Harmful Organism Cleansing: The Health Benefits of Anamu

Anamu, or Petiveria alliacea

Brazilians call it anamu, Peruvians call it mucura, the English refer to it as garlic guinea weed. Whatever the name, anamu, or Petiveria alliacea, is native to many parts of South America, Mexico, Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean. Anamu has a strong, garlic-like odor and equally powerful therapeutic properties that have been used by herbal enthusiasts all over the world.

Why is Anamu Beneficial?

Anamu contains tannins and other compounds that have known beneficial qualities. Also found in many berries and fruits, tannins are strong antioxidants that are resistant to swelling and redness. Anamu also contains dibenzyl trisulfide, a unique sulfuric compound that’s exhibited some interesting behavior in the laboratory. [1]

Anamu and Harmful Organisms

Anamu roots and leaves have been used to help the body purge harmful organisms. [2] According to the Department of Chemistry at State University of New York at Albany, anamu root has demonstrated resistance to both bacteria and fungus. [3] Anamu is popular in Argentina for fighting certain viruses. [4] Extracts of anamu leaves and stems have been used as a control agent for cattle ticks. [5]

Other Health Benefits of Anamu

Besides its efficacy against harmful organisms, many cultures have utilized anamu flowers, leaves, and roots to remedy negative health conditions as well as immune system support.

In Brazilian folk medicine, anamu leaves and root may be made into a tea reputed to help reduce fever, lessen muscle spasms, relieve pain, and calm the nerves. [6] In other Amazonian traditional medicine systems, anamu is used to promote detoxification via urine production and resist irritation. [7] Like many other botanicals, anamu has exhibited antioxidant activity which helps fight free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. [8] In animal studies, extracts from anamu leaves and stems have been observed to reduce blood sugar. [9]

Anamu Precautions

If you’re pregnant or trying to become pregnant, it’s best if you avoid anamu. Some studies have shown that it may stimulate uterine contractions which can lead to abortion. [6] Additionally, anamu has a blood thinning effect. If you have blood disorders, you should talk to your healthcare provider before taking the herb or any supplement that lists it as an ingredient.

- Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM

References:

  1. Williams LA, Rosner H, Levy HG, Barton EN. A critical review of the therapeutic potential of dibenzyl trisulphide isolated from Petiveria alliacea L (guinea hen weed, anamu). West Indian Med J. 2007 Jan;56(1):17-21.
  2. Lopes-Martins RA, Pegoraro DH, Woisky R, Penna SC, Sertié JA. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of a crude extract of Petiveria alliacea L. (Phytolaccaceae). Phytomedicine. 2002 Apr;9(3):245-8.
  3. Kubec R, Kim S, Musah RA. The lachrymatory principle of Petiveria alliacea. Phytochemistry. 2003 May;63(1):37-40.
  4. Ruffa MJ, Perusina M, Alfonso V, Wagner ML, Suriano M, Vicente C, Campos R, Cavallaro L. Antiviral activity of Petiveria alliacea against the bovine viral diarrhea virus. Chemotherapy. 2002 Jul;48(3):144-7.
  5. Rosado-Aguilar JA, Aguilar-Caballero A, Rodriguez-Vivas RI, Borges-Argaez R, Garcia-Vazquez Z, Mendez-Gonzalez M. Acaricidal activity of extracts from Petiveria alliacea (Phytolaccaceae) against the cattle tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: ixodidae). Vet Parasitol. 2010 Mar 25;168(3-4):299-303. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.11.022. Epub 2009 Dec 2.
  6. de Lima TC, Morato GS, Takahashi RN. Evaluation of antinociceptive effect of Petiveria alliacea (Guiné) in animals. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz. 1991;86 Suppl 2:153-8.
  7. Duarte MR, Lopes JF. Leaf and stem morphoanatomy of Petiveria alliacea. Fitoterapia. 2005 Dec;76(7-8):599-607. Epub 2005 Oct 19.
  8. Okada Y, Tanaka K, Sato E, Okajima H. Antioxidant activity of the new thiosulfinate derivative, S-benzyl phenylmethanethiosulfinate, from Petiveria alliacea L. Org Biomol Chem. 2008 Mar 21;6(6):1097-102. doi: 10.1039/b715727d. Epub 2008 Feb 18.
  9. Lores RI, Cires Pujol M. Petiveria alleaceae L. (anamú). Study of the hypoglycemic effect. Med Interne. 1990 Oct-Dec;28(4):347-52.

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  • robert roesler

    Thanks for the information. I live in Florida and would like to grow it. Does anyone know how big the plant gets and if it prefers sun or shade?

  • Edward Group

    Hey Robert, thanks for chiming in. I’d recommend checking out LocalHarvest, they’re in your area and may be able to help you get started-

    http://www.localharvest.org/anamu-medicinal-tropical-herb-live-plants-C13454

    -Dr. Edward Group

  • MidEvil Barbie

    Jamaicans call this Guinea Hen Weed and it is suppose to be useful to cancer.

  • jess

    I just found out I had a spell put on me and after reading a book on how to cleans it asking for the leaf of mucura um unsure in where to buy the leaf at and would like to know if anyone knows of somewhere to buy it onlin because I doubt I’ll find it where I live.

  • Maybelle

    I grow this plant and willing to give you a small plant for your use.

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