<strong>Cha de Bugre is traditionally used for dieting and weightloss, as an  appetite suppressant, a diuretic, stimulant, cardiotonic, and antiviral</strong>CHA DE BUGRE

Family: Boraginaceae

Genus: Cordia

Species: salicifolia

Synonyms: Cordia ecalyculata Vell.

Ethnic names: Chá de bugre, porangaba, cafezinho, café do mato, claraiba, café de bugre, cha de frade, louro-salgueiro, louro-mole, boid d’inde, bois d’ine, coquelicot, grao-do-porco, bugrinho, chá-de-negro-mina, laranjeira-do-mato, rabugem

Price: £22.50 – 1lb / 454 gm Bag [wp_eStore_add_to_cart id=72]

Parts Used: Leaves, Fruit, Bark

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • decreases appetite
  • kills viruses
  • reduces cellulite
  • reduces fever
Infusion: 1 cup 1/2 to
  • increases urination
1 hour before meals
  • supports heart
Tincture: 2-3 ml 2-3 times daily
  • stimulates
Capsules: 2-3 g twice daily

Chá de bugre is a small tree growing 8-12 meters in height with a trunk 30-40 cm in diameter. It is indigenous to Brazil and can be found growing predominately in the Brazilian states of Minas Gerais, Bahia, Acre and Goias. It is also found in tropical forest areas of Argentina and Paraguay. In Brazil, the tree is botanically classified as Cordia salicifolia and in Paraguay the same tree is classified as Cordia ecalyculata. In Brazil, it is commonly called café do mato (coffee of the woods) because it produces a red fruit resembling a coffee bean which is roasted and brewed into tea as a coffee substitute.


Chá de bugre products are highly commercialized as a weight loss aid in Brazil where tea bags, fluid extracts and tinctures of chá de bugre are commonly seen in pharmacies, stores, and even in the beach-front eateries and refreshment stands along Rio de Janeiro’s beaches (where bikinis rule!). It has long been a popular weight loss product which has been marketed as a diuretic, appetite suppressant, and believed to help prevent or reduce fatty deposits and cellulite. Several years ago an enterprising Brazilian company re-launched a chá de bugre weight loss product calling it by its Indian name, porangaba and market demand in Brazil has been fierce ever since. Dr. C.L. Cruz in his book, Dictionary of the Plants Used in Brazil, recommends chá de bugre as an excellent diuretic and weight loss aid as well as a good general heart tonic which can help stimulate circulation. It is also used in Brazil and Haiti as a tea to help relieve coughs, regulate renal function, reduce uric acid and externally to heal wounds.


Despite the popularity of chá de bugre in Brazil very little has been done to analyze the phytochemicals in the plant. At present it is known to contain caffeine, potassium, allantoin and allantoic acid. The red fruits or berries of chá de bugre (resembling a coffee bean) contain caffeine. The allantoin and allantoic acid may explain the traditional use of the plant for wound healing. Main plant chemicals include allantoin, allantoic acid, caffeine, potassium.


Since chá de bugre is a commonly sold and popular natural product already, very little clinical research or interest has been shown to study the plant in Brazil. A Japanese university however has discovered some new uses for chá de bugre. In 1990, they demonstrated that a leaf extract reduced herpes virus penetration by 99% when they pre-treated cells with the extract. In 1994, they demonstrated that the Herpes virus yield was reduced by 33% with as little as 0.25 mcg/ml and also discovered that it had toxic activity against cancer cells (demonstrating a 40% inhibition) utilizing an extract of the branches and leaves. Then in 1997, research with rabbits and guinea pigs validated the traditional use of the plant as a heart tonic when they reported cardiotonic and increased cardiovascular actions using a leaf extract.

CURRENT PRACTICAL APPLICATIONSOne certainly sees less cellulite on Rio’s beaches than most American beaches, however, this phenomenon is probably not attributed to just chá de bugre! Whether it is called chá de bugre or porangaba, it will probably long be sold as a natural weight loss aid in Rio and throughout Brazil. It is a great appetite suppressant – but rather than cutting off appetite all together (then causing intense hunger when it wears off at the wrong time) it gives one a sense of being full and satiated after eating only a few bites of food. This seems to promote much smaller meals, more often, which is what many practitioners believe is better for sustained weight loss and keeping the metabolism going throughout the day. It works best if taken 30 minutes to one hour prior to a meal. Chá de bugre is not widely available in the U.S. market today, but give it some time . . . these types of natural weight loss aids are just as popular (and profitable) here as they are in South America – especially if they work.

Main Preparation Method: infusionMain Actions (in order):
appetite suppressant, diuretic, stimulant, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart), antiviral Main Uses:  

  1. for weight loss (as a appetite suppressant)
  2. as a mild diuretic
  3. for cellulite
  4. to tone, balance, and strengthen heart function
  5. for herpes simplex

Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
anticancerous, antiviral, cardiotonic (tones, balances, strengthens the heart)Other Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
appetite suppressant, cough suppressant, diuretic, febrifuge (reduces fever), stimulant, wound healer

Cautions: It contains naturally occurring caffeine.







Traditional Remedy: One cup of a leaf infusion 2-3 times daily thirty minutes before meals, or 2-3 ml of a 4:1 leaf tincture twice daily. 2 to 3 grams of powdered leaf in tablets or capsules 1-3 times daily can be substituted if desired.

Contraindications: None reported.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

Brazil as a heart tonic, circulatory stimulant, and diuretic; for arthritis, cellulite, circulatory insufficiency, cough, energy, fever, gout, kidney stones, obesity, renal insufficiency, rheumatism, wounds
Haiti as a digestive stimulant, and for obesity
Japan as an antiviral; and for herpes


The above text has been printed from The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor, copyrighted © 2005

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 Chá de Bugre

All available third-party research on chá de bugre can be found at PubMed. A partial listing of the published research on chá de bugre is shown below:

Wound Healing Actions:

Saito, M. L., et al. “Morfodiagnose e identificacao cromatografica em camada delgada de chá de bugre – Cordia ecalyculata Vell.” Rev. Bras. Farm. 1986; 67: 1-16.

Antimicrobial & Cytotoxic Actions:

da Silva, C., et al. “Evaluation of the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects of crude extracts of Cordia ecalyculata and Echinodorus grandiflorus.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Oct 27

Menghini, L., et al. “Phytochemical investigation on leaf extract of Cordia salicifolia Cham.” J. Med. Food. 2008 Mar; 11(1): 193-4.

Hayashi, K., et al. “Antiviral activity of an extract of Cordia salicifolia on herpes simplex virus type 1.” Planta Med. 1990; 56(5): 439-43.

Arisawa, M., et al. “Cell growth inhibition of KB cells by plant extracts.” Natural Medicines 1994; 48(4): 338-347.

Cardiotonic Actions:

Matsunaga, K., et al. “Excitatory and inhibitory effects of Paraguayan medicinal plants Equisetum giganteum, Acanthpspermum australe, Allophylus edlis and Cordia salicifolia on contraction of rabbit aorta and giunea-pig left atrium.” Natural Medicines 1997; 51: 478-481.

Chelating Actions:

Frydman, J., et al. “Assessment of effects of a Cordia salicifolia extract on the radiolabeling of blood constituents and on the morphology of red blood cells.” J. Med. Food. 2008 Dec; 11(4): 767-72.

Chemicals Identified:

de Carvalho, P., et al. “Determination of six pesticides in the medicinal herb Cordia salicifolia by matrix solid-phase dispersion and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.” J. AOAC Int. 2009 Jul-Aug; 92(4): 1184-9.

de Carvalho, P., et al. “Two-dimensional coordination polymer matrix for solid-phase extraction of pesticide residues from plant Cordia salicifolia.” J. Sep. Sci. 2009 Jun; 32(12): 2132-8.

Menghini, L., et al. “Phytochemical investigation on leaf extract of Cordia salicifolia Cham.” J. Med. Food. 2008 Mar; 11(1): 193-4.

Ingredients: 100% pure chá de bugre (Cordia salicifolia) whole herb. No binders, fillers or additives are used. This product is non-irradiated and non-fumigated. It is a wild harvested product—grown naturally in the Brazilian Amazon 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 amounts, ½ to 1 hour before meals. For more complete instructions on preparing herbal infusions see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.

Contraindications: None reported.

Drug Interactions: None reported.

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