Chuchuhuasi Benefits

Chuchuhuasi
Latin Name

Maytenus laevis

Also Known As

Chucchu huashu, chuchuasi, chuchasha, chuchuhuasha

Origin

Amazon Rainforest

Parts Used

Bark, Roots, Leaves

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Native to the Amazon Rainforest and other parts of South America, Chuchuhuasi translates as “trembling back” due to its effectiveness as a remedy for back pain, arthritis and rheumatism. It has been used by the indigenous peoples and local healers, known as curanderos, for its healing properties as a pain reliever, digestive aid, general tonic for overall wellbeing and an aphrodisiac.

To this day, the bark is soaked in sugarcane rum to make the drink known as “Go Juice”, which is served in bars and to tourists to give them the stamina for long jungle treks and to relieve muscle aches and pains.

Chuchuhuasi Benefits

Arthritis/Rheumatism

One of the most popular and enduring uses of this herb is as a remedy for arthritis and the pain and swelling associated with rheumatism. In Peruvian herbal medicine systems, Chuchuhuasi alchohol extracts are used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

The bark is rich in several alkaloids, tannins, triterpenes and sesquiterpenes, and it is thought that the pyridine alkaloids in the bark may be primarily responsible for its anti-arthritic effects.

In a study by ”Sphinx Phatmaceuticals” of Durham, North Carolina, Chuchuhuasi bark was found to contain agents that inhibit the action of protein kinase C (PKC). Evidence suggests that over production of PKC is implicated in many degenerative and inflammatory diseases. It is thought that the ability of Chuchuhuasi to inhibit its activity is partly responsible for its effectiveness in the treatment of arthritis.

Chuchuhuasi is also powerfully anti-inflammatory, and an analysis of its chemical properties was conducted by a team of scientists back in 1982 to establish the active principles of this herb. They concluded: “The presence of phenoldienones (tingenone, 22-hydroxytingenone), a catechin (4'-methyl-(-)-epigallocatechin) and proanthocyanidins (Ouratea-proanthocyanidins A and B) was established. The biological activities of these compounds confirm the properties of the extracts of the plant claimed by traditional medicine.

In layman’s terms, the combination of the PKC inhibition, coupled with the anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxing properties of this herb make it a potent natural remedy for relief from arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Immune Boosting

Sometimes referred to as “Brazilian Ginseng”, Chuchuhuasi is classed as an adaptogen – a specific class of herbs that help to balance, restore and protect the body from external stressors, ranging from extremes in temperature to colds, infections, trauma and stress.

Chuchuhuasi’s adaptogenic qualities allow it to function as an “immunomodulator”, meaning it can either up-regulate or down-regulate the immune system in response to external stimuli. It helps to recharge exhausted adrenal glands as when these glands become overtaxed it can lead to a cascade of systems breaking down within the body.

Aphrodisiac

Chuchuhuasi is a powerful vasodilator and improves blood flow to the pelvic area and reproductive organs. To this day, many Amazonian people drink a shot of Chuchuhuasi tonic each morning to promote stamina, sexual function and the libido.

Whilst its aphrodisiac effect is yet to be pinned down to one or two specific compounds, it seems that many of the alkaloids found in this plant are stimulants that aid in the recovery of a lost libido and boost sexual function. Coupled with its ability to stimulate blood flow to the sexual organs, this might explain why Chuchuhuasi is widely used by middle aged men to enhance virility, prolong erections and as a cure for impotence.

Menstrual Disorders

The ability of Chuchuhuasi to function as an adaptogen makes it effective to tone, balance and strengthen female hormonal systems. It is an emmenogogue (menstrual stimulant), and can bring regularity to irregular periods. It can also be used to ease menstrual pains and cramps due to its muscle relaxant properties.

Typical Use

Chuchuhuasi Tea

1 - 2 teaspoons of chipped bark per person. Boil for a few minutes before transferring to a pot and allowing to steep for a few minutes. 

Chuchuhuasi Extract Powder

Add to water, fruit juice, smoothies or encapsulate. Take 1/2 to 1 gram 3 times a day or as recommended by your herbal practitioner.

Chuchuhuasi Tincture

Can be added to fruit juice or water and taken daily. Traditionally Taken: 1-3 ml up to three times a day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.

Folklore and History

Whilst Chuchuhuasi has a long history of use as a healing and medicinal plant in its own right, it also has mystical uses that have long been known to the indigenous Shamans of the Amazon. 

Known as "Chucuhuasi Tree Medicine", this tree is revered as a sacred teacher plant and used by shamans for its curative/spiritual qualities. It can be used as part of a shamanic dieta or as an admixture to Ayahuasca. Additionally, when taken daily, Chuchuhuasi can assist in overcoming the challenge of sustained Ayahuasca use and the 'dietas' (controlled diet) that are usually associated with this method of accelerated personal development.

Chuchuhuasi
Constituents

The main plant chemicals found in Chuchuhuasi include: agarofuran sesquiterpenes, canophyllol, catechin tannins, dammarane triterpenes, dulcitol, ebenifoline alkaloids, euojaponine alkaloids, friedelan triterpenes, krukovine triterpenes, laevisine alkaloids, macrocarpin triterpenes, maytansine, mayteine, maytenin, mebeverine, phenoldienones, pristimeran, proanthocyanidins, and tingenone (and its derivatives).

Precautions

None Known. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, please consult your healthcare provider before using Chuchuhuasi.