Abuta (Cissampelos pariera) Infographic

Abuta Summary:

Abuta is a tropical herb found all over the world. It's commonly used in both Ayurvedic medicine in India as well as traditional Amazonian medicine. In both places of the world the uses are similar.

Abuta is commonly referred to as the midwives herb, which gives some insight into what the plant is mainly used for.

Its benefits on the female reproductive system includes preventing menstrual cramps and irregularities, excessive menstrual bleeding, uterine spasms, fibroid tumors, and premenstrual syndrome. It's even used as an anti-abortive.

Other uses includes bacterial infections, convulsions, fever, and both internal and external bleeding. Its high antioxidant content makes it useful as a general tonic, and is useful as a hepatoprotective agent (liver protecting), and pain reliever.

The uses of abuta are many, and depending on which part of the world you are in, they may vary slightly but will remain more or less the same. Most of the research on this herb has been on the neurological system, with only a small amount of research having been done on its most common uses. As more people understand the effectiveness of this herb, and easy availability, there will no doubt be more research done in the near future. 


Indications Dose Traditional use Botanical Description Habitat and Ecology Constituents Pharmacology Toxicity Synergy


Botanical Name

Cissampelos pareira

Family

Menispermaceae

Part Used

Whole vine, seed, bark, leaf, root

General Actions:

  • Analgesic
  • Anti-Abortive
  • Antiarthritic
  • Antibacterial
  • Anticancer
  • Anticonvulsant
  • Antihistamine
  • Antinflammatory
  • Antilithic
  • Antimalarial
  • Antioxidant
  • Antipyretic
  • Antiulcer
  • Hormonal Modulator
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Hemolytic
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Mucolytic

Dosage

Decoction

500 - 750 ml/day

Tincture (1:5)

6-9 ml/day

Tablets

500 - 750 ml/day

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Indications:

  • As a childbirth aid
  • To prevent abortion
  • Anemia
  • Arthritis
  • Bacterial infection
  • Cancer
  • Rheumatism
  • Snake bite
  • General women's ailments
  • Menstrual difficulties
    • Cramping
    • Pain
    •  Premenstrual syndrome
    • Excessive bleeding
    • Fibroid tumors
  • As a diuretic
  • Heart tonic
  • High blood pressure


Common Names:

  • Abuta
  • Abutata
  • Barbasco
  • Imchich masha
  • Butua
  • False pareira
  • Pareira
  • Aristoloche lobee
  • Bejuco da raton
  • Feuille coeur
  • Liane patte cheval
  • Gasing-gasing
  • Bhatindupat
  • Langhu patha
  • Patha
  • Xi sheng teng
  • Cipa (Medical acronym)
  • Velvet lea

Traditional Use:

Indigenous cultures throughout the Amazon have used virtually every part of this plant as medicine. It has been used for a few thousand years for a wide range of illnesses, and conditions and is still a popular choice in herbal medicine today. [1].

Abuta is commonly referred to as the midwives herb throughout South America because of its long history, and high value for all types of women's ailments. It has been used traditionally to prevent miscarriage, and stop uterine haemorrhages after childbirth. In the Amazon, it is still fairly common to find midwives carrying this herb for menstrual cramps and both pre, and post natal pains, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine haemorrhaging [1].

Abuta is also used to aid poor digestion, drowsiness after meals, and constipation [1].

In Guyana, Palikur Indians use a abuta leaves in the form of a poultice to reduce pain topically. The Wayãpi Indians make a decoction of the leaf and stem as an oral analgesic. Kettchwa tribes of Ecuador use a decoction of the leaves to treat eye infections and snakebites. Creoles in Guyana soak the leaves, bark, and roots in rum and use it as an aphrodisiac.  Other Indigenous tribes throughout Peru use the seeds for snakebites, fevers, STIs, internal/external bleeding, as a diuretic, rheumatism,irregular heartbeat, and as an expectorant. [1].

More modern day uses in Brazil includes its use as a general tonic, diuretic, reduce fevers, menstrual cramps, difficult menstruation, excessive bleeding, uterine hemorrhages, fibroid tumors, prenatal and postnatal pain, colic, constipation, digestive difficulty, dyspepsia and to reduce pain. [1].

In Mexico, Abuta is commonly used for very similar conditions including muscle inflammation, snakebite, rheumatism, diarrhoea, dysentery, and menstrual problems [1].

North American herbal practitioners use abuta for many of the same conditions as well as for testicular inflammation, and minor kidney problems [1].

In India the herb is called langhu patha. Its ethnomedical uses in this area includes urinary problems, skin problems, cancer, bacterial infection, malaria, as a diuretic, convulsions [2]. One tribal use of abuta in India is to prevent pregnancy [3-5]. It is commonly included in Ayurvedic formulas intended for conditions like rheumatism, ulcers, and fevers [9].

