Rainforest tropical plant database, medicinal, plant database, amazon plant database, rainforest database, rain forest,

Rainforest tropical plant database, medicinal, plant database, amazon plant database, rainforest database, rain forest,

By Property
& Action

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Properties & Actions

Scientists, herbalists, health practitioners and researchers refer to the biological or therapeutic properties and actions of medicinal plants using general industry-standard words like anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antibacterial, and so on. These terms are used to describe the actions or properties of the plant that are attributed to it in traditional medicine and herbal medicine systems. Some words, such as antibacterial and antiviral are pretty easy and self-explanatory. Other words, such as vulnerary or vermifuge may be much less familiar to non-professionals. Some of these more technical terms might also have special nuances and meanings. For example; the terms aperient, laxative, purgative, and cathartic all refer to specific actions a laxative-like substance might have on bowel elimination. There are differences however. A plant with an aperient action is used as a very mild or gentle “laxative” (generic term) to increase mucus and water in the intestine to aid in elimination (and which might take a day or two to take effect). On the opposite end of the spectrum; a “laxative” that has a purgative or cathartic action promotes the immediate and complete evacuation of bowel (oftentimes prior to liquefying), acts in a few hours or less, and can sometimes cause intestinal cramping because it also stimulates the smooth muscles in the colon to move things along rather quickly. Therefore, just using the generic and well-known word “laxative” to describe these different properties and actions is not always helpful to the non-professional (especially one sitting in rush hour traffic thinking they’ve taken a “laxative” instead of knowing it was really a purgative!).


This reference guide (as well as the other reference guides in this section) uses the industry-standard technical term that have been attributed to the plants for this reason. While the technical term is used, a definition of each term is provided below as well as the corresponding lay-term that has been used in the main plant section in Section 3.


This reference guide summarizes the properties and actions ascribed to the rainforest plants as documented in this book and by hundreds of third party documents, clinical studies, laboratory experiments and other herbal medicine books. Since many actions and properties can be attributed to the same plant (and many plants can have the same documented action) it can get confusing to the average lay person, and even the professional, as to which plant to turn to first. In an effort to simplify things, the information has been broken down in three ways. In the first line under the definition (shown as “A” below) the top 5 plants are shown which practitioners and herbalists generally turn to first to achieve that particular action and in order of preference. The guide also differentiates whether the actions were recorded through some kind of clinical research/laboratory test (shown as “B” and listed alphabetically), or whether just through its documented use in herbal medicine (shown as “C” and listed alphabetically). Please remember however, when it refers to research in “B” below; it may be just a laboratory experiment, a test tube study, or preliminary animal research and not a human clinical study or a substantial medical trial.


This information has been compiled and provided as a quick reference guide on what has been actually documented on the plants - not to make specific medical claims for them. As always, it is best to refer to the text provided in section 3 for more complete information on each plant’s potential action, property and use, as well as, what actual research supports it. These documented actions however, might help explain why the plant is used in a particular way in herbal medicine systems. For example: a plant used as a heart tonic or for high blood pressure in herbal medicine, might have been documented with a hypotensive action in an animal study. Or, someone with arthritis reading this book might be looking for plants with documented anti-inflammatory actions and this table would guide them to the top five plants in section 3 to read about first by seeing line A under the term anti-inflammatory.



Technical Term

(Lay Term)

Definition of Term

A. Top five plants used for the specific property/action (in order).

B. Plants documented by research (and herbal medicine use).

C. Plants documented by herbal medicine use only.

Abortifacient

(Abortive)

A substance that causes or induces abortions.

A. N/A

B. Anamu, boldo, carqueja, chanca piedra, clavillia, pau d’arco

C. Bitter melon, damiana, epazote, espinheira santa, fedegoso, gervão, manacá, picao preto, scarlet bush, vassourinha

Adaptogen

See Alterative.

ACE Inhibitor

A substance that inhibits angiotensin-converting enzyme (typically resulting in lowered blood pressure).

A. Erva tostão, embauba, mutamba, abuta

B. Abuta, embauba, erva tostão, mutamba

C. N/A

Aldose Reductase Inhibitor

An agent that inhibits aldose reductase—an enzyme that converts glucose into a nerve toxin which results in nerve damage (i.e., diabetic neuropathy & macular degeneration)

A. Chanca piedra, pedra hume caá, chuchuhuasi, annatto

B. Annatto, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, pedra hume caá

C. N/A

Alterative

(Adaptogen)

A substance which restores or balances in some unknown way the normal functions of an organ or system.

A. Suma, cat’s claw, erva tostão, samambaia, sarsaparilla

B. Cat’s claw, erva tostão, samambaia

C. Damiana, guaraná, maca, manacá, muira puama, picao preto, sarsaparilla, suma, tayuya, velvet bean, yerba mate

Amebicide

(Anti-amebic)

An agent used to kill amebas to treat amebic infections.

A. Simarouba, amargo, epazote, erva tostão, guava

B. Amargo, epazote, erva tostão, guava, graviola, quinine, simarouba

C. Bitter melon, carqueja, cashew, gervão

Analgesic

(Pain-reliever)

A substance that relieves or reduces pain. Also referred to as anodyne.

A.   (Internal) Iporuru, tayuya, manacá, vassourinha, mulungu

      (External) Copaiba, andiroba, sangre de grado, kalanchoe, manacá

B.   Abuta, amargo, amor seco, anamu, andiroba, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, catuaba, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, copaiba, embauba, erva tostão, gervão, guacatonga, guaraná, guava, jurubeba, kalanchoe, macela, manacá, muira puama, nettles, passionflower, pau d’arco, scarlet bush, suma, tayuya, vassourinha, velvet bean

C.  Andiroba, boldo, cipó cabeludo, clavo huasca, epazote, espinheira santa, fedegoso, graviola, guaco, iporuru, juazeiro, mullaca, mulungu, quinine, sangre de grado, sarsaparilla, simarouba

Anaphylactic

A substance that causes an allergic reaction.

