Cordia leptocaula Fresen.
Cordia salicifolia Cham.
Gerascanthus ecalyculatus (Vell.) Borhidi
Common Name: Chá de Bugre
Chá de bugre is a small, evergreen tree with a dense, ellipsoid crown; it can grow 8 - 12 metres tall. The bole is 30 - 40cm in diameter[
The plant is harvested from the wild for medicinal use, timber and as a coffee substitute. Chá de bugre has been highly commercialized as a weight loss aid in Brazil where it is commonly seen for sale in pharmacies, stores etc[
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, southern and eastern Brazil.
An understorey tree in dense primary and secondary semi-deciduous forests, growing in moist, fertile soils[
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Grows best in a sunny position[
]. Prefers a moist but well-drained soil[
Newly planted young trees grow away moderately well and may reach a height of 3 metres within 2 years[
The red fruit resembles a coffee bean. It can be roasted and brewed to make a coffee substitute[
]. It contains caffeine
Although we have seen no specific information for this species, the fruits of all members of this genus are said to be edible[
]. In general the fruit comprises a thin to fairly thick layer of pulpy, sweetish-tasting flesh surrounding a single seed[
]. The red, globose fruit is up to 20mm in diameter[
]. It has a succulent, sticky pulp[
Chá de bugre has long been a popular weight loss product in Brazil, where the plant is also used to treat a range of disorders such as coughs, water retention and fevers, as well as being used to promote wound healing[
Despite its popularity, very little has been done to analyze the phytochemicals in the plant. It is known to contain caffeine, potassium, allantoin and allantoic acid. The allantoin and allantoic acid, which have been shown to promote healing by speeding up cell division, may explain the traditional use of the plant for wound healing[
Research has shown that a leaf extract reduced herpes virus penetration by 99% when the cells were pre-treated with the extract[
]. It has also been shown that the Herpes virus yield was reduced by 33% with as little as 0.25 mcg/ml and also discovered that it had toxic activity against cancer cells (demonstrating a 40% inhibition) utilizing an extract of the branches and leaves[
A leaf extract has also demonstrated cardiotonic and increased cardiovascular actions using a leaf extract[
The leaves are appetite suppressant, antitussive, antiviral, cardiotonic, diuretic, febrifuge, stimulant and vulnerary[
]. They are believed to help prevent or reduce fatty deposits and cellulite[
]. An infusion is used to help stimulate circulation, relieve coughs, regulate renal function and reduce uric acid[
]. It is also used in the treatment of herpes, fevers, gout, kidney stones, obesity, renal insufficiency and rheumatism[
The plant is an effective appetite suppressant, giving a sense of being full and satiated after eating only a few bites of food. This seems to promote much smaller meals, more often, which is what many practitioners believe is better for sustained weight loss and keeping the metabolism going throughout the day. It works best if taken 30 minutes to one hour prior to a meal[
The leaves are applied externally to promote the healing of wounds[
The wood is moderately heavy, soft, compact, of low natural durability when exposed to the weather[
]. The heartwood and sapwood are not differentiated[
]. The wood is used for internal construction, light boxes, matches and toys[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe. Sow in a shady position in a seedbed or individual containers. Germination rates are usually low, the seed sprouting within 20 - 40 days[
]. The germination process can be sped up if the seed is first scarified by lightly abrading the seedcoat to allow easier ingress of water[
]. Transplant the seedlings from the seedbeds to individual containers when they are 5 - 7cm tall and plant out 6 - 9 months later.
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