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CALUMBA
(Jateorhiza palmata)

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  • Family: Menispermaceae
    Genus: Jateorhiza
    Species: palmata
    Synomyns: Jateorhiza columba
    Common Names: Calumba, calumba root, columba, colombo, kalumba, kalumb, jateorhiza, guvercin koku otu
    Parts Used: Root


    CALUMBA
    HERBAL PROPERTIES AND ACTIONS
    Main Actions Other Actions Standard Dosage
  • aids digestion
  • increases bile
  • Root
  • expels gas
  • dries secretions
  • Infusion: 1 cup 3 times daily
  • reduces nausea
  • kills germs
  • Tincture: 1-2 ml twice daily
  • relieves diarrhea
  •    

    Calumba is a tropical climbing vine which produces large fleshy or tuberous roots. It is native to the tropical areas of Eastern and Southern Africa but can now be found cultivated in many tropical regions, including Brazil. The genus, comprising only two species, is also native to the Madagascar rainforest.

    TRIBAL AND HERBAL MEDICINE USES

    The root of this tropical plant is used in traditional medicine systems world wide. It was first recorded in herbal medicine in 1671 when Portuguese traders took the plant from Africa back to Europe. Calumba root has long held a place in herbal medicine as a gentle but very effective digestive bitter. Bitters work on the principal that a bitter taste in the mouth signals the flow of digestive juices and bile to aid or speed up digestion processes. Calumba root appears in the 1922 Eclectic Materia Medica which states: "The least irritating and one of the best of the simple bitters and of especial value in atony of the stomach with poor appetite and feeble digestion. It is especially valuable in convalescence from acute fevers and other disorders in which there is lack of desire for food and poor digestion, with pain or without pain, immediately upon eating."

    In Brazilian herbal medicine systems (where calumba is commonly cultivated as a medicinal plant) the root is used for poor digestion, low stomach acid, diarrhea, gas, and loss of appetite.

    PLANT CHEMICALS

    Calumba root contains 2-3% total alkaloids, chiefly protoberberines (palmatine, jatrorrhizine, columbamine), as well as furanoditerpenoid lactones which attribute to the very bitter taste of the root. Several of these alkaloids have a narcotic effect similar to morphine. Other chemical include: alkaloids, bisjatrorrhizine, chasmanthin, columbamine, columbin, columbin-2,3-epoxide, columbinyl-glucoside, cryptogenin, diosgenin, EO, isojateorinyl-glucoside, jateorine, jateorinyl-glucoside, jateorrhizine, mucilage, palmarin, palmatine, and starch.

    BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

    Researchers in Japan conducted a study in 2002 with rats. They extracted a chemical from calumba root called columbin and fed it to rats in very low dosages. They reported that this compound was able to prevent colon cancer stating: "These results indicate chemopreventive ability of dietary columbin against chemically induced colon tumorigenesis when fed during the initiation phase, providing a scientific basis for chemopreventive ability of columbin against human colon cancer."



    WORLDWIDE ETHNOMEDICAL USES
    Africa for diarrhea, dysentery
    Brazil for diarrhea, poor digestion, dysentery, dyspepsia, nausea, and as a gastrotonic, stomachic, bitter tonic
    Elsewhere for diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, wounds, and as a tonic
    Turkey as an antiseptic, aperitif, gastrotonic, restorative, vermifuge and for dysentery



    The above text has been authored by Leslie Taylor and copyrighted © 2006 to present. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, including websites, without written permission.

    * The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information contained in this plant database file is intended for education, entertainment and information purposes only. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plant described herein is not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database file and web site.




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    Last updated 12-17-2012