Guaco is reputed to be a cough suppressant, bronchodilator, expectorant, antimicrobial and an anti inflammatoryGUACO

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Mikania

Species: cordifolia, glomerata, guaco, laevigata

Synonyms: Mikania amara, M. aspera, M. attenuata, M. glomerata, Willoughbya parviflora

Common Names: Guaco, guace, bejuco de finca, cepu, liane Francois, matafinca, vedolin, cipó caatinga, huaco, erva das serpentes, coração de Jesus, erva-de-cobra, guaco-de-cheiro

Price: £22.50 – 1lb / 454 gm Bag
Quantity:  

Part Used: Leaves

From The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs:

GUACO
HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • suppresses coughs
  • reduces fever
Leaves
  • expels phlegm
  • cleanses blood
Infusion: 1/2 cup 3-4
  • dilates bronchials
  • heals wounds
times daily
  • arrests asthma
  • promotes perspiration
Tincture: 3-4 ml three times daily
  • relieves pain
  • increases urination
  • kills bacteria
  • kills protozoas
  • kills yeast
  • reduces inflammation
  • thins blood


Mikania is the largest genus of tropical lianas, representing over 300 species of vines. The common name guaco is quite common; it is used for several species of Mikania vines that look very similar and are used for similar purposes. These include the South American M. guaco species found in Brazil, Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador; M. cordifolia, found throughout South America as well as Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Costa Rica and Panama; M. glomerata, found mostly in Paraguay and Venezuela; and Mikania laevigata, which has only been cataloged in Brazil. All of these guaco plants are thornless, shrubby vines reaching about 2 m in height and sprawling out 2 x 2.5 m wide. They produce wide, bright green, heart-shaped leaves and white-to-yellowish flowers. The leaves when bruised or crushed have a pleasant, spicy scent, reminiscent of pumpkin pie spice; the flowers have a distinctive vanilla smell, especially after a rain.

TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

Mikania cordifolia and M. glomerata are the two plants in Brazil that are used interchangeably and oftentimes with no distinction between the two species; they are just referred to as guaco. Both have a long history of use by rainforest inhabitants. Brazilian Indians have an ancient tradition of using guaco for snake bites; preparing a tea with the leaves and taking it orally as well as applying the leaves or the stem juice (in a hurry) directly onto the snake bite. Other Amazonian rainforest Indian tribes have employed the crushed leaf stem topically on snake bites (as well as drinking the decoction of leaves and/or stem) and have used a leaf infusion as for fevers, stomach discomfort, and for rheumatism. Indigenous people in the Amazon region in Guyana warm the leaves to put on skin eruptions and itchy skin. Several Indian tribes also believe if you crush the fresh aromatic leaves and leave them around your sleeping areas, the spicy scent will drive snakes away. For this reason and because of its long history as a snakebite remedy, it earned the name in herbal medicine systems as “snake-vine” and “snake-herb.”

In 1870, a Brazilian herbal drug called Opodeldo de Guaco was made from the leaf and stem of guaco that was considered a “saint’s remedy” to treat bronchitis, coughs and rheumatism. This “drug” is still a popular home remedy today throughout Brazil for the same purposes but locals prepare it themselves by boiling guaco leaves into a tasty spicy cough syrup. The recipe calls for putting a handful of fresh leaves (or about 2 ounces dried leaves) in 6 cups of water and boiling until it is reduced to 2 cups. Then 3/4 of a cup of sugar is added and it is boiled again for about 20 minutes into a syrup. The mixture is strained to remove the leaves, 3 soup-spoonfuls of honey are added, and the syrup is cooled, bottled and stored in the refrigerator. As a cough syrup, 1 soup-spoon is taken 3 times daily to help quiet coughs (and it is amazingly effective!).

In current herbal medicine systems in Brazil, guaco is well known and well regarded as an effective natural bronchodilator, expectorant and cough suppressant employed for all types of upper respiratory problems including bronchitis, pleurisy, colds and flu, coughs, and asthma; as well as for sore throats, laryngitis, and fever. Guaco is also popular in Brazil as an anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and pain-reliever for rheumatism, arthritis, intestinal inflammation and ulcers. A decoction of the leaves is also employed externally for neuralgia, rheumatic pain, eczema, pruritus, and wounds.

