Have you ever heard of an herb called Anamu?
If you haven’t, then you’re surely missing out quite a lot!
Anamu has a strong garlic-like odor. Many herbal enthusiasts all around the world use anamu for its powerful therapeutic properties.
So today I will share with you some of the health benefits of Anamu and its many uses.
Also, in this article you will find:
- What is Anamu?
- What does it do?
- Some Health benefits of Anamu
- How to take Anamu?
- Side effects of Anamu
What is Anamu?
Anamu (Petiveria alliacea) is a perennial herb that belongs to the family Phytolaccaceae.
Anamu, known by names such as mucura and garlic guinea weed is native to the tropical areas of the South and Central America, Caribbean, and Africa and even Amazon rainforest.
Mainly, Brazilians call this herb as anamu, Peruvians call it mucura whereas the English call it garlic guinea weed.
Its dark green colored leathery leaves identify this herb with tall spikes lined with small white flowers.
Although this herb seems like an ordinary plant, it has a long history in herbal medicine.
Why Use Anamu?
The number of medicinal benefits that Anamu provides is astounding.
In the University of Illinois, researchers found anamu plant containing active compounds that were found to fight against cancer.
The leaf of the plant is known to be used as an analgesic against muscular pain, boosts the immune system, and in the treatment of skin diseases .
Native Brazilians used this herb to treat arrow poisoning and snakebites.
Apart from having therapeutic benefits, it also has non-medical benefits such as a good bat and insect repellant.
These therapeutic properties are due to the active compounds such as tannins, triterpenes, steroids, antioxidants, and Sulphur-containing compounds .
Health Benefits of Anamu
Now let’s see the how anamu helps in providing health benefits.
1. Anamu Treats Cancer
Research conducted in 2009, showed that anamu extract has a high potential for treating cancer .
The active components found in this extract such as the astilbin and dibenzyl trisulphate showed positive results in destroying cancerous cells leaving the healthy cells unaffected .
Other studies conducted showed that Anamu extracts not only inhibits cancerous cells but also provide the body with cytotoxic effects that helps to kill the cancerous cells using human and mouse tumor cells .
The extracts were found to be effective towards various cancerous cells like leukemia, lymphoma, and even breast cancer cells.
Besides this, it helps the body to produce more interleukins and interferon.
Apart from dibenzyl trisulfide, one of the main component in Anamu, it’s also known to contain phytochemicals such as astilbin, benzaldehyde, and coumarin, all of which have anti-tumorous and anti-cancerous properties as well.
In several other studies published in early 2000, found that anamu was effective against brain and liver cancer.
2. Reliefs Pain and has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Anamu has a long history in relieving pain and anti-inflammatory effects.
Inflammation is mainly the body’s defensive response to injury and danger, however, if the factor that triggers the inflammation continues then the inflammation can lead to an intensification of the lesion .
In a clinical study conducted in 2002, showed that oral and topical administration of P. alliacea in different animal models were found to have anti-inflammatory effects on them .
This study used rats with pleurisy as an experimental method to see the anti-inflammatory effect as well as an analgesic effect on them.
The study showed the inhibitory action of eosinophils (responsible for allergic inflammatory conditions like asthma) having used Anamu extracts on mice, showing therapeutic role in inflammatory conditions .
Dibenzyl trisulphide (DTS), the lipophilic compound found in the anamu extract is one of the active immunomodulatory compounds in extracts responsible for the anti-inflammatory effects of P. alliacea .
Although this research validated the traditional use of Anamu extracts as an inflammation painkiller, further studies need to clarify the precise mechanisms of its actions.
3. Anamu Reduces Blood Sugar
More research is yet to be made to show how Anamu is effective in diabetic patients, but several experiments conducted using animals have shown promising results.
The phytochemical and pharmaceutical study of Petiveria Alliaceae (anamú) has shown to have an active hypoglycemic principle in the leaves and stems of the plant .
The experiment was done using mice.
The mice that were given extracts from the leaves and stem powder were found to have a decreases blood sugar concentration by 60% .