 

Worldwide, traditional uses include:

  • gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhoea, dysentery, ulcers, colic, intestinal worms and digestive complaints, drowsiness after meals, constipation,
  • urogenital problems such as menstrual problems, venereal diseases, infertility, uterine bleeding, and threatening miscarriage, pre, and post natal pains, excessive menstrual bleeding, and uterine haemorrhaging, fibroid tumors
  • Cancer
  • Topically to reduce pain and treat sores, boils, scabies, and childhood eczema.
  • As an oral analgesic in the form of a decoction
  • Infections such as eye infections, malaria, bacterial infections
  • Snakebites
  • As an aphrodisiac
  • Fevers
  • internal/external bleeding
  • as a diuretic
  • Rheumatism
  • Muscle inflammation
  • irregular heartbeat
  • as an expectorant for coughs and phlegm
  • Testicular inflammation
  • Minor kidney problems

Botanical Description:

Abuta is a woody rainforest vine found throughout the Amazon rainforest in Colombia, Peru, Brazil, and Ecuador. It has long (up to 30 cm) leaves, and produces inedible, grape sized berries.

The vine itself is brownish in colour and has a waxy coating. Its flowers are greenish-yellow in colour,

Leaves are palate or orbicular-reniform, ovate-sub-reniform with truncate cordate base, glabrous, or hairy [2].

Cissampelos contains about 30-40 species, which are distributed throughout the tropics worldwide.

Just like many other botanicals, the common name brings with it a lot of confusion. The common name Abuta, is actually shared by another botanical in the region with the botanical name Abuta grandiflora. This plant is also medicinal but has a whole different set of uses and benefits and should not be substituted for Cissampelos pareira. Other names for this same herb also bring some confusion. In India, the common name for Cissampelos pariera is Patha. The common name patha is used to describe several plants including Cissampelos pariera, Cyclea peltata, and Stephania japonica [2].


Habitat, Ecology, Distribution:

Abuta is found growing throughout the Amazon rainforest, and is also commonly cultivated in gardens. It can also be found throughout the tropics and subtropics worldwide and is commonly a weed in tropical climates.


Harvesting, Collection, and Preparation:


Still compiling research.


Constituents:

Abuta contains a group of chemicals called isowuinoliine alkaloids. These alkaloids can be found across the genus Cissampelos and has been the subject of a large amount of research. The alkaloid tetrandrine has so far received the most attention and has been found to produce pain relieving, anti inflammatory, and fever reducing benefits. It has also been found to possess significant anti-cancer, and beneficial effects against leukemia. However, the therapeutic range discovered to be useful against cancer is significantly higher than can be realistically obtained from the natural plant, and therefore must be extracted and concentrated in order to achieve the results found in these studies. [1].

Tenandrine has also been well studied as a cardiotonic and hypotensive agent through numerous pathways in the body [1].

Berberine can also be found in abuta, which is a fairly common alkaloid found in a wide range of plants. It has known antifungal, hypotensive, and antimicrobial actions and has been used t treat conditions such as an irregular heartbeat, cancer, Candida, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome [1].

Another alkaloid, cissampeline has been used as a skeletal muscle relaxant. [1].

Abuta contains alkaloids, arachidic acid, bebeerine, berberine, bulbocapnine, cissamine, cissampareine, corytuberine, curine, 4-methylcurine, cyclanoline, cycleanine, dicentrine, dehydrodicentrine, dimethyltetrandrinium, essential oil, grandirubrine, hayatine, hayatinine, insularine, isochondodendrine, isomerubrine, laudanosine, linoleic acid, magnoflorine, menismine, norimeluteine, nor-ruffscine, nuciferine, pareirine, pareirubrine alkaloids, pareitropone, quercitol, stearic acid, and tetrandrine. [1].



Pharmacology and Medical Research:

+ Cancer

A novel tropoloisoquinoline alkaloid named pareirubrine A was reported to have antileukemic activity [7].

Another alkaloid, Cissamperine as well as four bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids that were isolated from C. pareira were found to have significant inhibitory activity against human carcinoma (of a nasopharynx cell culture) [8].

+ Inflammation

Inflammation is the bodies response to damage. It is a highly complex centrally regulated process consisting of such events as dilatation of arterioles, venules and capillaries with increased vascular permeability, exudation of fluids, including plasma proteins, and leukocyte migration into the inflammatory area [15]. One of the key initiating features of inflammation is through the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from activated neutrophils and macrophages at the site of damage [16]. These reactive oxygen species then stimulate the release of cytokines (Commonly TNF, and interleukin-1), which in turn stimulate the release of more neutrophils and macrophages. It is because of this imoprtant role of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) in the process of inflammation that makes antioxidant and free radical scavanger therapy so important [17, 18]. In normal circumstances, this process will result in homeostasis fairly quickly once the damage is repaired, however chronic inflammation may develop if lifestyle, or other conditions continue to invoke this immune response, which over a period of time can lead to collateral damage to normal cells, which then results in diseases, including atherosclerosis, bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis glomerulonephritis, and septic shock [19].