PLANT CHEMICALS

Guaco is a significant source of the natural plant chemical, coumarin (as high as 11% in some guaco plants!). Coumarin is used to produce the most commonly used anticoagulant and blood thinning drug called coumadin. It is such a large source of coumarin, Brazilian research groups are studying the possibility of the commercial cultivation and extraction of coumarin from guaco leaves for pharmaceutical industry use. Guaco also contain 14 novel sesquiterpene chemicals that are called germacranolides. This classification of plant chemicals has yielded some very biologically active antibacterial, insecticidal, anticancerous and antitumorous agents obtained from plants; the actual activities of these novel guaco germacranolides are still being researched. At least three caffeoylquinic acids demonstrating in vitro anti-inflammatory activities and two kaurenic acid chemicals with significant in vitro antibacterial activity have been also been isolated in guaco leaves. The main plant chemicals in guaco include caffeolylquinic acids, cinnamic acid, coumarin, glycosides, kaurenic acids, germacranolides, stigmasterol, tannins, and resins.

BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

Many of guaco’s long-time traditional uses have been validated by scientists. Raul Coimbra wrote the first journal article validating the use of guaco as a bronchodialator and expectorant herbal drug in 1942. In a 1984 Brazilian study, human volunteers were given a guaco leaf tea (M. glomerata) and researchers again reported the strong cough suppessant and bronchodilator effects. Other researchers in Brazil published papers about the brochodilator and anti-inflammatory effects of guaco leaf extracts in 1992; one scientist suggested that these actions could be attributed at least by half to the natural coumarin in the plant. Most recently (in 2002) a Brazilian research group reported that extracts of guaco leaves (M. glomerata), significantly inhibited histamine contractions and evidenced a relaxing effect of the trachea (throat) in guinea pigs (as well as isolated human bronchi in vitro). They summarized their findings by saying: “The results supported the indication of M. glomerata products for the treatment of respiratory diseases where bronchoconstriction is present.”

They also validated yet another indigenous use for snakebites; reporting that guaco significantly reduced swelling, edema, and related vasoconstriction in mice injected with snake venom. Guaco’s in vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory activity had already been reported by three other studies; the most recent study in 2002 reporting an 81% inhibition of inflammation in rats. In other recent research, a crude guaco leaf extract (M. cordifolia) demonstrated antiprotozoal activity in one study and the same species evidenced one of the strongest antiprotozoal activity tested out of 79 plant extracts tested in 2002 (against two protozoa: Trichomonas vaginalis and Trypanosoma cruzi). In other research published in 2002, guaco was reported with in vitro antibacterial and antiyeast actions against candida.

CURRENT PRACTICAL USES

Guaco has long been regarded as a safe herbal remedy in Brazil. Recent toxicity studies with rats (in 2003) confirm that, even in high dosages (3.3 g per kg of body weight for 52 days), it does not have any toxic or anti-fertility effects. While guaco is a widely popular and well known Brazilian herbal remedy with Brazilian research validating much of it’s traditional uses, it is virtually unknown to North American consumers and health practitioners. It is deserving of much more attention here, especially for stubborn upper respiratory conditions, bronchitis, chronic coughs in general, and even the common cold or flu.

GUACO PLANT SUMMARY
Main Preparation Method: fluid extract, syrup, or decoctionMain Actions (in order):
cough suppressant, bronchodilator, expectorant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory Main Uses: 

  1. for upper respiratory problems (coughs, bronchitis, colds/flu, asthma, allergies, etc)
  2. for various internal and external bacterial and protozoal infections
  3. for Candida and yeast infections
  4. for snakebite and insect bites and stings
  5. as an analgesic (pain-reliever) and anti-inflammatory for arthritis, rheumatism, intestinal inflammation, and ulcers

Properties/Actions Documented by Research:
anti-anaphylactic (reduces allergic reactions), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anticandidal, anticoagulant (blood thinner), antihistamine, antiprotozoal, antivenin, bronchodilator, cough suppressant, expectorantOther Properties/Actions Documented by Traditional Use:
analgesic (pain-reliever), anesthetic, anti-asthmatic, anticancerous, antispasmodic, blood cleanser, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), febrifuge (reduces fever), vermifuge (expels worms), wound healer

Cautions: It contains up to 10% coumarin (coumadin), which has a blood thinning effect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional Preparation: In addition to the cough syrup detailed above, the traditional remedy is to take 2 cups of fresh leaves (or ½ cup dried leaves) and infuse them in a liter of water. A half-cup of this infusion is taken 4 times daily for rheumatism, respiratory problems and coughs. A standard tincture is also sometimes employed for the same purposes at dosages of 3-4 ml three times daily. The leaf infusion may also be prepared as above and used as a topical wound healer and pain-reliever (although the fresh leaves are more effective for this purpose than using dried leaves).