For many generations, Cubans used this herb for the treatment of diabetes.
After the experiment conducted, it provides evidence in using this herb as a diabetic treatment.
4. Treats Harmful Organisms
In South America, people used Anamu for its antimicrobial activities that were effective against a wide range of organisms like fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
In a research conducted in 2013, dry and fresh leave extracts of Petiveria alliacea were used to see its antimicrobial effect against four strains of bacteria such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and some fungal strains .
Antibacterial activity using these extracts were observed against most of the strains of bacteria, and even against fungal strains, proving antimicrobial activity of Anamu .
The use of Anamu leaf extracts was found to control against ticks in cattle.
In another study conducted in 2002, the plant extracts of this herb were found to inhibit the replication of bovine diarrhea virus by using this virus as a test model for hepatitis C virus .
Due to the total phenolic compounds present in Anamu, it is responsible for its antimicrobial activity.
5. Anamu for Oral Health
Due to the various antimicrobial properties that Anamu possess, this plant is excellent for strengthening teeth.
Traditionally, people preferred chewing this herb as it is to strengthen the teeth.
Apart from strengthening the teeth, it was also used to prevent infections or tooth decay.
It even works as a great mouth fresher by chewing on the leaf of this plant so that your breath will smell fresh.
Some other benefits of Anamu include promoting menstruation, reducing free radicals, Increasing perspiration and urination.
How to take Anamu?
Now that you’ve seen the various benefits that Anamu provides let’s see how to consume this herb to make the best use of it for our health.
Traditional Anamu Tea
Nowadays, Anamu is available in the form of a capsule.
However, It’s advisable to use organically grown Anamu herb that is free from herbicides, insecticides and other pollution.
Traditionally, people consumed Anamu in the form of tea. So If you have the natural herb, it’s best to drink it in the form of tea.
Here’s how you can make your own traditional Anamu tea:
What You’ll Need:
- Whole organic Anamu herb
- A liter of hot water
- Take 30-40 grams of the whole plant parts (leaves, stems, and roots) and chop them into small pieces. You can also make them into a fine powder.
- Boil a liter of hot water and add the whole dried herbs into the water
- Let it steep for 10-15 minutes
- Strain it and drink a quarter cup or half cup of this tea on an empty stomach at least twice a day or more depending on the severity of your health condition
- You can also use the powder and add it directly to a hot cup of water
Anamu Side Effects
Generally, Anamu is considered safe. However, some precautions must be considered to prevent any consequence.
Like any other herbal medicine, Anamu should be used with caution as it can cause some adverse effects as well, despite its health benefits.
- Pregnant Women
For women who are trying to conceive or are pregnant, should not use Anamu.
It is simply because this herb is seen to stimulate uterus contraction. As a result, it might cause abortion.
Hence, pregnant women, nursing women, and women planning to become pregnant should never use Anamu.
- People with Bleeding Disorders
People suffering from hemophilia should avoid it as this herb may cause thinning of the blood.
Anamu may cause blood thinning as it contains a small amount of Coumadin, an agent that may act as an anticoagulant or cause blood thinning effect.
Hence, for such people, it’s advisable to use this herb only under the supervision of their physician or healthcare provider.
Although Anamu has a history of being used in folk medicine, modern science is trying to understand its potential by experimental means.
More investigation is yet needed to be made to support the traditional claims.
However, recent studies have shown its health benefit proving to be effective against cancer, diabetes, relieving pain, and in treating microorganisms.
However, although herbal, it does come with certain side effects and must be consulted with a doctor before consuming it in the form of tea or capsule.
If you’re sure to believe that it will have no adverse side effects, it can even be grown at your home instead of purchasing the dried form.
By doing so, you will be having two benefits, one for health benefits, and the other by keeping your garden free of insects as it’s ever seen to act as a good insecticide.
I believe Anamu is one of those herbs that kills two birds with one stone.
To conclude, I am truly impressed by how Anamu provides such diverse range of benefits, hope you were impressed as well.
You can read more articles from our page where some known herbs also provide numerous health benefits.