- 3-oxofriedelan-28-oic acid, 3-oxofriedelan-29-oic acid, 24(Z)-3-oxodammara20(21),24-dien-27-oic acid, 28,29-dihydroxyfriedelan-3-one, agarofuran sesquiterpenes, canophyllol, catechin tannins, Celastraceae (family), Celastrus macrocarpus, chocha huasha (shipibo-conibo), chu chu huasu, chucchu huashu, chuchasha, chuchuasi, chuchuhuasha, chuchuhuasi, chuchuwasha, chuchuwasha blanca, dammarane-type terpeines, dulcitol, ebenifoline alkaloids, epigallocatechin, euojaponine alkaloids, friedelane-type triterpenes, Haenkea macrocarpa, Haenkea multiflora, hydroxytingenone, isoxuxuarine B alpha, isoxuxuarine B beta, krukovine A, krukovine B, krukovine triterpenes, laevisine alkaloids, macrocarpin triterpenes, macrocarpins, makrocarpine, maytansine, mayteine, maytenin, maytenoic acid, Maytenus boaria, Maytenus chuchuhuasca, Maytenus colasii, Maytenus diversifolia, Maytenus ebenifolia, Maytenus
guyanensis, Maytenus krukovii, Maytenus laevis, Maytenus macrocarpa, Maytenus multiflora, Maytenus terapotensis, mebeverine, octa-nor-13-hydroxydammara-1-en-3,17-dione, ouratea-proanthocyanidin A, ouratea-proanthocyanidin B, phenoldienones, pristimeran, pristimerin, pristimerine, proanthocyanidins, sesquiterpenes, tingenone, triterpenes, xuxuÃ¡, xuxuasin A, xuxuasin B.
- Note: The name “catuaba” may be used for the infusions of the bark of several trees that are native to Brazil. The most widely used barks are derived from the trees Trichilia catigua and Erythroxylum vacciniifolium; however, “catuaba” may also refer to the bark of Maytenus species. Catuaba is a remedy common in Brazilian folk medicine.
Maytenus species may be found around the world and may be used in a variety of traditional medicine systems. This monograph, however, will focus on Maytenus species from South America that are more commonly associated with chuchuhuasi. According to a review, several different species may be referred to as “chuchuhuasi,” which may cause some confusion. In addition to Maytenus macrocarpa, Maytenus species that are generally used as chuchuhuasi may also include, but may not be limited to, Maytenus
chuchuhuasha) and Maytenus
laevis, and occasionally Maytenus colasii (Salacia colasii). Other species that have been associated with chuchuhuasi include Maytenus ebenifolia, Maytenus boaria, and Maytenus
guyanensis (according to secondary sources). Typically, however, Maytenus macrocarpa, Maytenus
chuchuhuasha), and Maytenus
laevis are the more widely accepted species for chuchuhuasi. Some secondary sources cite that Maytenus ilicifolia is used as chuchuhuasi; however, expert opinion indicates that this species should not be associated with chuchuhuasi. This monograph focuses on Maytenus macrocarpa, Maytenus
chuchuhuasha), and Maytenus
laevis, in addition to Maytenus ebenifolia, Maytenus boaria, Maytenus
guyanensis, and to a lesser extent, Maytenus colasii.
- Chuchuhuasi refers to several different species of the Maytenus genus. Maytenus may be found around the world and may be used in a variety of traditional medicine systems. Typically, however, Maytenus macrocarpa, Maytenus krukovii (Maytenus
chuchuhuasha), and Maytenus laevis are the more widely accepted species for chuchuhuasi. These and other native South American plants of the Maytenus genus may be found in the tropical rainforests.
- The bark, roots, and leaves of various species referred to as “chuchuhuasi” have been used in ethnomedicine for many purposes, including the treatment of rheumatism, due to claims of anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. Chuchuhuasi has also been used for tuberculosis, bronchitis, stomachache, and fever. Chewing the bark of the chuchuhuasi is considered by traditional medicine experts to be effective for the treatment of diarrhea, arthritis, and menstrual problems.
- Chuchuhuasi may contain a variety of active substances. Limited research suggests that chuchuhuasi may be useful in the treatment of skin cancer. However, further research is needed. Clinical evidence supporting the use of chuchuhuasi for any condition in humans is lacking.
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:
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.
Adults (18 years and older)
- For general use, herbal experts have suggested that chuchuhuasi be taken before breakfast for at least a month to be effective. The following dosages have been suggested for taking by mouth: 60 drops (2 milliliters) of chuchuhuasi bark extract 2-3 times daily; as a water extract, one cup 2-3 times daily; or 3-5 milliliters of tincture 2-3 times daily. A concentrated powder extract (1-3 grams daily) may be used to make a tea or consumed in a smoothie. Other dosing suggestions include boiling one tablespoon of ground chuchuhuasi in one liter of water for 20 minutes, straining, and chilling overnight, then drinking three cups daily between meals.