Contraindications:

In large dosages (two to three times the traditional remedy above) guaco has been reported to cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Guaco contains a significant amount of coumarin which is the plant chemical coumadin drugs are derived from. Coumarin has an anti-coagulant and blood thinning effect and the use of guaco may demonstrate anticoagulant effects due to the coumarin content. Consult with your physician before taking this plant if you are taking coumadin drugs or if coumadin anticoagulant type drugs are contraindicated for your condition.

Drug Interactions: May potentiate Warfarin® and other coumadin drugs.

WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
Brazil for albuminuria, analgesic, appetite stimulation, arthritis, asthma, blood cleansing, bronchitis, bronchial constriction, cancer, cholera, colds, coughs, fever, gout, infections, influenza, intestinal problems, laryngitis, neuralgia, pain, pleurisy, pruritus, respiratory problems, rheumatism, snakebite, sore throat, syphilis, tonsillitis, wounds, and as an expectorant
Dominican
Republic
for cholera, fever, flu
Guyana for itch, insect bite, snakebite, skin eruptions
Haiti for fever, malaria, syphilis
Mexico for asthma, bites(dog), fever, malaria, menstrual irregularities, rheumatism, scorpion stings, sores, snakebite, spasm, stomach problems, tetanus, worms
Venezuela for fever, snakebite, tumor
Elsewhere for cholera, snakebite

 

The above text has been reprinted 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 Guaco

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

Anti-Allergy, Cough Suppressant, Bronchodilator, & Expectorant Actions:

dos Santos, S. C., et al. “LC characterisation of guaco medicinal extracts, Mikania laevigata and M. glomerata, and their effects on allergic pneumonitis.” Planta Med. 2006 Jun; 72(8): 679-84.

Soares de Moura, R., et al. “Bronchodilator activity of Mikania glomerata Sprengel on human bronchi and guinea-pig trachea.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2002; 54(2): 249-56.

Fierro, I. M., et al. “Studies on the anti-allergic activity of Mikania glomerata.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1999; 66(1): 19-24.

Leite, M. G. R., et al. “Actividade bronchodilatora de Mikania glomerata, Justicia pectoralis e Torresea cearensis.” Simposio de Plantas Medicinais do Brazil. December 1992. Curitiba. Resumos. p. 21.

Oliveira, F., et al. “Caraterizacao cromatograpfica do extracto fluido de Mikania glomerata Sprengel.” Simposio de Plantas Medicinais do Brazil. December 1992. Curitiba. Resumos. p. 96.

Anti-ulcer Actions:

Bighetti, A. E., et al. “Antiulcerogenic activity of a crude hydroalcoholic extract and coumarin isolated from Mikania laevigata Schultz Bip.” Phytomedicine. 2005 Jan; 12(1-2): 72-7.

Paul, R. K., et al. “Antiulcer activity of Mikania cordata.” Fitoterapia. 2000 Dec; 71(6): 701-3.

Mosaddik, M. A., et al. “The anti-ulcerogenic effect of an alkaloidal fraction from Mikania cordata on diclofenac sodium-induced gastrointestinal lesions in rats.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 2000 Sep; 52(9): 1157-62.

Bishayee, A., et al. “Protective effects of Mikania cordata root extract against physical and chemical factors-induced gastric erosions in experimental animals.” Planta Med. 1994 Apr; 60(2): 110-3.

Blood Thinning Actions:

Biavatti, M. W., et al. “Coumarin content and physicochemical profile of Mikania laevigata extracts.” Z. Naturforsch. 2004; 59(3-4): 197-200.

Cabral, L. M., et al. “Development of a profitable procedure for the extraction of 2-H-1- benzopyran-2-one (coumarin) from Mikania glomerata.” Drug. Dev. Ind. Pharm. 2001; 27 (1): 103-6.

Oliveira, F., et al. “Isolation and identification of chemical components of Mikania glomerata Sprengel and Mikania laevigata Schultz Bib ex Baker.” Rev. Rarm. Bioquim. 1984; 20(2): 169-83.

