids that have a curare-like action.

CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES

Curare grows as a large liana, or vine, found in the canopy of the South American rainforest. The vine may get as thick as 4 inches in diameter at its base. It has large alternate, heart-shaped leaves which may be 4-8 inches long and almost as wide, with a 2-6 inches long petiole. The leaves are smooth on top with a hairy white bottom, and deeply indented veins radiating from the leaf base. Clusters of small (1/16-1/8 inches), greenish-white flowers are made up of separate male and female flowers. The fleshy fruits are oval, narrow at the base, and approximately 1-2 mm long.

Edible Uses:

The fruit of this vine is edible with a bitter-sweet taste.
Some Indians of South America crush and cook the roots and stems, and add other plants and venomous animals, mixing it until it becomes a light syrup. They call this mixture “ampi”, or “curaré”, which they use on the tip of their arrows and darts to hunt wild game. Crude curare is a dark brown or black mass with a sticky to hard consistency and an aromatic, tarry odor. The name comes from Indian word meaning “poison.”

Curare, in large doses, paralyses the motor nerve-endings in striped muscle, and death occurs from respiratory failure. Curare is very bitter, and is actually a common name for various dart poisons originating from South America.

The young flowers and new growth are added to soups and other food preparations as a soporific vegetables.

Curare has differing effects depending upon dosage, whether it is injected into muscle tissue, or ingested. Curare is used internally in tribal medicine for edema, fever, kidney stones and testicular inflammation. It is also known to relax muscles into a state of inactivity.

Under appropriate medical care and attention, curare is also used to relieve spastic paralysis, to treat some mental disorders, and to induce muscle relaxation for setting fractures. Curare is now used extensively in modern medicine. It is only toxic if it enters the bloodstream. Curare is not for sale to the general public.

As with many Amazonian tribal plant history and legend, curare is prepared by old women. In some traditions, the witch doctor has a monopoly of the business, but generally, wise old men get together to brew a batch. Extra curare was usually carried by tribal members in a gourd or calabash, and stored with weapons.

Medicinal Uses:

The active ingredient in “curaré”, D-tubocurarine, is used in medicine. Brazilians consider the root a diuretic, and use it internally in small quantities for madness and dropsy, and externally for bruises. It is also used for edema, fever, and kidney stones.

Curare is an alkaloid, and acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent to produce paralysis in muscles. It first affects the muscles of the toes, ears, and eyes, then those of the neck, arms and legs, and finally, those involved in breathing. In fatal doses, death is caused by respiratory paralysis. Curare must get into the blood system for it to work. It doesn’t hurt to eat something killed by a poisoned curare arrow, for instance.

The therapeutical employment of curare has been suggested in certain severe and obstinate spasmodic affections, as in epilepsy, chorea, hydrophobia, and, more particularly, in tetanus. It is used by subcutaneous injections of its filtered aqueous solution, thus: Add curare 1 grain, to distilled water 24 minims; dissolve, let the solution stand 48 hours, and filter; of this, from 2 minims (1/12 grain) to 6 minims (1/4 grain) may be used at one injection, carefully repeating the injections until relaxation of the muscles has been effected. Curarine, dissolved in water, with a few drops of sulphuric acid added, to facilitate its solution, is to be used in still smaller doses—from the 1/240 to the 1/120 part of a grain. It is doubtful whether this agent will ever come into general use as a medicinal remedy; at least, not so long as other medicines are known in which greater confidence can be placed. The diversity of action, attributable, in some instances, to its difference of composition, in others to its inertness, or to its highly active qualities, render it an uncertain, as well as an unsafe, remedy.

It is used in modern medicine primarily as an auxiliary in general anesthesia, frequently with cyclopropane, especially in abdominal surgery. Upon injection, curare acts as a neuromuscular blocking agent to produce flaccidity in striated (striped) muscle (it competes with acetylcholine at the nerve ending, preventing nerve impulses from activating skeletal, or voluntary, muscles). It first affects the muscles of the toes, ears, and eyes, then those of the neck and limbs, and, finally, those involved in respiration. In fatal doses, death is caused by respiratory paralysis.
Practitioners commonly rely on velvet leaf as an excellent natural remedy for menstrual difficulties, including cramping and pain, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), excessive bleeding, and fibroid tumors. Its ability to curb excessive menstrual bleeding very quickly can be quite remarkable. It is often employed in overall female balancing formulas, in kidney formulas (for its diuretic and smooth-muscle relaxant effects), and, in combination with other plants, in heart tonics and hypertension remedies. It is also considered effective against malaria, fever, hepatic ailments, gastric ulcers, diabetes, anemia, high cholesterol, cerebral tonic, fever, typhoid, stomach ulcers, pain killer, chronic inflammation of the urinary passages, good diuretic, etc. In North American herbal medicine, velvet leaf is used for many of the same conditions as in South America as well as for inflammation of the testicles and minor kidney problems. Pereira root also acts as an antiseptic to the bladder and is therefore employed for the relief of chronic inflammation of the urinary passages. It is also a good diuretic. The decoction of the stems and roots mixed with wild bee honey is used to treat sterile women. Root decoction used for post-menstrual hemorrhages, the alcoholic maceration, for rheumatism. Macerated leaves, bark and root, mixed with rum, are used by as aphrodisiac. Root decoction used as a cardio tonic, anti-anemic, anti-malarial. One tribe use a leaf decoction for fever and another use the decoction of the bark and stem as a dental analgesic. Some Ecuadorian tribes use the leaf decoction for conjunctivitis and snakebite. Others use the root tea for difficult delivery and nervous or weak children with colic. Also used in homeopathy, in the form of a mother tincture.

Abutua is a very useful herb for women’s affections. Its antispasmodic action makes it influential in treating cramps, painful menstruation and pre and post-natal pain. Brazilian Indian women have for centuries valued its analgesic powers, and the satchels of almost all midwives contain the root of this plant. Helpful for menstrual cramps and difficult menstruation, pre- and post-natal pain Aids poor digestion, drowsiness after meals and constipation.

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://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/curare.htm
http://ezinearticles.com/?Rainforest-Plants—Curare&id=1030007
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/146779/curare

http://www.henriettesherbal.com/eclectic/kings/curare.html

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm