Canchalagua Powder is reputed to be a depurative, antimicrobial, vulnerary,  anti-inflamatory and antimalarialCANCHALAGUA

Family: Asteraceae

Taxon: Schkuhria pinnata (Lam.) Kuntze ex Thell.

Synonyms: Amblyopappus mendocinus Phil., Hopkirkia anthemoides DC., Mieria virgata La Llave, Pectis pinnata Lam., Rothia pinnata (Lam.) Kuntze., Schkuhria wislizenia, Schkuhria wrightii, Schkuhria virgata (La Llave) DC., Schkuhria isopappa Benth., Schkuhria guatemalensis (Rydb.) Standl. & Steyerm., Schkuhria coquimbana Phil., Schkuhria anthemoides (DC.) J.M. Coult., Schkuhria advena Thell., Schkuhria abrotanoides Roth., Tetracarpum guatemalense Rydb.

Common names: akech, anisillo cimarron, azureta, canchalagua, canchalahua, escoba de anisillo, dwarf marigold, dwarf Mexican marigold, escobilla, jayajpichana, kanchalawa, karatataraku putsutiri, khakibush, mata-pulgas, onyalo biro, pinqui-pichana, pinnate false threadleaf, schkuhria, starry skies, tacote, yellow tumbleweed

Price: £22.50 – 1lb / 454 gm Bag

Parts Used: Aerial parts and/or entire plant

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • cleanses blood
  • heals wounds
Aerial parts
  • reduces acne

  • antimalarial










Infusion: 1 cup 3 times daily
  • aids digestion
  • kills mold & fungi
Capsules: 1-2 g twice daily
  • eases nausea
  • reduces inflammation
  • increases urination
  • reduces spasms
  • kills bacteria

Canchalagua is a weedy annual herb that grows to about 70 cm high. It produces numerous small yellow flowers on numerous airy erect stems which grow more woody as it matures. Canchalagua is native to South America and is usually found in drier mountainous regions at around 2000 to 3000 meters in elevation. It is found abundantly in the inter-Andean valleys of Peru. Canchalagua has been introduced into and cultivated in other countries and can be found in Latin America, Mexico, Africa, and even in parts of southern Arizona and Texas where it has escaped cultivation and flourished as an annual weed.


Canchalagua is the Peruvian name given to this plant by the Ketchwa indigenous people of the Andes. They have long used this plant as an effective blood cleanser. Usually the entire plant is uprooted and chopped up and brewed into an infusion (fresh plant) or a decoction (dried plant) for this local remedy. Many types of skin problems, including eczema, dermatitis, and acne, are believed to cause by toxins and partially digested bacteria circulating in the bloodstream, and this canchalagua herbal remedy is used as a natural remedy for those types of skin conditions as well.

In Peruvian herbal medicine systems canchalgua is regarded as an anti-inflammatory, digestive, antitussive (stops coughing), capillary tonic, diuretic, and hypoglycemic. It is employed as an herbal remedy there for kidney, liver, and renal problems, malaria, diabetes, allergies, yeast infections, prostate inflammation, digestive disorders and intestinal gas, rheumatism, and various skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and eczema. When taken internally it is thought to help regulate hormones and skin oil content for juvenile acne and is also used in a topical application for blackheads, pimples and acne. It is also considered a good diuretic and used for various kidney and renal disorders including urinary tract infections and kidney pain. It is also often relied on as a soothing tea to ease nausea and stomachaches, and as a general digestive aid.

In herbal medicine systems in Argentina the plant is considered a natural antibiotic remedy and typically used for urinary tract infections, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, and as an antiseptic wash for wounds. In Kenya, the plant is mostly regarded as a digestive aid and used for various digestive complaints and stomachaches. In several South and Latin American countries canchalagua is dried and reduced to a powder and is used in the house to repel or kill fleas and lice.

The naturalization of canchalagua into North America and its use as a medicinal plant was quite a few years ago—it was included in the Materia Medica of the New Mexican Phamacopeia which was printed in the American Journal of Pharmacy in 1885. There, it was called by it’s Mexican name, anisillo cimmaron, and attributed with antispasmodic actions.


Canchalagua contains germacranolides, heliangolides, sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, and sulfur compounds. The plant’s anti-inflammatory reputation might be attributed to a sesquiterpene found in canchalagua named costunolide which has been documented to inhibit NF-kappaB (a chemical involved in the inflammatory process in the body). Costunolide was also documented to suppress nitric oxide production which is recognized as a mediator and regulator of inflammatory responses. This chemical was also shown in rat studies to lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol levels and to be toxic to certain cancer cells. Canchalgua’s long standing reputation in the United States as an antispasmodic might be related to a chemical called pectolinarigenin which has been reported with antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory actions.

Plant chemicals identified in canchalagua thus far include: chromolaenide, chromolaenolide, costunolides, dithiin, eucannabinolides, germacranolides, heliangolides, hiyodorilactones, loliolide, nerols, pectolinarigenin, santhemoidin A, schkuhrianol, schkuhrins, schkuhripinnatolides, schkurianol, thiarubrine A, thiophene, tridecapentayne, and zaluzanin C.


Canchalagua’s traditional use as an antimicrobial remedy against various infections is beginning to be validated thru various test tube studies. It was shown to be active against several fungus, yeast and mold strains and using the entire plant rather than just the leaves yielded much better activity. Its actions against bacteria has been mixed, but in the tests reported, they were mostly working with just leaves and not the entire plant. The leaf was shown to be active against Bacillus, but inactive against the other bacterial strains it was tested against.

Canchalgua has also been used in several countries as a traditional remedy for malaria. In a laboratory study with rats conducted in 2000, researchers in Bolivia reported that an ethanol extract of the entire plant did evidence antimalarial actions in animals.


By far, the most popular use for canchalgua in Peru is for its blood cleansing effect and as a digestive remedy. It is a highly regarded and respected herbal remedy for these purposes. Since circulating blood toxins are associated in a variety of skin problems, it is commonly relied on for both juvenile and adult acne, dermatitis and eczema. It is taken internally as well as used topically for these common skin issues. When used topically, it is thought to enhance capillary circulation to the skin as well. While canchalagua is well known in Peru, U.S. consumers know very little about this effective medicinal plant. As more natural body and facial care products enter the growing natural skin care market here, look for canchalagua making an appearance as a new ingredient used for natural therapeutic skin products.

Main Preparation Method: infusion or capsulesMain Actions (in order): depurative (blood cleanser), antimicrobial, vulnerary (heals wounds/skin), anti-inflammatory, antimalarial  Main Uses:

  1. as a blood cleanser
  2. used internally and externally for pimples, blackheads, and acne
  3. as a diuretic and antimicrobial for urinary tract problems
  4. for skin problems (eczema, dermatitis, etc.)
  5. for malaria

Properties/Actions Documented by Research: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, antispasmodic, anti-yeastProperties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use: anti-inflammatory, antitussive, capillary tonic, depurative, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, stomachic, styptic, and vulnerary

Cautions: None reported.







Traditional Preparation: When the entire plant is prepared as a natural remedy, typically a decoction method is used. When just the leaves, and/or flowers are used, an infusion method is usually preferred. The decoctions and infusions are used both internally as well as topically for various skin issues. See Traditional Herbal Remedies Preparation Methods page if necessary for definitions.

Contraindications: None reported.

Drug Interactions: None known.

Africa for gastrointestinal problems, malaria, and stomachaches
Argentina as an antibiotic and vulnerary; for diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, and wounds
Bolivia for fleas and malaria
Mexico for digestive complaints
Paraguay as an insecticide
Peru as an anti-inflammatory, antitussive, capillary tonic, depurative, digestive, diuretic, hypoglycemic, styptic and vulnerary; for acne, blackheads, dermatitis, detoxification, diabetes, digestive disorders, eczema, fleas, intestinal gas, kidney problems, kidney inflammation, lice, liver problems, liver stones, malaria, obesity, oily skin, pimples, prostate inflammation, renal problems, rheumatism, stomach problems, stomachaches, urinary tract problems, weight loss, wounds, and yeast infections
U.S. as an antispasmodic

The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor, ND and copyrighted © 2006. 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.

Published Third-Party Research on Canchalagua

All available third-party research on canchalagua can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on canchalagua is shown below: Anti-inflammatory Actions:

Kassuya, C., et al. “Antipyretic and anti-inflammatory properties of the ethanolic extract, dichloromethane fraction and costunolide from Magnolia ovata (Magnoliaceae).” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul; 124(3): 369-76.

Lim, H., et al. “Anti-inflammatory activity of pectolinarigenin and pectolinarin isolated from Cirsium chanroenicum.” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2008; 31(11): 2063-7.

Pae, H., et al. “Costunolide inhibits production of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 by inducing heme oxygenase-1 in RAW264.7 macrophages.” Inflamm. Res. 2007; 56(12): 520-6.

Nam, N. H. “Naturally occurring NF-KappaB inhibitors.” Mini. Rev. Med. Chem. 2006; 6(8): 945-51.

De Marino, S., et al. “New sesquiterpene lactones from Laurus nobilis leaves as inhibitors of nitric oxide production.” Planta Med. 2005; 71(8): 706-10.

Korhonen, R., et al. “Nitric oxide production and signaling in inflammation.” Curr. Drug Targets Inflamm. Allergy. 2005 Aug; 4(4): 471-9.

Antispasmodic Actions:

Weimann, C., et al. “Spasmolytic effects of Baccharis conferta and some of its constituents.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2002; 54(1): 99-104.