Antivenin Actions:

Maiorano, V. A., et al. “Antiophidian properties of the aqueous extract of Mikania glomerata.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Dec; 102(3): 364-70.

Ruppelt, B. M., et al. “Pharmacological screening of plants recommended by folk medicine as anti-snake venom–I. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 1991; 86 Suppl 2:203-5.

Antimicrobial, Insecticidal & Antiprotozoal Actions:

dos Santos, S. C., et al. “LC characterisation of guaco medicinal extracts, Mikania laevigata and M. glomerata, and their effects on allergic pneumonitis.” Planta Med. 2006 Jun; 72(8): 679-84.

Betoni, J. E., et al. “Synergism between plant extract and antimicrobial drugs used on Staphylococcus aureus diseases.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 2006 Jun; 101(4): 387-90.

Yatsuda, R., et al. “Effects of Mikania genus plants on growth and cell adherence of Mutans streptococci.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005; 97(2): 183-9.

Duarte, M. C., et al. “Anti-Candida activity of Brazilian medicinal plants.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2005; 97(2): 305.

Holetz, F. B. “Screening of some plants used in the Brazilian folk medicine for the treatment of infectious diseases.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 2002 Oct; 97(7): 1027-31

Rungeler, P., et al. “Germacranolides from Mikania guaco.” Phytochemistry 2001; 56(5): 475-89.

Muelas-Serrano, S., “In vitro screening of American plant extracts on Trypanosoma cruzi and Trichomonas vaginalis.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2000; 71(1-2): 101-7.

Rojas de Arias A., et al. “Mutagenicity, insecticidal and trypanocidal activity of some Paraguayan Asteraceae.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1995; 45(1): 35-41.

Davino, S. C., et al. “Antimicrobial activity of kaurenoic acid derivatives substituted on carbon-15.” Braz. J. Med. Biol. Res. 1989; 22(9): 1127-9.

Anti-inflammatory & Pain-Relieving Actions:

Suyenaga, E. S., et al. “Antiinflammatory investigation of some species of Mikania.” Phytother. Res. 2002; 16(6): 519-23.

Ahmed, M., et al. “Analgesic sesquiterpene dilactone from Mikania cordata.” Fitoterapia. 2001 Dec; 72(8): 919-21.

Peluso, G., et al. “Studies on the inhibitory effects of caffeoylquinic acids on monocyte migration and superoxide ion production.” J. Nat. Prod. 1995; 58(5): 639-46.

Leite, M. G. R., et al. “Actividade bronchodilatora de Mikania glomerata, Justicia pectoralis e Torresea cearensis.” Simposio de Plantas Medicinais do Brazil. December 1992. Curitiba. Resumos. p. 21

Oliveira, F., et al. “Caraterizacao cromatograpfica do extracto fluido de Mikania glomerata Sprengel.” Simposio de Plantas Medicinais do Brazil. December 1992. Curitiba. Resumos. p. 96

Ruppelt, B. M., et al. “Pharmacological screening of plants recommended by folk medicine as anti-snake venom–I. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities.” Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. 1991; 86 Suppl 2:203-5.

Antimutagenic (cancer preventative) Actions:

Fernandes, J. B., et al. ”Mutagenic and antimutagenic potential of the medicinal plants M. laevigata and C. xanthocarpa.” Phytother. Res. 2003; 17(3): 269-73.

Bishayee A, “Anticarcinogenic biological response of Mikania cordata: reflections in hepatic biotransformation systems.” Cancer Lett. 1994 Jun; 81(2): 193-200.

Fertility Actions:

Graca, C., et al. “Mikania laevigata syrup does not induce side effects on reproductive system of male Wistar rats.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Nov 12;

Ingredients: 100% pure guaco leaf (Mikania guaco). No binders, fillers or additives are used. 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 1/2 cup amounts, 3-4 times daily. For more complete instructions, see the Preparation of Herbal Remedies article.

Contraindications: Guaco contains a significant amount of coumarin which is the plant chemical coumadin drugs are derived from. Coumarin/coudamin has an anti-coagulant and blood thinning effect and the use of guaco may demonstrate anticoagulant effects due to the coumarin content. Consult with your physician before taking this plant if you are taking coumadin drugs or if coumadin anticoagulant type drugs are contraindicated for your condition.

Drug Interactions: Will potentiate or enhance the effect of Warfarin® and other coumadin drugs.

Other Observations: In large dosages (three times or more the suggested use above) guaco has been reported to cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

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