A. N/A

B. Balsam, Brazil nut, cashew, copaiba

C. N/A

Anesthetic

A substance that decreases nerve sensitivity to pain.

A. Sangre de grado, manacá, guaco, scarlet bush, Brazilian peppertree

B. Brazilian peppertree, chanca piedra, curare, sangre de grado, scarlet bush

C. Copaiba, embauba, guacatonga, guaco, manacá

Anodyne

See Analgesic.

Anti-anaphylactic

(Anti-allergy)

A substance that blocks or reduces an allergic reaction.

A. Amor seco, nettle, kalanchoe, gervão, guaco

B. Amor seco, gervão, guaco, kalanchoe, nettle

C. Erva tostão, pau d’arco, sangre de grado, suma, yerba mate

Antacid

A substance reduces or neutralizes stomach acid.

A. Espinheira santa, guacatonga, carqueja, gervão, jurubeba

B. Carqueja, espinheira santa, gervão, guacatonga, jurubeba

C. Annatto, copaiba, epazote

Anti-allergy

See Anti-anaphylactic.

Anti-amebic

See Amebicide.

Antianxiolytic

(Anti-anxiety)

An agent used to reduce or prevent anxiety.

A. Passion flower, mulungu, tayuya, manacá, damiana

B. Mulungu, passion flower

C. Anamu, catuaba, damiana, graviola, guava, manacá, muira puama, suma, tayuya, velvet bean

Anthelmintic

See Vermifuge.

Antibacterial

A substance that kills or inhibits bacteria.

A. (Internal) Picao preto, mullaca, anamu, Brazilian peppertree, fedegoso

     (External) Copaiba, sangre de grado, mulateiro, anamu, andiroba

B. Abuta, anamu, andiroba, annatto, avenca, balsam, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, cashew, catuaba, chanca piedra, clavillia, copaiba, embauba, erva tostão, fedegoso, graviola, guacatonga, guaco, guaraná, guava, jatoba, juazeiro, kalanchoe, macela, mulateiro, mullaca, mulungu, mutamba, pau d’arco, picao preto, sangre de grado, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush, simarouba, stevia, vassourinha

C. Aveloz, cipó cabeludo, nettle, quinine

Anticandidal

(Anti-yeast)

An agent that inhibits or kills the yeast, Candida albicans.

A. Jatoba, pau d’arco, anamu, Brazilian peppertree, picao preto

B. Anamu, avenca, Brazilian peppertree, clavillia, guaco, guava, jatoba, mulateiro, pau d’arco, picao preto, stevia

C. (Included in B above)

Anticarcinomic

(Anticancerous)

A substance that kills or inhibits carcinomas (any cancer that arises in epithelium/tissue cells).

A. (Internal) Graviola, mullaca, espinheira santa, vassourinha, guacatonga

      (External) Espinheira santa, sangre de grado, graviola, mullaca, copaiba

B. Amargo, anamu, andiroba, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, copaiba, epazote, espinheira santa, graviola, guacatonga, macela, mullaca, mutamba, pau d’arco, sangre de grado, simarouba, suma, vassourinha

C. Aveloz, fedegoso, guaco, jergon sacha, samambaia, sarsaparilla

Anticoagulant

(Blood thinner)

A substance that thins the blood and acts to inhibit blood platelets from sticking together.

A. Guaco, cipó cabeludo, boldo, mullaca, macela

B. Cipó cabeludo, guaco, guaraná, macela, manacá, mullaca, picao preto

C. Anamu, boldo, cat’s claw, pau d’arco

Anticonvulsant

An agent that reduces or prevents convulsions.

A. Erva tostão, amor seco, abuta, mulungu, nettle

B. Abuta, amor seco, erva tostão, graviola, nettle

C. Annatto, anamu, guava, jaborandi, kalanchoe, macela, mulungu, passionflower, tayuya

Antidepressant

A substance meant to oppose depression or sadness.

A. Mulungu, tayuya, passionflower, muira puama, graviola

B. Cat’s claw, graviola, mulungu

C. Brazilian peppertree, damiana, muira puama, passionflower, tayuya, yerba mate

Antidysenteric

An agent used to reduce or treat dysentery and diarrhea.

A. Simarouba, sangre de grado, amargo, guava, cashew

B. Amargo, cashew, gervão, guava, pau d’arco, samambaia, sangre de grado, simarouba

C. Cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, clavillia, scarlet bush

Antifungal

An agent that kills or inhibits the growth of fungi.

A. (Internal) Jatoba, pau d’arco, anamu, fedegoso, picao preto

      (External) Jatoba, copaiba, sangre de grado, mulateiro, pau d’arco

B. Abuta, anamu, Brazilian peppertree, clavillia, copaiba, embauba, fedegoso, graviola, guacatonga, guava, iporuru, jatoba, kalanchoe, mulateiro, mutamba, pau d’arco, picao preto, sangre de grado, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush, stevia, vassourinha

C. Balsam, cashew, quinine

Antihemorrhagic

(Hemostatic)

(Styptic)

An agent which stops or prevents bleeding.