Currently the accepted standard for dealing with inflammation both acute and chronic is with the use of antinflammatory agents such as gluricocorticoids, and non-steroidal antinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). These compounds alleviate the symptoms however fail to adress or alleviate the cause of the dissease [20]. NSAIDS for example generally work through blocking the cycloxygenase enzymes invoolved in prostaglandin production (COX-1 and COX-2) [21]. Prolonged use of such compounds bring with it a myriad of negative side effects and damaging effects. Plants are therefore an important source of biolically active medicines and are an important avenue for dicovery of new and effective medicines for conditions including inflammation.

Cissampelos pariera has been found as such to produce a significant antinflammatory action on rats [22].

+ Antiviral

Abuta was found to possess potent antiviral activity on the 4 most prevalent dengue virus serotypes in rats, and as a result was suggested to be considered for standard treatment for this virus. It was also shown to provide a dose dependant protective effect in vivo for this virus [12]. As the result of this study, several patents have been approved for this subject [13, 14].

+ Immunomodulation

The ability for a substance to be immunomodulating is significant with regards to a wide range of conditions, and in promoting longevity. Conditions such as cancer, whereby modern treatments effectively cause immunocompromisation in the affected individual, which may then have a negative impact on both quality of life, and the ability to recover from the cancer, Immunomodulating substances are becoming increasingly popular as an option for alternative cancer therapy, as well as supplementary to chemotherapy and other immunosuppressive treatments for cancer. Immunomodulation is also extremely valuable in the selective immunosuppression is desired as in the case of autoimmune disorders. The idea is that these substances have the ability to both promote and stimulate the immune system during conditions in which they are low, and inhibit or reduce the expression of immune response in cases where the immune system is overactive. This is considered bidirectional activity, and is common among adaptogenic, tonic, and rasayana herbs.

Abuta (Cissampelos pariera) root methanol extract has been found to possess immunomodulating effects [10]. An extract of the alkaloidal fraction from Cissampelos pariera root was found to be an effective modulator of both T cell and B cell mediated immune responses [9].

+ Neuroprotection

Alzheimer's, and other age related cognitive decline, is becoming an ever increasing burden on the health and social system in developed countries. As such it is becoming one of the most important health conditions to be concerned with finding an effective treatment and prevention.

Various causes are at play for cognitive decline, including the accumulation of beta- amyloid plaques, oxidative damage throughout the body and brain, and the vulnerability of various neurotransmitter decline due to stress of toxicity.

One of the current medical treatments for alzheimer's is through the use of antioxidants, and acetylcholinesterase inhibition. This enzyme is reported to be responsible at least in part for the production and accumulation of amyloid plaques, characteristic in Alzheimer's conditions [SOURCE]. Other treatments include using acetylcholine precursers or other modulation of the choline system. This important neurotransmitter is crucial for such processes as memory and concentration.

A combination formula of Cisampelos pariera and Anethum graveolens is suggested to have synergy towards preventing and treating age related cognitive decline. A study investigating the effectiveness and safety of this formula by the Khon Kaen University of Thailand discovered that the formula possesses both cognitive-enhancing effects as well as neuroprotective benefits. Its mechanism of action was reported to be through 2 mechanisms: a reduction in acetylcholinesterase, leading to an increase in acetylcholine, as well as through an increased neuron density in the hippocampus through decreased oxidative damage. These researched hypothesized that this action is due to the polyphenol content, and especially the quercetin content which has known cognitive enhancing and neuroprotective effects [11]. This is significant because the hippocampus is regarded to be particularly vulnerable to oxidative stress from aging, and is an area of the brain essential for cognitive function.

 

Toxicity

Rats given abuta at doses at 10g/kg showed no signs of toxicity, making this herb very safe to consume. [1]. Other studies investigating the antiviral potential of Cisampelos partiera using high doses found no sign of toxicity [12].

Although abuta is an excellent woman's herb, due to its ability to relax the uterus, it is recommended not to take this herb while pregnant unless under the supervision of a natural practitioner.

 

Traditional Chinese Medicine:


In Chinese medicine the root is used as medicine. It is referred to as Xi Sheng Teng.


Synergy:


Cisampelos pariera and  Anethum graveolens was suggested to be synergistic in preventing, and treating age-related cognitive decline. A combination of the 2 were found to possess significant neuroprotective effects through multiple factors ultimately leading to an increase in neuronal density of the hippocampus, and through antiacetylcholinesterase activity [11].

Abuta extract appeared to possess an intrinsic antipyretic activity which could synergize with that of paracetamol in regards to dengue virus treatment [12].


Author:

Justin Cooke

The Sunlight Experiment

Updated: May 2017


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References:

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