Abuta grows in the Amazon basin and other humid, tropical areas of the world. It is known as a "midwife's herb" in South America and is used to treat a variety of women's complaints. In some parts of the world, abuta is used to reduce fever, inflammation, and pain. In the United States, abuta is used mainly for minor reproductive tract conditions such as menstrual cramping.
Abuta may function as an emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant). However, there are no human trials that have determined the safety and effectiveness of the abuta plant on the menstrual cycle. Future research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
Documented uses in traditional medicine show that abuta is used as a diuretic (increases urine flow), expectorant (expels phlegm), emmenagogue, and antipyretic (reduces fever). It is also used to prevent abortion, relieve heavy menstrual bleeding, and stop uterine hemorrhages (bleeding). Powdered abuta bark has also used for menstrual complaints.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Safety and effectiveness have not been proven for any dose. For menstrual complaints, 1-2 grams of powdered abuta bark in tablets or capsules has been used twice daily. Abuta has also been taken as a 4:1 tincture in a dose of 2-4 milliliters twice daily.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend abuta for use in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to abuta or any component of the formulation should not take abuta.
Side Effects and Warnings
Currently, there is not enough available evidence about the safety of abuta. Use in pregnant women is not advised due to possible abortion-inducing effects, although there is controversy in this area.
Be aware that many plants related to abuta look alike. Some abuta products may be contaminated with these similar plants.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Abuta is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Abuta may cause abortion, although there is controversy in this area.
Ahmad R, Cava MP. Grisabine and grisabutine, new bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Abuta grisebachii. J Org.Chem 6-24-1977;42(13):2271-2273.
Amresh Reddy GD, Rao CV, Shirwaikar A. Ethnomedical value of Cissampelos pareira extract in experimentally induced diarrhoea. Acta Pharm 2004;54(1):27-35.
Anwer F, Popli SP, Srivastava RM, et al. Studies in medicinal plants. 3. Protoberberine alkaloids from the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn. Experientia 10-15-1968;24(10):999.
Basu DK. Studies on curariform activity of hayatinin methochloride, an alkaloid of Cissampelos pareira. Jpn J Pharmacol 1970;20(2):246-252.
Bhatnagar AK, Popli SP. Chemical examination of the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn. V. Structure and stereochemistry of hayatidin. Experientia 4-15-1967;23(4):242-243.
Cava MP, Saa JM, Lakshmikantham MV, et al. Panurensine and norpanurensine, new bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Abuta panurensis. J Org.Chem. 9-5-1975;40(18):2647-2649.
Ciccia G, Coussio J, Mongelli E. Insecticidal activity against Aedes aegypti larvae of some medicinal South American plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;72(1-2):185-189.
Fischer DC, Amorim Gualda NC, Bachiega D, et al. In vitro screening for antiplasmodial activity of isoquinoline alkaloids from Brazilian plant species. Acta Trop 2004;92(3):261-266.
Galeffi C, Scarpetti P, Marini-Bettolo GB. New curare alkaloids. II. New bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Abuta grisebachii (Menispermaceae). Farmaco [Sci] 1977;32(12):853-865.
Kupchan SM, Patel AC, Fujita E. Tumor inhibitors. VI. Cissampareine, new cytotoxic alkaloid from Cissampelos pareira. Cytotoxicity of bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. J Pharm Sci 1965;54(4):580-583.
Morita H, Matsumoto K, Takeya K, et al. Structures and solid state tautomeric forms of two novel antileukemic tropoloisoquinoline alkaloids, pareirubrines A and B, from Cissampelos pareira. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1993;41(8):1418-1422.
Ramirez I, Carabot A, Melendez P, et al. Cissampeloflavone, a chalcone-flavone dimer from Cissampelos pareira. Phytochemistry 2003;64(2):645-647.
Steele JC, Simmonds MS, Veitch NC, et al. Evaluation of the anti-plasmodial activity of bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids from Abuta grandifolia. Planta Med 1999;65(5):413-416.
Sur RN, Pradhan SN. Studies on cissampelos alkaloids. I. Action of hayatin derivatives on the central nervous system of cats and dogs. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther 11-1-1964;152:106-114.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.