A. (Internal) Abuta, sangre de grado, Brazilian peppertree, erva tostão, picao preto

     (External) Sangre de grado, juazeiro, nettle, mutamba, kalanchoe

B. Abuta, annatto, erva tostão, sangre de grado

C. Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, cashew, embauba, fedegoso, guacatonga, jatoba, juazeiro, mullaca, mutamba, nettle, pedra hume caá, picao preto, simarouba

Antihepatotoxic

(Liver detoxifier)

A substance with protects the liver from toxins, or clears toxins from the liver.

A. Boldo, carqueja, erva tostão, chanca piedra, fedegoso

B. Artichoke, boldo, carqueja, chanca piedra, erva tostão, fedegoso, macela, picao preto, sarsaparilla

C. Amargo, cat’s claw, epazote, mutamba

Antihistamine

An agent used to counteract the effects of histamine production in allergic reactions.

A. Gervão, guaco, nettle, amor seco, kalanchoe

B. Abuta, amor seco, gervão, guaco, kalanchoe, nettle

C. Carqueja, erva tostão, iporuru, pau d’arco

Anti-inflammatory

A substance used to reduce or prevent inflammation.

A. (Internal) Iporuru, guaco, amor seco, tayuya, cat’s claw

     (External) Copaiba, andiroba, scarlet bush, guaco, kalanchoe

B. Abuta, anamu, andiroba, boldo, carqueja, cashew, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, copaiba, embauba, erva tostão, fedegoso, gervão, guacatonga, guaco, iporuru, jatoba, juazeiro, jurubeba, kalanchoe, macela, manacá, mulungu, nettle, passionflower, pau d’arco, picao preto, samambaia, sangre de grado, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush, suma, tayuya, vassourinha, velvet bean, yerba mate

C. Acerola, amargo, amor seco, annatto, bitter melon, chanca piedra, curare, epazote, espinheira santa, jaborandi, jergon sacha, mullaca, mutamba

Antileukemic

A substance that kills or inhibits the growth of leukemia cells.

A. Mullaca, picao preto, vassourinha, simarouba, cipó cabeludo

B. Bitter melon, cat’s claw, cipó cabeludo, espinheira santa, mullaca, pau d’arco, picao preto, simarouba, suma, vassourinha

C. (See B above)

Antilithic

An agent that reduces or suppresses urinary calculi (stones) and acts to dissolve those already present.

A. Chanca piedra, boldo, cipó cabeludo, artichoke, erva tostão

B. Chanca piedra

C. Amargo, artichoke, avenca, boldo, cipó cabeludo, erva tostão, kalanchoe, velvet bean

Antimalarial

An agent used to treat malaria and/or kill the malaria-causing organism, Plasmodium sp.

A. Quinine, simarouba, amargo, vassourinha, epazote

B. Abuta, amargo, andiroba, chanca piedra, epazote, fedegoso, graviola, guava, pau d’arco, picao preto, quinine, simarouba, vassourinha

C. Amor seco, anamu, annatto, damiana, bitter melon, carqueja, gervão, guaco, jatoba, manacá, mullaca, mutamba, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush

Antimicrobial

A substance that destroys or inhibits growth of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms.

(See Antifungal, Antibacterial, Antiviral and Anticandidal)

Antimutagenic

(Cellular protector)

An agent that can reduce, prevent or reverse cells from mutating.(ie, healthy cells mutate to cancer cells)

A. Cat’s claw, chanca piedra, samambaia, fedegoso, boldo

B. Boldo, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, fedegoso, manacá, samambaia

C. Guacatonga, simarouba.

Antioxidant

A substance that protects against free radical activity and lipid peroxidation by preventing oxidation. (Thought to protect body cells from the damaging effects of oxidation.)

A. Cat’s claw, samambaia, gervão, tayuya, fedegoso

B. Abuta, acerola, anamu, annatto, artichoke, boldo, Brazil nut, camu-camu, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, embauba, fedegoso, gervão, guaraná, guava, macela, mulateiro, mutamba, samambaia, sangre de grado, tayuya, yerba mate

C. Avenca, bitter melon, jatoba, pau d’arco, pedra hume caá, sarsaparilla, suma

Antiparasitic

A substance that kills parasites (either internally or externally).

A. Amargo, simarouba, epazote, boldo, fedegoso

B. Amargo, andiroba, balsam, boldo, epazote, fedegoso, graviola, quinine, simarouba

C. Annatto, bitter melon, clavillia, erva tostão, guava, jatoba, macela, mulateiro, nettle, pau d’arco, picao preto, scarlet bush, velvet bean

Antiprotozoal

A substance that kills protozoa. (A large family of disease-causing single cell microscopic organisms.)

A. Amargo, guaco, simarouba, bitter melon, anamu

B. Amargo, anamu, bitter melon, epazote, erva tostão, graviola, guaco, guava, quinine, simarouba

C. Boldo

Antipyretic

See Febrifuge

Antiseptic

A substance that destroys or inhibits germs and disease-causing organisms and is sufficiently nontoxic to cleanse wounds and prevent infections.

A. Mullaca, Brazilian peppertree, picao preto, annatto (leaf), guava (leaf)

B. Balsam, Brazilian peppertree, copaiba, sangre de grado

C. Abuta, andiroba, annatto, boldo, cashew, damiana, embauba, epazote, espinheira santa, fedegoso, guacatonga, guaraná, guava, mullaca, mulungu, nettle, picao preto, quinine, sarsaparilla

Antispasmodic

(Smooth muscle relaxant)

(Muscle-relaxer)

A substance that relieves spasms or inhibits the contraction of smooth muscles.

