Abuta (Cissampelos pareira) vine bark powder Abuta Powder

Cissampelos pareira

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Abuta (Cissampelos pariera) is commonly referred to as the midwives' herb throughout South America because of its long history of use for all types of women's ailments and menstrual problems. For more information about abuta (Cissampelos pareira), please refer to the Database File for Abuta in the Tropical Plant Database.

Traditional Uses:* for menstrual problems (pain, cramps, excessive bleeding, fibroids, endometriosis); as a female tonic (hormonal balancing, menopausal libido loss, hormonal acne, premenstrual syndrome, childbirth); for heart problems (irregular heart beat, high blood pressure, heart tonic); as a general antispasmodic and muscle-relaxer (asthma, stomach cramps, muscle pain/strains, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis); for kidney support (kidney stones, kidney/urinary infections and pain)

Suggested Use: This plant is best prepared as a decoction. Use one teaspoon of abuta powder for each cup of water. Bring to a boil and gently boil in a covered pot for 20 minutes. Allow to cool and settle for 10 minutes and strain warm liquid into a cup (leaving the settled powder in the bottom of the pan). It is traditionally taken in 1 cup dosages, 2-3 times daily. For more complete instrutions on preparing herbal decoctions see the Methods for Preparing Herbal Remedies Page.

  • Abuta has been documented to lower blood pressure in two animal studies; therefore, abuta is probably contraindicated for people with low blood pressure. An alkaloid in abuta, tetrandrine, has been documented to have various actions on heart function in animals and humans. Those with a heart condition or taking heart medications should consult with their doctor before using this plant.
  • Abuta has demonstrated to be a uterine relaxant and traditionally employed as a childbirth aid. A pregnant woman should use it only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Drug Interactions: Based on animal studies, abuta may potentiate heart medications.

Third-Party Published Research*

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

Uterine & Reproductive Actions:
Ganguly, M., et al. "Antifertility activity of the methanolic leaf extract of Cissampelos pareira in female albino mice." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 May; 111(3): 688-91.
Bullough, C., et al. “Herbal medicines used by traditional birth attendants in Malawi.” Trop. Geograph. Med. 1982; 34: 81-85.
Tiwari, K. C., et al. “Folklore information from Assam for family planning and birth control.” Int. J. Crude Drug Res. 1982 Nov; 20(3):133-7.
Feng, P. C., et al. “Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1962; 14: 556–61.
Moreno, M. S. F., et al. “Action of several popular medicaments on the isolated uterus.“ C. R. Seances Soc. Biol. Ses. Fil. 1922; 87:563-564.

Antispasmodic, Anti-inflammatory, & Muscle-Relaxant Actions:
Chen, J., et al. "The relaxation mechanisms of tetrandrine on the rabbit corpus cavernosum tissue in vitro." Nat. Prod. Res. 2009; 23(2): 112-21.
Yuan, J., et al. "Effects of extracts and active components of Rhizoma Coptidis on contraction of circular smooth muscle isolated from guinea pig gastric antrum." Zhong Xi Yi Jie He Xue Bao. 2009; 7(9): 831-5.
Jeong, H., et al. "Berberine suppresses proinflammatory responses through AMPK activation in macrophages." Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2009 Apr; 296(4): E955-64.
Zhang, D., et al. "Tetrandrine ameliorates dextran-sulfate-sodium-induced colitis in mice through inhibition of nuclear factor -kappaB activation." Int. J. Colorectal Dis. 2009; 24(1):5-12.
Choi, B., et al. "The inhibition of inflammatory molecule expression on 3T3-L1 adipocytes by berberine is not mediated by leptin signaling." Nutr. Res. Pract. 2009 Summer; 3(2): 84-8.
Amresh, G., et al. "Antinociceptive and antiarthritic activity of Cissampelos pareira roots." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 May; 111(3): 531-6.
Wu, S. J.," Tetrandrine inhibits proinflammatory cytokines, iNOS and COX-2 expression in human monocytic cells." Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2007 Jan; 30(1): 59-62.
Choi, B. H., et al. "Berberine reduces the expression of adipogenic enzymes and inflammatory molecules of 3T3-L1 adipocyte." Exp. Mol. Med. 2006 Dec; 38(6): 599-605.
Amresh, G., et al. "Evaluation of anti-inflammatory activity of Cissampelos pareira root in rats." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Apr; 110(3): 526-31.
Adesina, S. K. “Studies on some plants used as anticonvulsants in Amerindian and African traditional medicine.” Fitoterapia.1982; 53: 147–62.
Mokkhasmit, M., et al. “Pharmacological evaluation of Thai medicinal plants continued.” J. Med. Ass. Thailand 1971; 54(7): 490–504.
Feng, P. C., et al. “Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1962; 14: 556–61.
Roy, P. K., et al. “A preliminary note on the pharmacological action of the total alkaloids isolated from Cissampelos pareira (false pareira brava).” Indian J. Med. Res. 1952; 40:95.

