Pao pereira (Geissospermum vellosii)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 1,2-Dehydrogeissoschizoline, alkaloids, Apocynaceae (family), apogeissoschizine, baillon, bergibita, beta-carboline alkaloid, flavopereirene, flavopereirine, geissoschizoline, geissoschizoline N4-oxide (2), geissospermine, Geissospermum laeve, Geissospermum sericeum,
    Geissospermum velosii, indole alkaloids, Irlbachia alata, PB-100, pereirene, pereirine, vellosine.

Background

  • Pao pereira is an extract of the bark of the Amazonian tree Geissospermum vellosii.

  • Pao pereira is commonly given together with other herbal remedies, including ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba) and the indole alkaloid alstonine. In Brazil, pao pereira is used to treat fever. South American Indian tribes have used pao pereira bark for stimulation of the immune system.

  • Pao pereira contains the alkaloid flavopereirine (also called PB-100). Research suggests that flavopereirine may be active against Plasmodium falciparum, one of the parasites that causes malaria. Flavopereirine may also be useful for the treatment of cancer and viral infections. However, clinical studies in support of pao pereira for any medical condition are lacking in humans.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

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.

No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. 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 health care professional.

  • Anticarcinogenic, anti-malarial, antiviral, fever, hepatitis (hepatitis C), herpes, HIV/AIDS, immune stimulation, prostate cancer (treatment/prevention).

Dosing

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.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for pao pereira in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for pao pereira in children.

Safety

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.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to pao pereira, its constituents, or other members of the Apocynaceae family.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Scientific evidence is lacking on side effects associated with pao pereira.

  • Although this has not been well studied in humans, high levels of pereirine, a compound found in of pao pereira, may cause paralysis, hyperthermia, and death.

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to pao pereira, its constituents, or other members of the Apocynaceae family.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women, due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

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.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Pao pereira may interact with anticancer drugs and antimalarial agents.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Pao pereira may interact with anticancer herbs and supplements and antimalarial herbs and supplements.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

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 www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Aurousseau M. [Comparative study of some pharmacodynamic properties of geissospermine and of its products of hydrolysis or reduction.]. Ann Pharm Fr 1961;19:515-519. View Abstract
  2. Beljanski M, Beljanski MS. Selective inhibition of in vitro synthesis of cancer DNA by alkaloids of beta-carboline class. Exp Cell Biol 1982;50(2):79-87. View Abstract
  3. Beljanski M, Crochet S, Beljanski MS. PB-100: a potent and selective inhibitor of human BCNU resistant glioblastoma cell multiplication. Anticancer Res 1993;13(6A):2301-2308. View Abstract
  4. Bemis DL, Capodice JL, Desai M, et al. beta-carboline alkaloid-enriched extract from the amazonian rain forest tree pao pereira suppresses prostate cancer cells. J Soc Integr Oncol 2009;7(2):59-65. View Abstract
  5. Bertani S, Bourdy G, Landau I. Evaluation of French Guiana traditional antimalarial remedies. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;98(1-2):45-54. View Abstract
  6. Munoz V, Sauvain M, Bourdy G, et al. A search for natural bioactive compounds in Bolivia through a multidisciplinary approach. Part I. Evaluation of the antimalarial activity of plants used by the Chacobo Indians. J Ethnopharmacol 2000;69(2):127-137. View Abstract
  7. Puiseux F, Le Hir A, Goutarel R, et al. [On the alkaloids of “pao-pereira”, Geissospermum laeve (Vellozo) Baillon. Note III. Geissoschizoline, apogeissoschizine and geissospermine]. Ann Pharm Fr 1959;17:626-633. View Abstract
  8. Steele JC, Veitch NC, Kite GC, et al. Indole and beta-carboline alkaloids from Geissospermum sericeum. J Nat Prod 2002;65(1):85-88. View Abstract

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.