Guaco: benefits, remedies and contraindications

Guaco is the term used to talk about plant species Mikania glomerata, Mikania guaco and Mikania laevigata. These are climbing plants, of the liana type, recognized for their white flowers and their woody stem. They usually grow in countries of Central America, although they are also present in South America and Western India. What are its benefits?

In traditional medicine this plant is used in infusions, syrups or baths to calm the symptoms of respiratory and skin diseases. In addition, they are also a supplement to reduce pain and inflammation. However, it is not without contraindications. Do you want to know more about it? We will detail it in the following space.

Benefits of guaco for health

The guaco is also known as "snake grass", "cipó-catinga", "guacoliso", "heart of Jesus" and "guaco de siro". It is a plant widely used in naturopathic medicine, although it is also used in gastronomy to flavor foods, due to its bitter taste.

According to data published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, this herb It stands out for its concentration of phytochemicals such as coumarin, diterpenes, lactones and sesquiterpenes. In addition, it contains organic acids and resins that also give it medicinal properties. What is it for?

Respiratory diseases

In Brazilian herbal medicine, guaco is used to improve the symptoms of respiratory diseases such as bronchitis, flu, colds and asthma. According to popular literature, the plant has bronchodilatory, expectorant, and cough-suppressing qualities.

However, to date there are not enough clinical trials to demonstrate its efficacy. In fact, a study published in PLoS One determined that the recommended dose of guaco syrup does not provide sufficient levels of bronchodilation.

Still, an investigation disclosed in Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology states that the plant has considerable therapeutic anti-inflammatory potential and, because of this, could contribute to the feeling of temporary relief from these diseases.

Although guaco is traditionally used for respiratory diseases, the scientific evidence is not conclusive in this regard.

Also read: 3 remedies with honey to treat the flu naturally


A publication in the Colombian Journal of Rheumatology states that the coumarin and flavonoids in guaco give it anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Therefore, it is believed that It contributes to the relief of the symptoms of the affections of the musculoskeletal system.

Despite this, studies to date do not make clear the safe dose or its level of efficacy. Therefore, it is not considered a first-choice treatment for rheumatism problems.

Skin diseases

One of the guaco species, known as "white guaco," has been studied for its potential to fight some types of skin infections. Specifically, a study shared in Pharmacognosy Research determined that the plant has antidermatophytic and anti-inflammatory activities.

Therefore, the researchers consider that in the future may be a candidate for the development of new drugs for dermatophytosis, better known as tub. Other research in International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences supports these effects and adds that it also has antimicrobial compounds.

Other possible benefits

By tradition, the guaco is attributed a wide variety of other health effects. However, it is essential to consider that they lack evidence and, therefore, it is best not to consider it a treatment. Said supposed benefits are the following:

  • Decrease in gout.
  • Control of bladder infections.
  • Reduction of diarrhea episodes.
  • Decrease in intestinal inflammation.

In ancient medicine this herb was also used as an antidote against snake bites. However, due to the lack of evidence, a remedy for this purpose is not considered today. Given the danger posed by this injury, it must be treated by the doctor.

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How is the guaco used?

Until now, The use of guaco as a medicinal supplement is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Still, there are several plant-based remedies that are used as adjuvants to improve health, especially in cases of flu, cold, joint pain or fungus on the skin. How to prepare them?

Guaco tea

Tea is the most common way to prepare guaco. The drink has been used since ancient times as a natural remedy for decrease coughs, congestion, body aches, and stomach discomfort. However, its consumption should be moderate and only in specific cases.


  • 10 grams of guaco leaves.
  • 1/2 liter of water (500 milliliters).


  • Add the guaco leaves in half a liter of water and let them boil for 10 minutes, over low heat.
  • After this time, strain the drink and let it rest.
  • Consume 2 cups a day.

Guaco tincture

Another remedy obtained from guaco is a natural tincture for topical use. It can be helpful in reducing the itchiness and irritation caused by some ringworms. However, before applying it in its entirety It is convenient to do a small test to confirm that it does not cause allergies or adverse effects.


  • 100 grams of crushed guaco leaves.
  • 300 milliliters of alcohol at 70º.


  • Pour the guaco leaves into a dark jar with the 300 milliliters of alcohol.
  • Put the container in a cool and airy place and let it sit for a couple of weeks.
  • Shake the mixture once a day. Then, when the recommended time has elapsed, strain the product.
  • Use the tincture to put compresses on the affected area.

Science has not found conclusive evidence to recommend guaco definitively for medicinal use.

Guaco syrup

Guaco syrup It is often used to reduce symptoms such as coughing and throat irritation. However, since it contains sugar, its consumption should be moderate. It is not recommended for people with diabetes.


  • 100 grams of guaco leaves.
  • 1 liter of water.
  • 200 grams of sugar.


  • Put the guaco leaves in a liter of water and bring to a boil until the liquid is reduced by half.
  • Then add the sugar and put on low heat.
  • Stir constantly until obtaining the consistency of a syrup.
  • Consume 2 tablespoons a day.


Guaco remedies are contraindicated in people with a history of allergy to the plant. Likewise, it should be avoided by patients with liver diseases or who are under treatment with anticoagulants. Given the lack of evidence on their safety, It is not recommended for children under one year of age or pregnant and lactating women.

What is there to remember about the guaco?

In traditional medicine, guaco has been used for various medicinal purposes, such as the relief of colds and joint pain. Until today, many continue to use the plant and its derivatives for these types of conditions. However, there is not enough evidence to support its safety and efficacy.

Therefore, it is important to use it with caution, without exceeding the recommended daily amount of each remedy. In addition, if you have a serious underlying disease, it is best to avoid its consumption and consult your doctor.