A. Amor seco, abuta, vassourinha, manacá, mulungu

B. Abuta, amargo, amor seco, annatto, boldo, Brazilian peppertree, chanca piedra, clavillia, curare, embauba, erva tostão, fedegoso, gervão, graviola, guava, kalanchoe, macela, manacá, mullaca, mulungu, mutamba, passionflower, quinine, vassourinha, velvet bean, yerba mate

C. Anamu, chuchuhuasi, damiana, epazote, guaco, iporuru, picao preto

Antitumorous

An agent that kills tumor cells and/or prevents the formation of malignant tumors.

A. (Internal) Graviola, mullaca, espinheira santa, vassourinha, guacatonga

      (External) Espinheira santa, sangre de grado, graviola, mullaca, copaiba

B. Amargo, anamu, andiroba, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, copaiba, epazote, espinheira santa, graviola, guacatonga, iporuru, kalanchoe, macela, mullaca, mutamba, pau d’arco, picao preto, sangre de grado, scarlet bush, simarouba, suma, vassourinha

C. Aveloz, gervão, jergon sacha, jurubeba, manacá

Antitussive

(Cough-suppressant)

A substance that depresses coughing.

A. Guaco, embauba, amor seco, passionflower, guava

B. Guaco, guava, passionflower

C. Abuta, amor seco, annatto, avenca, balsam, bitter melon, cashew, copaiba, damiana, embauba, espinheira santa, gervão, iporuru, jatoba, jergon sacha, juazeiro, kalanchoe, macela, mutamba, picao preto, vassourinha, velvet bean

Antiulcerogenic

Antiulcerous

(Anti-ulcer)

An agent used to protect against the formation of ulcers, or is used for the treatment of ulcers.

A. (Internal peptic) Gervão, carqueja, espinheira santa, guacatonga, cat’s claw

    (Internal H. pylori) Carqueja, guacatonga, bitter melon, balsam, pau d’arco

    (External) Copaiba, gervão, kalanchoe, juazeiro, picao preto

B. Abuta, amargo, balsam, carqueja, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, copaiba, espinheira santa, gervão, guacatonga, jurubeba, kalanchoe, muira puama, picao preto

C. Andiroba, bitter melon, epazote, guava, juazeiro, mutamba, pau d’arco, tayuya

Antivenin

An agent used against the venom of a snake, spider, or other venomous animal or insect.

A. Jergon sacha, guaco, guacatonga, picao preto, tayuya

B. Annatto, guacatonga, guaco, picao preto, velvet bean

C. Abuta, amargo, anamu, curare, embauba, erva tostão, jergon sacha, manacá, pata de vaca, pau d’arco, tayuya, vassourinha

Antiviral

A substance that destroys or inhibits the growth and viability of infectious viruses.

A. (Internal) Jergon sacha, mullaca, anamu, chanca piedra, bitter melon

     (External) Sangre de grado, bitter melon, carqueja, clavillia, vassourinha

B. Amargo, anamu, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, cat’s claw, catuaba, cha de bugre, chanca piedra, clavillia, erva tostão, iporuru, kalanchoe, macela, mullaca, mutamba, pau d’arco, picão preto, sangre de grado, simarouba, stevia, vassourinha

C. Andiroba, aveloz, avenca, copaiba, embauba, fedegoso, graviola, guacatonga, jergon sacha

Aperient

(Mild laxative)

 A substance that acts as a mild laxative by increasing fluids in the bowel.

A. Carqueja, fedegoso, nettle, erva tostão, samambaia

B. Fedegoso

C. Amargo, annatto, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, curare, damiana, erva tostão, guava, jurubeba, nettle, samambaia

Aphrodisiac

An agent that increases sexual activity and libido and/or improves sexual performance.

A. (Male) Muira puama, catuaba, damiana, velvet bean, clavo huasca

     (Female) Clavo huasca, abuta, catuaba, suma, passionflower

B. Damiana, muira puama, passionflower, suma, velvet bean

C. Abuta, annatto, bitter melon, cashew, catuaba, chuchuhuasi, clavo huasca, guaraná, iporuru, maca, sarsaparilla

Appetite Stimulant

A substance use to increase or stimulate the appetite.

A. Quinine, bitter melon, jatoba, amargo, boldo

B. Quinine, amargo

C. Amargo, avenca, boldo, bitter melon, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, clavo huasca, erva tostão, guaco, jatoba, muira puama, samambaia, suma

Appetite Suppressant

A substance use to suppress the appetite and/or satiate the feelings of hunger.

A. Cha de bugre, guaraná, damiana, yerba mate

B. Damiana, guaraná

C. Cha de bugre, yerba mate

Astringent

A substance that contracts blood vessels and certain body tissues (such as mucous membranes) with the effect of reducing secretion and excretion of fluids and/or has a drying effect.

A. Mutamba, pau d’arco, jatoba, Brazilian peppertree, guaraná

B. Cashew, mulateiro

C. Acerola, amargo, andiroba, annatto, artichoke, avenca, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, camu-camu, cat’s claw, copaiba, damiana, embauba, espinheira santa, graviola, guacatonga, guaraná, guava, jatoba, juazeiro, macela, muira puama, mutamba, nettle, passionflower, pata de vaca, pau d’arco, pedra hume caá, picao preto, quinine, simarouba

Bile Stimulant

See Chologogue and Choleretic

Bitter

 Having a taste that is sharp, acrid, and unpleasant - thought to stimulate the flow of digestive juices and bile to aid in digestion.

A. Amargo, quinine, carqueja, simarouba, artichoke

B. Amargo, andiroba, artichoke, quinine

C. Bitter melon, boldo, carqueja, damiana, macela, picao preto, simarouba, tayuya

Bronchodilator

 An agent that dilates or relaxes bronchial muscles.