- For arthritis and rheumatism, one cup of a bark extract taken by mouth three times daily for more than one week has been suggested. Boiling a small piece of the bark (five centimeters, or approximately two inches) in two liters of water until one liter remains and then drinking the extract three times daily for one week has been suggested.
- As a stimulant, boiling a small piece of the bark (five centimeters, or approximately two inches) in two liters of water until one liter remains and then drinking the extract three times daily for one week has been suggested.
- As a tonic, the inner bark of Maytenus krukovii may be chewed, or extracted and taken by mouth, before eating breakfast for one month.
Children (under 18 years old)
- There is no proven safe or effective dose for chuchuhuasi in children.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
- Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to chuchuhuasi, its constituents, or members of the Celastraceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
- Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery, as chuchuhuasi may increase drowsiness and promote relaxation.
- Avoid in pregnant women, as Maytenus macrocarpa has been used traditionally for birth control and to induce abortion.
- Avoid in individuals with known allergy or hypersensitivity to chuchuhuasi, its components, or members of the Celastraceae family.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
- Avoid in pregnant women, as Maytenus macrocarpa has been used traditionally for birth control and to induce abortion. Chuchuhuasi is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
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.
Interactions with Drugs
- Chuchuhuasi may interact with antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, anti-inflammatory agents, and antiprotozoals.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
- Chuchuhuasi may interact with antibacterials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, anti-inflammatory herbs, antioxidants, and antiparasitics.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.
- This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration ().
- Bruni R, Rossi D, Muzzoli M, et al. Antimutagenic, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of Maytenus krukovii bark. Fitoterapia 2006;77(7-8):538-545.
- Cespedes CL, Alarcon J, Aranda E, et al. Insect growth regulator and insecticidal activity of beta-dihydroagarofurans from Maytenus spp. (Celastraceae). Z Naturforsch C 2001;56(7-8):603-613.
- Chavez H, Callo N, Estevez-Braun, A., et al. Sesquiterpene polyol esters from the leaves of maytenus macrocarpa. J Nat Prod 1999;62(11):1576-1577.
- Chavez H, Estevez-Braun A, Ravelo AG, et al. Friedelane triterpenoids from Maytenus macrocarpa. J Nat Prod 1998;61(1):82-85.
- Gonzalez AG, Bazzocchi IL, Moujir L, et al. Ethnobotanical Uses of Celastraceae Bioactive Metabolites. Studies in Natural Products Chemistry 2000;23:649-738.
- Gonzalez JG, delle Monache G, delle Monache F, et al. Chuchuhuasha – a drug used in folk medicine in the Amazonian and Andean areas. A chemical study of Maytenus laevis. J Ethnopharmacol 1982;5(1):73-77.
- Kloucek P, Polesny Z, Svobodova B, et al. Antibacterial screening of some Peruvian medicinal plants used in Calleria District. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;99(2):309-312.
- Kloucek P, Svobodova B, Polesny Z, et al. Antimicrobial activity of some medicinal barks used in Peruvian Amazon. J Ethnopharmacol 2007;111(2):427-429.
- Melo AM, Jardim ML, De Santana CF, et al. [First observations on the topical use of Primin, Plumbagin and Maytenin in patients with skin cancer]. Rev Inst Antibiot (Recife) 1974;14(1-2):9-16.
- Morita H, Hirasawa Y, Muto A, et al. Antimitotic quinoid triterpenes from Maytenus chuchuhuasca. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2008;18(3):1050-1052.
- Nakagawa H, Takaishi Y, Fujimoto Y, et al. Chemical constituents from the Colombian medicinal plant Maytenus laevis. J Nat Prod 2004;67(11):1919-1924.
- Perez-Victoria JM, Tincusi BM, Jimenez IA, et al. New natural sesquiterpenes as modulators of daunomycin resistance in a multidrug-resistant Leishmania tropica line. J Med Chem 1999;42(21):4388-4393.
- Sanz-Biset J, Campos-de-la-Cruz J, Epiquien-Rivera MA, et al. A first survey on the medicinal plants of the Chazuta valley (Peruvian Amazon). J Ethnopharmacol 2009;122(2):333-362.
- Shirota O, Sekita S, Satake M, et al. Nine regioisomeric and stereoisomeric triterpene dimers from Maytenus chuchuhuasca. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2004;52(6):739-746.
- Torpocco V, Chavez H, Estevez-Braun A, et al. New dammarane triterpenes from Maytenus macrocarpa. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 2007;55(5):812-814.
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to . Selected references are listed below.