Abuta: Benefits, Medicinal Properties, and Side Effects
Abuta is a Medicinal Herb that treats a wide spectrum of conditions. It helps to purify blood and maintain hormone levels in the body. It is commonly known as ‘midwife’s herb’ as it can be used to treat a wide variety of women’s complaints, such as menstrual cramping and minor reproductive tract conditions.
What is Abuta?
Abuta (botanical name: Cissampelospareira) belongs to the family called as Menispermaceae. It is a woody herb with its leaves growing up to 30cm long. It produces grape-sized, dark-colored berries, which are not edible. This plant is found throughout the Amazon rainforest in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, and Colombia, and in the tropical regions of India and Bangladesh.
What are the indications of Abuta?
Some of the documented indications for the use of Abuta include:
- Digestion Problems: Stomach pain, stomach upset, diarrhea, dysentery, constipation and colic. Also, it helps to improve digestion.
- Skin Problems: Wounds, burns, boils, sores, acne, itching, and rash
- Respiratory Tract Problems: Common cold, cough, asthma, and bronchitis
- Urinary Tract Problems: Bladder and kidney infections.
Abuta can also be used as:
- Expectorant to loosen phlegm
- Styptic to control bleeding
- Diuretic to increase the urine outflow
- Aphrodisiac to enhance the sexual desire
Abuta is used in the treatment of cholera, convulsions, chills, high blood pressure, diabetes, malaria, jaundice, rheumatoid arthritis, tooth pain, eye infections, and sexually transmitted infections. In women, Abuta is used to treat menstrual problems, vaginal discharges, and improve fertility.
Medicinal Properties of Abuta
Some of the documented medicinal properties exhibited by Abuta are:
- Analgesic: Helps in providing pain relief
- Antibacterial: Kills and inhibits the growth of bacteria
- Antimalarial: Helps to kill malaria-causing organism
- Antipyretic: Helps to reduce fever
- Antihistamine: Inhibits the production of histamine that triggers allergy symptoms
- Diuretic: Helps in increasing the urine production
- Expectorant: Helps in elimination of phlegm by enhancing liquefaction of the thick sticky mucus(phlegm)
- Hepatoprotective: Protects the liver from toxic substances
- Emmenagogue: Stimulates and promotes menstrual flow
- Anti-inflammatory: Helps in reducing and preventing inflammation
- Antispasmodic: Helps in relieving muscle spasms
- Anticonvulsant: Helps to reduce and prevent convulsions
- Antioxidant: Acts as an agent that protects against the harmful free radical activity
Ethnomedical (Traditional) uses of Abuta in India
The following are the ethnobotanical uses of Abuta in India:
|Entire plant||It is used for snakebite, where the plant is made into a fine paste and applied to the bite. Also, the juice is poured into the ears, nostrils, and naval cavity.||External use|
|Aerial parts(part of plant exposed to air)||The aerial parts of Abuta are used for temporary control of conception||Oral|
|Plant juice||Plant juice of Abuta is used for minor injuries and snakebite. The juice is mixed with egg and jaggery.||Oral for minor injuries and external application for snakebite.|
|Leaf||Used for pimples, boils, cuts, wounds, and burns.||External use|
|Leaves are ground and applied on the forehead for fever and common cold.||External use|
|Also used for coughs, cold, and as a contraceptive medicine.||Oral|
|Leaf juice||The leaves juice of Abuta plant is used to treat sores, abdominal pain, and eye ailments.||External use|
|Leaf + Root||The paste, made out of leaves + root of Abuta, is used to treat toothache.||Oral|
|Root||The root paste of abuta is used to treat fever, sprains, and cure wounds.||External use|
|The roots of abuta plant are used as an antifertility agent, emmenagogue (a substance that stimulates blood flow in the pelvic area), and as a diuretic. Also, they are used to treat heart troubles, dysentery, asthma, and remove intestinal worms.||Hot water extract oral|
|Abuta roots can be used to treat malarial fever, and colic.||Oral|
|The decoction of Abuta roots is used to treat typhoid fever.||Oral (Decoction)|
The Recommended Intake of Abuta
For safety and effective use of Abuta, one must always consult a healthcare provider, as there is no proven dose for Abuta.
In children: There is no sufficient scientific evidence about the use of Abuta in children.
In adults: For menstrual problems, 1 – 2 grams of powdered Abuta bark in the form of tablets or capsules is recommended twice daily.
Side Effects of Abuta
At present, there is no reliable data that proves the safety of Abuta. However, its use in pregnant women is a controversial area as Abuta may possibly have abortion-inducing effects.
One should be careful while using Abuta, as many other plants look similar to that of an Abuta plant. This confusion also lead to the contamination of Abuta based products.
People with any known allergy to Abuta or any component of the formulation should avoid taking Abuta.
Interactions of Abuta with other Medications
Currently, there is no sufficient evidence that describes the drug interactions of Abuta. Most of the times, herbs are not tested for interactions with other supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions are usually based on laboratory experiments, scientific publications, or traditional use of the herb.
Contraindications of Abuta
Abuta is known to lower the blood pressure, hence it is not advisable in people with low blood pressure. It is believed that an alkaloid in Abuta, known as tetrandine can affect several heart functions. Hence, people with a heart disease or those who are taking heart medications should approach a healthcare provider before using Abuta.
1. Is it safe to use Abuta in pregnant and breastfeeding women?
No. Due to the lack of sufficient evidence about the effects of Abuta in these populations, it is better to avoid the use of Abuta during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Moreover, it is believed that Abuta has abortion-inducing effects.
2. What are the other names for Abuta?
Some of the other common names of Abuta are Velvet-leaf (English), Akanadi and Pada (Hindi), Faux pareirabrava (French), Abutua (Brazil), Kinukadjio (African), Butulpoti (Nepali), Oreja de raton (Mexican).
3. Is it safe to take Abuta while having low blood pressure?
If there is any existing chronic medical condition, it is always suggested to seek medical advice before taking Abuta or before starting any new therapy.
4. Which part of the Abuta plant is used for the medicinal purpose?
The roots and leaves of the Abuta plant are used for the medicinal purpose.