A. Amor seco, guaco, embauba, gervão, balsam

B. Amor seco, gervão, guaco

C. Avenca, balsam, embauba, guaraná, manacá, velvet bean, yerba mate

Blood Cleanser

See Depurative.

Blood Thinner

See Anticoagulant.

Cardiodepressant

An agent that decreases contraction force of the heart and/or lowers heart rate.

 A. Graviola, mutamba, guava, nettle, jaborandi

B. Graviola, guava, mutamba, nettle

C. Jaborandi, manacá

Cardiotonic

(Heart Tonic)

 Something which strengthens, tones, or regulates heart functions without overt stimulation or depression

A. Embauba, Brazilian peppertree, erva tostão, picao preto, vassourinha

B. Cha de bugre, embauba, guava, jurubeba, picao preto, quinine, stevia, vassourinha

C. Abuta, acerola, annatto, artichoke, avenca, Brazilian peppertree, cat’s claw, erva tostão, graviola, guaraná, juazeiro, macela, muira puama, mulungu, mutamba, passionflower, pau d’arco, pedra hume caá, yerba mate

Carminative

 An agent used to prevent or expel gas from the stomach and intestines.

A. Jurubeba, epazote, bitter melon, carqueja, espinheira santa

B. Copaiba

C. Bitter melon, boldo, carqueja, chanca piedra, clavillia, clavo huasca, epazote, erva tostão, espinheira santa, guaraná,, jatoba, jurubeba, kalanchoe, macela, picao preto, simarouba, suma, velvet bean

Cathartic

See Purgative.

Chologogue

(Bile stimulant)

A substance that increases the production and flow of bile in the liver.

A. Boldo, artichoke, jurubeba, gervão, jaborandi

B. Artichoke, boldo, yerba mate

C. Amargo, erva tostão, gervão, jaborandi, jurubeba

Choleretic

(Bile Stimulant)

 A substance that increase the volume and flow of bile from the gallbladder.

A. Artichoke, chanca piedra, boldo, erva tostão, macela

B. Artichoke, boldo, chanca piedra, macela

C. Abuta, balsam, amargo, erva tostão, jaborandi

Choliokinetic

 A substance that increases the contractive power of the bile duct.

A. Artichoke, carqueja, jaborandi

B. Artichoke

C. Carqueja, jaborandi

Cicatrizant

See Vulnerary

Contraceptive

An agent that prevents conception or interferes with fertility.

A. N/A

B. Bitter melon, cat’s claw, espinheira santa

C. Amor seco, epazote, vassourinha

Cough Suppressant

See Antitussive.

COX Inhibitor

 An agent that inhibits or interferes in the production of cyclooxygenase enzymes. (Linked to inflammatory processes and diseases.)

A. Iporuru, picao preto, anamu

B. Anamu, iporuru, picao preto

C. N/A

CNS Depressant

 A substance which depresses the central nervous system.

A. Manacá, kalanchoe, passionflower, mulungu, damiana

B. Damiana, guava, kalanchoe, manacá, passionflower, vassourinha

C. Embauba, gervão, mulungu

CNS Stimulant

 A substance which stimulates the central nervous system.

A. Muira puama, guaraná, catuaba, yerba mate, velvet bean

B. Guaraná, muira puama

C. Catuaba, velvet bean, yerba mate

Decongestant

A substance that relieves or reduces nasal or bronchial congestion.

A. Amor seco, nettle, embauba, jatoba, gervão

B. Nettle

C. Abuta, amor seco, carqueja, cashew, cipó cabeludo, embauba, erva tostão, gervão, jatoba, jurubeba, mutamba, picao preto, vassourinha

Demulcent

(Emollient)

An agent that soothes internal membranes.

A. Avenca, sarsaparilla, samambaia, balsam, amor seco

B. N/A

C. Andiroba, amor seco, annatto, avenca, balsam, boldo, bitter melon, samambaia, sarsaparilla

Depurative

(Blood cleanser)

An agent used to cleanse or purify the blood.

A. Tayuya, sarsaparilla, samambaia, manacá, mullaca

B. Sarsaparilla

C. Amargo, amor seco, anamu, annatto, avenca, bitter melon, boldo, carqueja, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, erva tostão, espinheira santa, fedegoso, guacatonga, guaco, guaraná, guava, jaborandi, jurubeba, manacá, mullaca, mutamba, nettle, pata de vaca, samambaia, tayuya, vassourinha, velvet bean, yerba mate

Detoxifier

A substance that promotes the removal of toxins from a system or organ.

A. Samambaia, chanca piedra, fedegoso, tayuya, nettles

B. Artichoke, sarsaparilla

C. Amor seco, avenca, bitter melon, boldo, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, clavillia, erva tostão, espinheira santa, fedegoso, nettles, samambaia, tayuya, vassourinha

Diaphoretic

(Sweat promoter)

A substance that induces perspiration. Also called sudorific.

A. Jaborandi, jatoba, mutamba, picao preto, guaco

B. Jaborandi

C. Abuta, anamu, avenca, carqueja, cha de bugre, chanca piedra, embauba, epazote, fedegoso, gervão, guaco, jatoba, macela, manacá, mutamba, nettle, picao preto, samambaia, sarsaparilla, simarouba

Digestion Stimulant

See Stomachic.

Disinfectant

 An agent that prevents the spread of infection, bacteria or communicable disease.

A. Mullaca, Brazilian peppertree, anamu, copaiba, espinheira santa

B. Brazilian peppertree

C. Anamu, copaiba, espinheira santa, guacatonga, mullaca, mulungu, passionflower

Diuretic

A substance that increases urination.