Antimicrobial Actions (mold, fungi, yeast, bacteria, mycobacteria):

Wagate, C., et al. “Screening of some Kenyan medicinal plants for antibacterial activity.” Phytother. Res. 2010; 24(1): 150-3.

Luna-Herrera, J., et al. “Synergistic antimycobacterial activities of sesquiterpene lactones from Laurus spp.” J. Antimicrob. Chemother. 2007; 59(3): 548-52.

Quiroga, E. N., et al. “Screening antifungal activities of selected medicinal plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2001; 74(1): 89-96.

Tanaguchi, M., “Screening of East African plants for antimicrobial activity. I.” Chem. Pharm. Bul. 1978: 2910-2913.

Perez, C., et al. “Inhibition of Pseudomonas aeruginosa by Argentinean medicinal plants.” Fitoterapia. 1994; 65(2): 169-172.

Anesini, C., et al. “Screening of plants used in Argentine folk medicine for antimicrobial activity.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1993; 39(2): 119-128.

Johns, T., et al. “Anti-giardial activity of gastrointestinal remedies of the Luo of East Africa.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1995; 46(1): 17-23.

Perez, C., et al. “In vitro antibacterial activity of Argentine folk medicinal plants against Salmonella typhi.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1994; 44(1): 41-46.

Hypoglycemic and Cholesterol Lowering Actions:

Deutschländer, M., et al. “Hypoglycaemic activity of four plant extracts traditionally used in South Africa for diabetes.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jul 30;124(3):619-24.

Eliza, J., et al. “Normo-glycemic and hypolipidemic effect of costunolide isolated from Costus speciosus (Koen ex. Retz.)Sm. in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.” Chem. Biol. Interact. 2009 May; 179(2-3): 329-34.

Cytotoxic & Anticancerous Actions:

Choi, J., et al. “Costunolide-induced apoptosis in human leukemia cells: involvement of c-jun N-terminal kinase activation.” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2009; 32(10): 1803-8.

Kim, S., et al. “Differential enhancement of leukaemia cell differentiation without elevation of intracellular calcium by plant-derived sesquiterpene lactone compounds.” Br. J. Pharmacol. 2008 Nov; 155(6): 814-25.

Robinson, A., et al. “A new sesquiterpene lactone from the roots of Saussurea lappa: structure-anticancer activity study.” Bioorg. Med. Chem. Lett. 2008 Jul; 18(14):4015-7.

Kanno, S., et al. “Costunolide-induced apoptosis is caused by receptor-mediated pathway and inhibition of telomerase activity in NALM-6 cells.” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2008; 31(5): 1024-8.

Choi, J., et al. “Melanogenesis inhibitory compounds from Saussureae Radix.” Arch. Pharm. Res. 2008; 31(3): 294-9.

Liver Protective Actions:

Yoo, Y., et al. “Pectolinarin and Pectolinarigenin of Cirsium setidens Prevent the Hepatic Injury in Rats Caused by D-Galactosamine via an Antioxidant Mechanism.” Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2008; 31(4): 760-4.

Antimalarial Actions:

Muthaura, C., et al. “Antimalarial activity of some plants traditionally used in Meru district of Kenya.” Phytother. Res. 2007; 21(9):860-7.

Munoz, V., et al. “A search for natural bioactive compounds in Bolivia through a multidisciplinary approach. Part III. Evaluation of the antimalarial activity of plants used by Altenos Indians.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2000; 71(1/2): 123-131.

Chemicals Identitified:

Ganzer, U., et al. “Schkuhripinnatolides, unusual sesquiterpene lactones from Schkuhria pinnata.” Phytochemistry. 1990; 29(2): 535-539.

Pacciaroni, A. D. V., et al. “Sesquiterpene lactones from Schkuhria pinnata.” Phytochemistry. 1995; 39(1): 127-131.

Bohlmann, F., et al. “Naturally occurring terpene derivatives. 102. New nerol derivatives and a new class of dihydrocinnamyl alcohol derivates from Schkuhria species.” Phytochemistry. 1977: 780-781.

Bohlmann, F., et al. Naturally occurring terpene derivatives. Part 373. A helangiolide from Schkuhria pinnata.” Phytochemistry. 1981: 2431-2432.

Ingredients: 100% pure canchalagua (Schkuhria pinnata) whole herb (leaves, stem, flowers). No binders, fillers or additives are used. This is a wild harvested plant—grown naturally in Peru without any pesticides or fertilizers.

Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as an infusion (tea): Use one teaspoon of powder for each cup of water. Pour boiling water over herb in cup and allow to steep 10 minutes. Strain tea (or allow settled powder to remain in the bottom of cup) and drink warm. It is traditionally taken in 1 cup dosages, 2-3 times daily. For more complete instrutions on preparing tinctures see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.

Contraindications: None reported

Drug Interactions: None reported.

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