Anamu: properties and contraindications

In complementary medicine, anamu has been used to reduce inflammation and pain, strengthen the immune system, and fight some chronic diseases. This herbaceous shrub is native to the Amazon rainforest, although it also grows throughout South America, Central America and the United States.

Mucura, apacina, teepee, guine Y guinea hen weed are other names by which the anamú or Petiveria alliacea, by its scientific name. One of the peculiar characteristics of the root and leaves is their strong garlic smell. According to an animal study, it is believed that this plant could improve brain function.

Properties and benefits of anamu

There are several benefits that anamu could bring. The most prominent are the following.

Antioxidant properties

Thanks to its plant compounds, anamu has antioxidant properties. Contains flavonoids, coumarins, triterpenes, and sulfur. These antioxidants have the function of blocking free radicals.

According to a review published in Recent Patents on Inflammation & Allergy Drug Discovery, free radicals are associated with chronic diseases and conditions, heart disease, brain disorders, and diabetes.

Read also: What are antioxidants and what are they for?

Reduction of inflammation and relief of pain

This plant has long been used in a traditional way to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. According to research with mice by Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, the anamu reduces inflammation markers such as interleukin 6, prostaglandin E2, and tumor necrosis factor alpha.

On the other hand, Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology with an analysis in animals found that anamu can significantly relieve pain. In contrast, research with 14 humans with osteoarthritis found that anamu tea is not as effective as other medications. Therefore, take into account that more studies in humans are required to discover if it is effective in this regard.

The analgesic use of anamu is controversial. Some studies corroborate this, but others find no improvement over the usual drugs.

Improved mental performance

An animal study conducted by Journal of Ethnopharmacology postulated that anamu has the potential to improve short- and long-term memory, because the animals showed progress in learning tasks.

For its part, another study in animals confirmed that it improves long-term memory and that it reduces signs of anxiety, although it could not be sure that it strengthens short-term memory. However, research in humans is still needed to corroborate its potential benefits.

Anti-cancer properties?

A test-tube study recorded that anamu contributed to the death of cancer cells in the prostate, breast, lung, colon and pancreas, so it is hypothesized that the extract of this plant could be effective in suppressing the evolution of certain cancers.

This is because it has active ingredients such as flavonoids, fatty acids, coumarins and sulfur. However, more studies are needed in humans and it is impossible to consider it to be a first line of oncological approach.

Other possible benefits

Anamu can have additional benefits such as the following:

Mode of use and contraindications

Anamú is available over the counter and can be purchased in different presentations: powder, tinctures, dried leaves or capsules. Currently, there are not enough data to recommend an exact dose, due to little research in humans.

Despite limited information, some supplement packages recommend 400 to 1,250 milligrams per day. There is no security on the quantities.

An investigation published in Journal of Ethnopharmacology raised that Consuming short term and a small dose could have low toxicity. However, in the long term there would be adverse effects such as confusion, tremors, drowsiness, seizures, and restlessness.

You must bear in mind that anamu supplements are not tested for safetyTherefore, as they are not regulated, each manufacturer could handle different doses than those specified on the product label.

It is recommended to take special care if it is consumed at the same time as you are taking an anticoagulant or a drug for heart conditions. Anamu already contains a small amount of a natural anticoagulant called coumarin.

Anamu contains coumarin, a natural anticoagulant, so heart patients should pay special attention to its use.

Discover: This is how anticoagulants work

Who should not consume it?

Because it is a plant with little research for human consumption, it is recommended to avoid the intake in pregnant women, in periods of lactation and young children. If you are taking medications, you should consult your doctor before trying any presentation of the anamu plant.

What to remember about anamu?

Anamu is a herbaceous shrub characterized by a strong smell of garlic. In traditional medicine it has been used to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, strengthen the immune system, reduce anxiety, and improve mental performance.

Despite the many benefits attributed to it, this plant still needs more research to delve into its properties and possible side effects.