A. Erva tostão, amor seco, chanca piedra, cipó cabeludo, nettle

B. Abuta, boldo, chanca piedra, embauba, erva tostão, jaborandi, nettle, passionflower, pata de vaca, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush, stevia, vassourinha

C. Acerola, amor seco, anamu, annatto, artichoke, avenca, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, cashew, cat’s claw, cha de bugre, cipó cabeludo, clavillia, copaiba, curare, damiana, epazote, espinheira santa, fedegoso, gervão, guaco, guaraná, jatoba, jergon sacha, juazeiro, jurubeba, manacá, mullaca, picao preto, samambaia, tayuya, velvet bean, yerba mate

Emetic

An agent that induces vomiting.

A. N/A

B. Aveloz, graviola

C. Copaiba, jaborandi, yerba mate

Emmenagogue

(Menstrual promoter)

A substance that stimulates, initiates, and/or promotes menstrual flow. Emmenagogues are used in herbal medicine to balance and restore the normal function of the female reproductive system.

A. Abuta, vassourinha, Brazilian peppertree, avenca, simarouba

B. N/A

C. Abuta, anamu, avenca, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, chuchuhuasi, curare, damiana, embauba, epazote, erva tostão, espinheira santa, gervão, guaraná, guava, kalanchoe, macela, manacá, nettle, picao preto, simarouba, velvet bean, vassourinha

Emollient

An agent that has a protective and soothing action on the surfaces of the skin and membranes.

A. Andiroba, Brazil nut, copaiba, balsam, nettle

B. N/A

C. Andiroba, annatto, avenca, balsam, Brazil nut, copaiba, mulateiro, mutamba, nettle, picão preto, vassourinha

Expectorant

An agent that increases bronchial mucous secretion by promoting liquefaction of the sticky mucous and expelling it from the body.

A. Embauba, guaco, samambaia, avenca, guava

B. Guaco

C. Abuta, amargo, anamu, andiroba, annatto, avenca, Brazilian peppertree, copaiba, damiana, embauba, guava, jatoba, juazeiro, mullaca, mutamba, samambaia, vassourinha

Febrifuge

(Fever-reducer)

An agent that reduces fever. Also called an antipyretic.

A. Juazeiro, scarlet bush, manacá, vassourinha, kalanchoe

B. Boldo, juazeiro, kalanchoe, manacá, nettle, scarlet bush, velvet bean

C. Abuta, amargo, anamu, andiroba, annatto, avenca, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, cashew, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, curare, fedegoso, gervão, graviola, guaco, jurubeba, mullaca, mutamba, picao preto, quinine, samambaia, sarsaparilla, simarouba, vassourinha

Galactagogue

See Lactagogue.

Gastrotonic

Gastroprotective

Something which strengthens, tones, or regulates gastric functions (or protects from injury) without overt stimulation or depression.

A. Jurubeba, picao preto, carqueja, cat’s claw, guacatonga

B. Annatto, artichoke, boldo, carqueja, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, copaiba, gervão, guacatonga, guava, jurubeba, macela, picao preto

C. Abuta, amargo, avenca, bitter melon, epazote, muira puama

Heart Tonic

See Cardiotonic.

Hemostatic

See Antihemorrhagic

Hepatoprotective

(Liver-protector)

A substance that helps protect the liver from damage by toxins, chemicals or other disease processes.

A. Carqueja, erva tostão, chanca piedra, picao preto, boldo

B. Annatto, artichoke, boldo, carqueja, chanca piedra, erva tostão, fedegoso, gervão, jatoba, macela, picao preto

C. Abuta, acerola, avenca, cat’s claw, epazote, mutamba

Hepatotonic

(Liver tonic)

A substance that is tonic to the liver - usually employed to normalize liver enzymes and function.

A. Carqueja, picao preto, gervão, artichoke, chanca piedra

B. Artichoke, chanca piedra, erva tostão, fedegoso, jurubeba, mulungu

C. Abuta, acerola, amargo, anamu, avenca, boldo, carqueja, embauba, gervão, juazeiro, macela, mullaca, pau d’arco, picao preto, vassourinha.

Hormonal (Female)

A substance that has a hormone-like effect similar to that of estrogen and/or a substance used to normalize female hormone levels.

A. Abuta, damiana, Brazilian peppertree, suma, chuchuhuasi

B. Abuta, damiana, cat’s claw

C. Brazilian peppertree, chuchuhuasi, damiana, espinheira santa, maca, suma

Hormonal (Male)

A substance that has a hormone-like effect similar to that of testosterone and/or a substance used to normalize male hormone levels.

A. Muira puama, nettle, velvet bean, sarsaparilla, damiana

B. Nettle, velvet bean

C. Catuaba, chuchuhuasi, damiana, maca, muira puama, sarsaparilla, suma

Hyperglycemic

A substance that raises blood sugar levels.

A. N/A

B. Annatto, guaraná

C. N/A

Hypocholesterolemic

(Cholesterol-reducer)

A substance that lowers blood cholesterol levels.

A. Bitter melon, artichoke, velvet bean, suma, chanca piedra

B. Artichoke, bitter melon, chanca piedra, guava, suma, velvet bean

C. Acerola, annatto, avenca, carqueja, cat’s claw, kalanchoe, muira puama, sarsaparilla, vassourinha, yerba mate

Hypoglycemic

An agent that lowers the concentration of glucose (sugar) in the blood .