Diuretic & Anti-Diarrhea Actions:
Cheng, Z., et al. "Berberine against gastrointestinal peptides elevation and mucous secretion in hyperthyroid diarrheic rats." Regul. Pept. 2009 Jun 5; 155(1-3): 145-9.
Gu, L., et al. "The effect of berberine in vitro on tight junctions in human Caco-2 intestinal epithelial cells." Fitoterapia. 2009 Jun; 80(4): 241-8.
Zhang, D., et al. "Tetrandrine ameliorates dextran-sulfate-sodium-induced colitis in mice through inhibition of nuclear factor -kappaB activation." Int. J. Colorectal Dis. 2009; 24(1):5-12.
Watanabe-Fukuda, Y., et al. "Orengedokuto and berberine improve indomethacin-induced small intestinal injury via adenosine." J. Gastroenterol. 2009; 44(5): 380-9.
Amresh, A., et al. “Ethnomedical value of Cissampelos pareira extract in experimentally induced diarrhoea.” Acta Pharm. 2004 Mar; 54(1): 27-35.
Caceres, A., et al. “Diuretic activity of plants used for the treatment of urinary ailments in Guatemala.” J. Ethnopharmacol. 1987; 19(3): 233-45.
Kupchan, S. M., et al. “Menispermaceae alkaloids. I. The alkaloids of Cissampelos pareira and the origin of Radix Pareirae Bravae.” J. Amer. Pharm. Ass. 1960; 49: 727.

Cardiotonic & Hypotensive Actions:
de Lima Assis, A., et al. "Warifteine, a bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloid, induces relaxation by activating potassium channels in vascular myocytes." Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012 Nov 12. doi: 10.1111/1440-1681.12029.
Singh, B., et al. "Effect of Cissampelos pareira root extract on isoproterenol-induced cardiac dysfunction. J Nat Med. 2012 Mar 14.
Chen, L., et al. "Inhibitory effects of tetrandrine on the Na(+) channel of human atrial fibrillation myocardium." Acta Pharmacol. Sin. 2009; 30(2): 166-74.
Wang, Y., et al. "Berberine prevents hyperglycemia-induced endothelial injury and enhances vasodilatation via adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase and endothelial nitric oxide synthase." Cardiovasc. Res. 2009 Jun; 82(3): 484-92.
Holy, E., et al. "Berberine, a natural lipid-lowering drug, exerts prothrombotic effects on vascular cells." J. Mol. Cell. Cardiol. 2009; 46(2): 234-40.
Wu, M. et al. "Advance on study in anti-atherosclerosis mechanism of berberine." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2008 Sep; 33(18): 2013-6.
Zhou, D., et al. "Effects of tetrandrine on Ang II-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and p-ERK1/2 expression." Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007 Sep; 32(18): 1921-4.
Yao, W. X., et al. “Effects of tetrandrine on cardiovascular electrophysiologic properties.” Act. Pharmacol. Sin. 2002; 23(12): 1069-74.
Mokkhasmit, M., et al. “Study on toxicity of Thai medicinal plants.” Dept. Med. Sci. 1971; 12(2/4): 36–65.
Feng, P. C., et al. “Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants.” J. Pharm. Pharmacol. 1962; 14: 556–61.
Mokkhasmit, M., et al. “Pharmacological evaluation of Thai medicinal plants continued.” J. Med. Ass. Thailand 1971; 54(7): 490–504.
Floriani, J. “Pharmacology of Cissampelos pareira var Gardneri.” Rev. Farm. 1936; 78: 49.

