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Chuchuhuasi: What is it? | Quick Points | Benefits & Uses | Contraindictions | Traditional Usage | Taxonomy, Common Names | Biochemistry | Dosage, Preparation, Storage

Chuchuhuasi fresh bark

Intro: What is Chuchuhuasi?

Chuchuhuasi is a tree found in western Amazonia. The bark, roots, and leaves are a famous ethnomedicine and used for many traditional purposes.

Chuchuhuasi is most commonly used to treat rheumatism, tuberculosis, bronchitis, stomach ache, and fever, however there are other uses still being discovered by botanists and medical researchers...

Benefits & Uses of Chuchuhuasi:

Among known benefits and uses include:

- Chewing Chuchuhuasi bark is considered by some to be effective in treating diarrhea, arthritis, menstrual irregularities, and upset stomach.

- It is also used as a muscle relaxant, effectively breaking up and dispersing lactic actid. Some say It enhances virility. The bark is extremely bitter which is why it is usually taken as an alcoholic decoction, often mixed with bee honey.

- The herb tends to reflect revitalising and antioxidant activities as well as it enhancing the immunological system. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties are taken advantage of in relieving rheumatic conditions.

- Chuchuhuasi also helps some in their fight against pain due to its analgesic properties. It is an anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, and valuable to some in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, MS and alcoholism.

- Broadly speaking, Chuchuhuasi helps to rejuvenate the system and revitalise the nervous tissue.

- Chuchuhuasi is also used in some countries as an adjuvant in chronic diseases of the nervous system, such as Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis.

Hypersensitivity to the ingredients of the preparation, pregnancy and lactation period.

Traditional Usage:

In Colombia:
The Siona Indians boil (5 cm) of Chuchuhuasi bark in two liters of water until the decoction reduces to half. This extraction is regarded as a stimulant and aphrodisiac.

In the lowland rain forest of eastern Ecuador:

The Quijos Quichua Indians use a decoction of chuchuhuasi for rheumatism, aching muscles, menstrual aches, stomach aches, and general aching.

In Amazonia:
The inhabitants use chuchuhuasi as a stimulant. For the therapeutic purposes affecting the functioning of the nervous system are used root and bark that have been discovered to contain the valuable, pharmacologically active substances.

In Perú:
Chuchuhuasi is prepared by macerating root bark and letting it steep for eight days in aguardiente (sugar cane liquor). The resulting infusion is reputed to be an aphrodisiac.

Taxonomy, Common Names:

Botanical Classifications:
Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Celastraceae
Genus: Maytenus
Species: Maytenus macrocarpa,
M. abenfolia, M. chuchuhuasca,
M. krukovii, M. ilicifolia, others
Common Names (in Amazonia):
Chocha huasha (shipibo-conibo), Chuchasha, Chuchuhuasca, Chuchuwasha, chuchuasi, chucchu huashu


Principal active biochemicals of chuchuhuasi are sesquiterpenes, nocotinyl, triterpenes, maytensine, and alkaloids.

Dosage, Preparation, Storage:

Traditional guidelines for use of chuchuhuasi require it to be taken before breakfast for at least a month to be effective. Drink 250 ml 3 times a day between meals. Do not exceed the prescribed dosage. The preparation cannot substitute a balanced and varied diet.

Instructions for use:
(Use as a dietary supplement.) Boil 1 tablespoon of ground chuchuhuasi in 1 litre of water for 20 minutes. Strain and chill overnight.

Store chuchuhuasi in a dark and dry place at room temperature. Keep out of the reach of children.

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Quick Points

- The bark, root, and leaves of the chuchuhuasi tree are a famous ethnomedicine in western Amazonia.

- In the Amazon jungle, chuchuhuasi is used as a stimulant.


Notes from the Jungle:

Take a walk through the Amazon jungle with native plant healer, Dona Maria...
Dona Maria - Amazonian plant healer
and discover the diversity of the magnificent jungle flora...