A. Pata de vaca, pedra hume caá, chanca piedra, bitter melon, stevia

B. Abuta, anamu, annatto, avenca, bitter melon, carqueja, chanca piedra, damiana, embauba, guava, macela, mullaca, mutamba, pata de vaca, pedra hume caá, stevia, vassourinha, velvet bean

C. Amargo, cat’s claw, iporuru, jatoba, mulateiro

Hypotensive

A substance that lowers blood pressure.

A. Graviola, abuta, chanca piedra, picao preto, erva tostão

B. Abuta, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, chanca piedra, embauba, erva tostão, fedegoso, graviola, guava, jurubeba, muira puama, mulungu, mutamba, nettle, passionflower, picão preto, stevia, vassourinha

C. Annatto, artichoke, avenca, cashew, gervão, guaraná, jaborandi, pedra hume caá, samambaia, velvet bean, yerba mate

Hypothermal

See Refrigerant.

Immune modulator

A substance that affects or modulates the functioning of the immune system.

A. Cat’s claw, samambaia,

B. Erva tostão, mullaca, nettle, picao preto, samambaia, sarsaparilla, suma, velvet bean

C. Cat’s claw, pau d’arco

Immune stimulant

A substance that stimulates the activity of immune cells/function and/or increases the production of immune cells.

A. Cat’s claw, anamu, mullaca, fedegoso, macela

B. Anamu, bitter melon, cat’s claw, chuchuhuasi, fedegoso, macela, mullaca, scarlet bush

C. Chanca piedra, jergon sacha, maca, pau d’arco, simarouba, suma, yerba mate

Immune suppressant

A substance that suppresses the functioning of the immune system.

A. N/A

B. Aveloz, kalanchoe

C. N/A

Insecticide

A substance that kills insects.

A. Amargo, graviola (seeds), andiroba, mulateiro, epazote

B. Amargo, andiroba, epazote, graviola, kalanchoe, manacá, mulateiro, pau d’arco, quinine

C. Annatto, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, fedegoso, macela, vassourinha

Insect Repellant

An agent that repels insects.

A. Andiroba, annatto, mulateiro, amargo, vassourinha

B. Andiroba

C. Amargo, annatto, aveloz, mulateiro, vassourinha

Lactagogue

A agent that increases or stimulates milk flow or production. Also called a galactagogue.

A. Nettle, erva tostão, gervão, avenca, graviola (fruit juice)

B. N/A

C. Avenca, bitter melon, epazote, erva tostão, gervão, graviola, jaborandi, mulungu, nettle.

Larvacidal

An agent which kills insect or parasite larva.

A. Amargo, gervão, carqueja, boldo, bitter melon

B. Amargo, bitter melon, carqueja, gervão

C. Balsam, boldo, jergon sacha, simarouba

Laxative

A substance that stimulates evacuation of the bowels causing looseness or relaxation intestinal muscles.

A. Guava, gervão, tayuya, chanca piedra, amor seco

B. Gervão

C. Amor seco, aveloz, bitter melon, boldo, chanca piedra, clavillia, embauba, epazote, espinheira santa, guaraná, guava, pau d’arco, simarouba, tayuya

Molluscicidal

An agent that kills snails. (Typically used as an testing method to find agents to treat schistosomiasis)

A. Graviola (seeds), bitter melon, macela, epazote, cashew

B. Bitter melon, cashew, cipó cabeludo, epazote, jatoba, graviola, guacatonga, macela, pata de vaca

C. N/A

Muscle Relaxant

See Antispasmodic.

Nervine

A substance that is tonic to or has a balancing effect on the nerves and/or central nervous system.

A. Catuaba, damiana, tayuya, graviola, muira puama

B. Damiana

C. Amor seco, catuaba, cipó cabeludo, epazote, graviola, guaraná, guava, muira puama, quinine, sangre de grado, scarlet bush, suma, tayuya, yerba mate

Neurasthenic

A substance used to treat nerve pain and/or weakness. (i.e., neuralgia, sciatica, etc.)

A. Sangre de grado, passionflower, mulungu, tayuya, manacá

B. Passionflower, sangre de grado

C. Catuaba, guava, guaraná, macela, manacá, muira puama, mulungu, quinine, tayuya, suma, velvet bean, yerba mate

Neuroprotective

A substance that protects brain cells from damage, helps repair damaged brain cells, and/or balances brain chemicals. In herbal medicine, neuroprotective plants are also used for memory disorders.

A. Samambaia, cat’s claw, sarsaparilla, guaraná, velvet bean

B. Cat’s claw, graviola, guaraná, samambaia, sarsaparilla, velvet bean

C. Catuaba, damiana, mulungu, simarouba, suma, yerba mate

Pectoral

Pertaining to or used for the chest and respiratory tract.

A. Avenca, samambaia, amor seco, embauba, balsam

B. N/A

C. Abuta, amor seco, avenca, balsam, catuaba, cha de bugre, copaiba, embauba, epazote, jatoba, gervão, graviola, guaco, jatoba, kalanchoe, mutamba, picao preto, samambaia, sarsaparilla, vassourinha

Pediculicide

An agent that kills lice.

A. Amargo, andiroba, graviola (seed), balsam, fedegoso

B. Amargo, balsam

C. Andiroba, fedegoso, graviola, guacatonga, nettle

Piscicide

An agent that kills fish (which is a common indicator that the substance has other properties that make it toxic to parasites or bacteria).

A. Abuta, graviola, aveloz, chanca piedra, Brazilian peppertree, anamu

B. N/A

C. Abuta, anamu, aveloz, Brazilian peppertree, cashew, graviola, guaraná, mulungu

Purgative

A substance used to cleanse or purge, especially causing the immediate evacuation of the bowel.