Cytotoxic & Anticancerous Actions:
Chen, L., et al. "Reversal of P-gp-mediated multidrug resistance by Bromotetrandrine in vivo is associated with enhanced accumulation of chemotherapeutical drug in tumor tissue." Anticancer Res. 2009; 29(11): 4597-604.
Chen, Y., et al. "Tetrandrine suppresses tumor growth and angiogenesis of gliomas in rats." Int. J. Cancer. 2009 May; 124(10): 2260-9.
Sun, Y., et al., "A systematic review of the anticancer properties of berberine, a natural product from Chinese herbs." Anticancer Drugs. 2009 Oct; 20(9): 757-69.
Wu, J., et al. "Tetrandrine induces apoptosis and growth suppression of colon cancer cells in mice." Cancer Lett. 2009 Jul 6.
Cho, H., et al. "Synergistic effect of ERK inhibition on tetrandrine-induced apoptosis in A549 human lung carcinoma cells." J. Vet. Sci. 2009 Mar; 10(1): 23-8.
Qian, X., et al. "Inhibitory effect of tetrandrine on angiogenesis." Ai. Zheng. 2008; 27(10): 1050-5.
Liu, B., et al. "Anticancer effect of tetrandrine on primary cancer cells isolated from ascites and pleural fluids." Cancer Lett. 2008 Sep 8; 268(1): 166-75.
Issat, T., et al. "Berberine, a natural cholesterol reducing product, exerts antitumor cytostatic/cytotoxic effects independently from the mevalonate pathway." Oncol. Rep. 2006 Dec; 16(6): 1273-6.
Jantova, S., et al. "Berberine induces apoptosis through a mitochondrial/caspase pathway in human promonocytic U937 cells." Toxicol. In Vitro. 2007 Feb;21(1): 25-31.
Bork, P. M., et al. “Sesquiterpene lactone containing Mexican Indian medicinal plants and pure sesquiterpene lactones as potent inhibitors of transcription factor NF-KB.” Febs. Lett. 1997; 402(1): 85–90.
Gessler, M. C., et al. “Tanzanian medicinal plants used traditionally for the treatment of malaria: in vivo antimalarial and in vitro cytotoxic activities.” Phytother. Res. 1995; 9(7): 504–8.
Morita, H., et al. “A novel antileukemic tropoloisoquinoline alkaloid, pareirubrine, from Cissampelos pareira.” Chem. Lett. 1993; 2: 339-342.
Morita, H., et al. “Conformation of tropolone ring in antileukemic tropoloisoquinoline alkaloids.” Pharm. Bull. 1993: 41(8): 1478-80.
Chapuis, J. C., et al. “Screening for cytotoxic activity of plants used in traditional medicine.” Ethnopharmacol. 1988; 23(2/3): 273-284.

Antimicrobial, Antiparasitic, & Antimalarial Actions:
Zhang, H., et al. "Synergistic anti-candidal activity of tetrandrine on ketoconazole: an experimental study." Planta Med. 2010; 76(1): 53-61.
Iwazaki, R., et al. "In vitro antifungal activity of the berberine and its synergism with fluconazole." Antonie. Van. Leeuwenhoek. 2009 Nov 2.
Zhang, H., et al. "Mechanism of action of tetrandrine, a natural inhibitor of Candida albicans drug efflux pumps." Yakugaku Zasshi. 2009; 129(5): 623-30.
Rukunga, G. M., et al. "Anti-plasmodial activity of the extracts of some Kenyan medicinal plants." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Jan; 121(2): 282-5.
Ramirez, I, et al. “Cissampeloflavone, a chalcone-flavone dimer from Cissampelos pareira.” Phytochemistry. 2003 Sep; 64(2): 645-7.
Sanchez Medina, A., et al. “Evaluation of biological activity of crude extracts from plants used in Yucatecan traditional medicine part l. Antioxidant, antimicrobial and beta-glucosidase inhibition activities.” Phytomedicine 2001; 8(2):144-51
Gessler, M. C., et al. “Screening of Tanzanian medicinal plants for antimalarial activity.” Acta. Tropica. 1994; 56(1): 65–77.
Anwer, F., et al. “Studies in medicinal plants 3. Protoberberine alkaloids from the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn.” Experientia. 1968; 15.
Bhatnagar, A. K., et al. “Chemical examination of the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn. V. Structure and stereochemistry of hayatidin.” Experientia. 1967; 15.
George, M. and K. M. Pandalai “Investigations on plant antibiotics. Part IV. Further search for antibiotic substances in Indian medicinal plants.” Indian J. Med. Res. 1949; 37: 169–81.

Neuroprotective Actions:
Kulkarni, S., et al. "Berberine: a plant alkaloid with therapeutic potential for central nervous system disorders." Phytother. Res. 2009 Dec 8.
Ye, M., et al. "Neuropharmacological and pharmacokinetic properties of berberine: a review of recent research." J. Pharm Pharmacol. 2009; 61(7): 831-7.
Zhang, J., et al. "Berberine and total base from rhizoma coptis chinensis attenuate brain injury in an aluminum-induced rat model of neurodegenerative disease." Saudi Med. J. 2009; 30(6): 760-6.
Benaissa, F., et al. "Berberine reduces the hypoxic-ischemic insult in rat pup brain." Acta Physiol. Hung. 2009 Jun; 96(2): 213-20.
Cui, H., et al. "Berberine exerts neuroprotective actions against in vitro ischemia-induced neuronal cell damage in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures: involvement of B-cell lymphoma 2 phosphorylation suppression." Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2009; 32(1): 79-85.
Zhou, X., et al. "Neuroprotective effects of berberine on stroke models in vitro and in vivo." Neurosci. Lett. 2008 Dec 5; 447(1): 31-6.
Asai, M.,"Berberine alters the processing of Alzheimer's amyloid precursor protein to decrease Abeta secretion." Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2007 Jan; 352(2): 498-502.
Zhu, F., et al. "Berberine chloride can ameliorate the spatial memory impairment and increase the expression of interleukin-1beta and inducible nitric oxide synthase in the rat model of Alzheimer's disease." BMC Neurosci. 2006 Dec 1; 7:78.

