Alchornea passargei Pax & K.Hoffm.
Hermesia castaneifolia Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.
Hermesia salicifolia Baill.
Common Name: Iporuru
Iporuru is a shrubby tree with an open crown; it can grow 8 - 10 metres tall. The bole is straight and slender[
The plant is commonly harvested from the wild for medicinal use. Iporuru remedies and products are sold in local markets and herbal pharmacies in Peru, where it is recommended highly for treating arthritis and rheumatism[
S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela.
Rainforests at lower elevations and flood plains of the Amazon River system in Peru[
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The plant can withstand seasonal inundation[
Iporuru can be harvested only in the Amazon's dry season; it spends the rainy season underwater. The locals believe that the active medicinal properties found in the bark are present only during the dry season[
Iporuru has a high reputation as a medicinal herb in parts of S. America, though it is little known elsewhere. The bark and leaves are used for many different purposes and are prepared it in many different ways. However, it is especially valued for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is also widely used as an aphrodisiac and general tonic to the reproductive system. It is commonly used with other plants during shamanistic training and, sometimes, is an ingredient in ayahuasca (a hallucinogenic, multi-herb decoction used by South American shamans)[
The plant has been shown to contain steroids, saponins, phenols, flavonols, flavones, tannins, xanthones, and alkaloids[
The anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to a group of alkaloids, including one called alchorneine, which are found in the bark of this and several other members of the genus[
There has been little clinical research on the plant - despite its long history of use. That which has been done, however, does help explain some of its traditional uses.
An ethanol extract of the stembark has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation when applied topically. This extract also inhibits prostaglandin synthesis - these prostaglandins are linked to inflammatory processes and diseases and the inhibitory activity may, in part, explain the traditional use of Iporuru for treating inflammatory joint and muscle disorders such as osteoarthritis, arthritis, and rheumatism318].
Other research has supported Iporuru's antifungal, antiviral, and antitumor activities[
An ethanol extract of the herb has proved to be much more effective than a water extract[
A tincture of the bark or leaves is used as a treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, colds, and muscle pains. It relieves the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and aids flexibility of the joint and range of motion. A decoction of the bark is taken before meals to prevent diarrhoea[
The crushed leaves are anodyne. They are rubbed on painful joints and are beaten into a paste to apply to painful stingray wounds[
A decoction of the leaves is used as a treatment for coughs. The leaves are used to increase female fertility (mostly in cases where the male is relatively impotent). It is widely used as an aphrodisiac and geriatric tonic for males and is regarded as a remedy for impotency as well as for balancing blood sugar levels in diabetics. The plant has been gaining popularity among North American athletes and health practitioners recently; with reports suggesting that it provides nutritional support to muscle and joint structures[
The thin layer of heartwood is greyish to dull chocolate brown; the sapwood is a lustrous pale brown with a greyish cast. The wood is straight-grained; medium-textured; light in weight and soft. It has no distinctive taste or odour[
The wood is used for fuel[
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