A. Abuta, jatoba (fruit/seed), graviola (seed), manacá, aveloz

B. N/A

C. Abuta, annatto (seeds), Aveloz, bitter melon, cashew, clavillia, graviola (seeds), jatoba, manacá, yerba mate

Refrigerant

(Hypothermal)

A substance to lower the temperature of the body, a part of the body, to reduce the metabolic activity or its tissues, or to provide a local anesthetic effect.

A. Scarlet bush, manacá, kalanchoe, mulateiro, mutamba

B. Manacá, nettle, scarlet bush

C. Avenca, annatto, bitter melon, cashew, carqueja, mulateiro, mutamba, nettles, erva tostão, kalanchoe, samambaia, sarsaparilla, vassourinha

Sedative

Having a soothing, calming, or tranquilizing effect; reducing or relieving stress, irritability, or excitement.

A. Manacá, mulungu, kalanchoe, passionflower, vassourinha

B. Amargo, graviola, guava, kalanchoe, mulungu, passionflower, vassourinha

C. Anamu, boldo, epazote, gervão, macela, manacá, mullaca, nettle

Sialogogue

(Salivation-promoter)

A substance used to increase or promote the excretion of saliva.

A. Jaborandi, espinheira santa, amargo, picao preto, Brazilian peppertree

B. Jaborandi

C. Amargo, Brazilian peppertree, espinheira santa, picao preto

Spasmolytic

See Antispasmodic.

Stimulant

A substance that promotes the activity of a body system or function.

A. Guaraná, yerba mate, jatoba, chuchuhuasi, erva tostão

B. Erva tostão, guaraná, yerba mate

C. Abuta, artichoke, avenca, boldo, Brazilian peppertree, catuaba, cha de bugre, chuchuhuasi, copaiba, damiana, jatoba, maca, muira puama, picao preto, sarsaparilla, suma, yerba mate

Stomachic

(Digestive Stimulant)

An agent that stimulates or strengthens the activity of the stomach; used as a tonic to improve the appetite and digestive processes.

A. Jurubeba, mutamba, carqueja, amargo, artichoke

B. Artichoke, boldo, carqueja, espinheira santa, jurubeba

C. Abuta, amargo, amor seco, annatto, balsam, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, cashew, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, clavillia, clavo huasca, damiana, embauba, erva tostão, gervão, graviola, guacatonga, guaraná, jatoba, juazeiro, muira puama, mutamba, nettle, quinine, sarsaparilla, simarouba, tayuya, yerba mate

Styptic

See Antihemorrhagic.

Sudorific

See Diaphoretic.

Tonic

A substance that acts to restore, balance, tone, strengthen, or invigorate a body system without overt stimulation or depression.

A. Cat's claw, suma, chuchuhuasi, catuaba, sarsaparilla

B. N/A

C. Abuta, amargo, artichoke, avenca, bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, carqueja, cashew, cat’s claw, catuaba, chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, clavillia, curare, damiana, espinheira santa, gervão, jatoba, juazeiro, jurubeba, maca, muira puama, pata de vaca, quinine, samambaia, sarsaparilla, simarouba, tayuya, vassourinha

Uterine Relaxant

An agent that relaxes the muscles in the uterus.

A. Abuta, passionflower, boldo, chuchuhuasi, embauba

B. Abuta, boldo

C. Chanca piedra, chuchuhuasi, embauba, pata de vaca, passionflower

Uterine Stimulant

An agent that stimulates the uterus (and often employed during active childbirth).

A. Fedegoso, mutamba, picao preto, Brazilian peppertree, bitter melon

B. Bitter melon, Brazilian peppertree, clavillia, fedegoso, graviola, mutamba, picao preto

C. Avenca, carqueja, erva tostão, kalanchoe, nettle, velvet bean

Vasoconstrictor

An agent that causes constriction of the blood vessels and decreases blood flow.

A. Fedegoso, guava, nettle, artichoke

B. Fedegoso, guava

C. Artichoke, nettle

Vasodilator

A substance that causes a widening and/or relaxation of the blood vessels and therefore and increase in blood flow.

A. Graviola, boldo, gervão, guaraná, yerba mate

B. Boldo, catuaba, gervão, graviola, guaraná, yerba mate

C. Brazilian peppertree, simarouba, stevia

Vermifuge

(Worm-expeller)

A substance used to expel worms from the intestines.

A. Amargo, epazote, simarouba, boldo, carqueja

B. Amargo, bitter melon, boldo, carqueja, epazote, fedegoso, simarouba

C. Anamu, andiroba, balsam, cat’s claw, chanca piedra, clavillia, copaiba, erva tostão, gervão, graviola, guaco, guava, jatoba, macela, mullaca, passionflower, pata de vaca, picão preto, scarlet bush, vassourinha, velvet bean

Vulnerary

(Wound-healer)

A substance used to heal wounds and promote tissue formation.

A. Sangre de grado, copaiba, juazeiro, scarlet bush, Brazilian peppertree

B. Balsam, Brazilian peppertree, copaiba, juazeiro, sangre de grado

C. Acerola, amor seco, andiroba, annatto, avenca, bitter melon, cat’s claw, clavillia, embauba, epazote, espinheira santa, gervão, guacatonga, guaco, picao preto, sarsaparilla, scarlet bush, stevia, vassourinha





The information provided above has been quoted from the book, The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs by Leslie Taylor (© Copyrighted 2004) and is intended for educational, entertainment and information purposes only.

The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace proper medical care. The plants described herein are not intended to treat, cure, diagnose, mitigate or prevent any disease. No claim is made that these plants are effective in treating or curing any disease or condition. Please refer to our Conditions of Use for using this plant database, this text file in the database and the Raintree web site.








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