There are two types of embaúba, red and white, but the benefits are the same in both cases. Among the positive effects we can mention the anti-inflammatory, healing and expectorant actions .
In addition to these properties, the leaves, bark and fruit of this plant help protect the heart, kidneys and skin . For all that, it is widely used as a popular home remedy in the state of Amazonas, its place of origin.
However, of all its forms of use, such as syrup and juice, the main and best known is the embaúba tea . And this preparation serves to deal with both internal and external problems.
What is embúaba for?
1. Helps with healing
Wounds and burns can be treated using the plant’s tea, as it has a substance called tannin. This causes it to form a protective film on the affected area, consequently aiding in the growth of new skin in the region. ( 2 , 3 )
2. Protects skin against aging
Another benefit for the skin is its anti-aging action. Factors such as ultraviolet radiation and pollution can accelerate aging due to the oxidizing action of free radicals on cells.
But, when we ingest antioxidant foods and drinks , such as embaúba, the body protects the cell units against the harmful action of unstable molecules. This sequence of activities favors skin integrity, maintaining youth . ( 3 )
3. Fights respiratory diseases
As it is an expectorant, the leaves of the Amazon tree help fight the flu and its main symptoms such as cough , nasal congestion and sore throat. But it also works as a natural treatment for more serious respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis and asthma . ( 4 , 5 , 6 )
4. Helps in the treatment of diabetes
People with diabetes mellitus can benefit from the tea of this plant, as it prevents a very common condition of this disease, hypoglycemia .
Feeling of hunger, weakness, mental confusion, drowsiness and a racing heart are some of the signs of this problem. These are very common situations for those using insulin or oral medication. ( 4 , 5 , 6 )
5. Fights microorganisms and inflammation
There are chemical components in the embaúba that make it antiseptic and antimicrobial. In fact, they damage the cell wall of harmful agents such as bacteria, fungi and protozoa , protecting the body against possible diseases such as inflammation. ( 1 , 2 , 5 , 6 , 7 )
6. Helps control bleeding
In addition to acting on healing, the plant also prevents blood loss , helping to stop this condition. This is because it has an anti-hemorrhagic action, causing plasma proteins to precipitate and activate blood clotting factors.
The leaves of the tree are also considered vasoconstrictors. For those who don’t know, vasoconstriction is a process in which arteries, veins and capillaries contract, helping to control bleeding. ( 2 )
7. Protects the kidneys
This benefit is due to flavonoids, substances responsible for inhibiting an enzyme called arginase, which ends up acting on the inflammatory processes of the kidneys.
The plant extract has potential in the treatment of kidney injury and the most diverse chronic kidney diseases . ( 5 )
8. Lowers blood pressure and benefits the heart
Embaúba tea is a diuretic, and for this reason it helps to control blood pressure . What actually happens is that this effect increases urine flow, eliminating sodium along with the urine.
Thin and elongated, these are the main physical characteristics of the fruits. They appear almost all year round and when they are ripe they have a swollen and soft pulp, in addition to being rich in fibre. For all these reasons, they are the favorite foods of many birds and some mammals.
How to make tea from the leaves?
Bring to boil 100 ml of water and as soon as the liquid comes to a boil, add 4 grams of the plant. Turn off the heat, cover the container and let it steep for up to 5 minutes.
After the specified time, strain the tea and drink it when it is warm. It is neither necessary nor recommended to add sugar, preferring to drink the drink as pure as possible. ( 11 )
The type of embaúba is defined by the color of its flowers, one white and the other red. The respective scientific names of these varieties are Cecropia pachystachya and Cecropia glaziovii .
Both belong to the Cecropiaceae family and may be known by other names depending on the region where they are found. Therefore, they can be imbaúba, umbaúba and sloth tree .
In the latter case, the plant received this code name as it is one of the sloth’s favorites. In addition to living on the tree’s branches, the animal also feeds on the leaves and fruit.
Contraindications of the embaúba
In the literature consulted there is no contraindication for the use of this plant. However, pregnant and lactating women must be especially careful with everything they consume, especially when it comes to medicines, whether natural or not.
Furthermore, even if embaúba is a beneficial plant for the heart, kidneys and skin, and that it treats respiratory diseases, it is recommended to consult a specialist first and then use its tea. ( 13 )