Liver Protective Actions:
Surendran, S., et al. "In vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective activity of Cissampelos pareira against carbon-tetrachloride induced hepatic damage." Indian J Exp Biol. 2011 Dec;49(12):939-45.
Gong, X., et al. "Tetrandrine attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced fulminant hepatic failure in d-galactosamine-sensitized mice." Int. Immunopharmacol. 2009 Dec 28.
Sun, X., et al. "Berberine inhibits hepatic stellate cell proliferation and prevents experimental liver fibrosis." Biol. Pharm. Bull. 2009; 32(9): 1533-7.
Feng, D. et al. "Tetrandrine protects mice from concanavalin A-induced hepatitis through inhibiting NF-kappaB activation." Immunol. Lett. 2008 Dec 22; 121(2): 127-33.
Ghen, F., et al. "Effects of tetrandrine on ischemia/reperfusion injury in mouse liver." Transplant Proc. 2008 Sep; 40(7): 2163-6.
Hsu, Y. C., et al. "Antifibrotic effects of tetrandrine on hepatic stellate cells and rats with liver fibrosis." J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol. 2007 Jan; 22(1): 99-111.

Anti-Diabetic Actions:
Liu, L., et al. "Berberine modulates insulin signaling transduction in insulin-resistant cells." Mol. Cell Endocrinol. 2009 Dec 30.
Yu, Y., et al. "Modulation of glucagon-like peptide-1 release by berberine: In vivo and in vitro studies." Biochem. Pharmacol. 2009 Nov 27.
Gao, L., "Of berberine and puerarin on dexamethesone-induced insulin resistance in porcine ovarian thecal cells." Zhongguo Zhong. Xi. Yi. Jie. He. Za. Zhi. 2009; 29(7): 623-7.
Zhang, H., et al. "Berberine lowers blood glucose in type 2 diabetes mellitus patients through increasing insulin receptor expression." Metabolism. 2009 Sep 30.
Prabhakar, P., et al. "Synergistic effect of phytochemicals in combination with hypoglycemic drugs on glucose uptake in myotubes." Phytomedicine. 2009; 16(12): 1119-26.
Zhou, J., et al. "Protective effect of berberine on beta cells in streptozotocin- and high-carbohydrate/high-fat diet-induced diabetic rats." Eur. J. Pharmacol. 2009 Mar 15; 606(1-3): 262-8.
Zhang, W., et al. "Anti-diabetic effects of cinnamaldehyde and berberine and their impacts on retinol-binding protein 4 expression in rats with type 2 diabetes mellitus." Chin. Med. J. 2008 Nov 5; 121(21): 2124-8.

Anti-Obesity Actions:
Hu, Y., et al. "Berberine inhibits adipogenesis in high-fat diet-induced obesity mice." Fitoterapia. 2009 Oct 25.
Hwang, J., et al. "AMP-activated protein kinase: a potential target for the diseases prevention by natural occurring polyphenols." N. Biotechnol. 2009 Oct 1; 26(1-2): 17-22.
Hu, Y., et al. "Inhibitory effect and transcriptional impact of berberine and evodiamine on human white preadipocyte differentiation." Fitoterapia. 2009 Sep 30.
Kim, W., et al. "Berberine improves lipid dysregulation in obesity by controlling central and peripheral AMPK activity." Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2009; 296(4): E812-9.
Choi, B. H., et al. "Berberine reduces the expression of adipogenic enzymes and inflammatory molecules of 3T3-L1 adipocyte." Exp. Mol. Med. 2006 Dec; 38(6): 599-605.

Antioxidant & Immunomodulatory Actions:
Bafna, A., et al. "Antioxidant and immunomodulatory activity of the alkaloidal fraction of Cissampelos pareira linn." Sci Pharm. 2010;78(1):21-31. Epub 2009 Dec 19.

Non-Toxic Effect:
Amresh, G., et al. "Toxicological screening of traditional medicine Laghupatha (Cissampelos pareira) in experimental animals." J. Ethnopharmacol. 2008; 116(3): 454-60.

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Last updated 2-11-2013