Have you ever heard of guaçatonga? Also known in some regions as bugger, white bug or lizard grass, this is a medicinal plant native to Brazil and is part of the country’s traditional medicine, having several uses.
This is because the herb has medicinal properties, being traditionally used to treat problems of gastric ulcers, infections, control of blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose.
Faced with so many benefits, it is considered an herb of great importance. For this same reason, we brought this article with the main properties and what the plant is for according to the latest discoveries of science.
Read on and find out how to use it safely and what precautions you should take. Check out!
Medicinal properties of guaçatonga
Among the main medicinal properties of guaçatonga are its antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral and diuretic actions. ( 1 )
But it is noteworthy that the antioxidant property is important, as it is derived from substances that prevent the production and release of compounds known as free radicals. These elements, in turn, cause various damage and impair the normal functioning of the body.
What is this plant for?
Have you seen the properties of guaçatonga, find out below eight uses of the herb in medicine, check it out!
control blood pressure
One of the traditional indications for guaçatonga is blood pressure control , which is directly derived from the plant’s diuretic properties.
With this, the body filters the blood better and is able to discard excess salt from the body. This is a benefit very similar to the effect of synthetic hypotensive drugs, which lower blood pressure. ( 1 )
Another benefit is the improvement of blood circulation, which can be achieved through the consumption of guaçatonga tea.
This is because the herb stimulates heart function, improving the way blood is pumped to the rest of the body.
There are also hypotensive effects, which reduce pressure in the veins. In addition, guaçatonga, with its diuretic action, improves the functioning of the kidneys and this also contributes to circulation, since kidney diseases are factors that lead to circulatory problems. ( 1 )
treat infectious diseases
Due to its antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties, guaçatonga is considered a powerful remedy against infections, especially those that affect the skin, such as cold sores.
The herb’s phytochemicals act by preventing colonies of these microorganisms from being able to develop. In this way, it is able to stop the cycle and even prevent infections from arising.
An example of this is the herb’s ability to prevent the spread and advancement of the virus that causes malaria. This disease is quite common in some regions of the country and can lead to death. ( 1 , 2 )
Assist in the treatment of gastric ulcers
Another very popular use for bugle grass leaves is in the treatment of gastric ulcers. According to the latest scientific discoveries, the plant works for this purpose for three reasons.
The first one is that the herb is rich in flavonoids, terpenes and coumarin, which are phytochemicals.
In the body, these substances act to protect the stomach mucosa from damage caused by the acid produced by the stomach and also from bacteria that can damage the region. ( 4 )
Second, it was found that guacatonga prevents the release of excess gastric acid and other substances harmful to the body. ( 2 )
Finally, the anti-inflammatory properties of the herb are responsible for helping in healing and reducing discomfort caused by ulcers, the small wounds formed in cases where the disease is already in an advanced stage. ( 3 )
In addition to lowering blood pressure and improving circulation, guacatonga is also great for lowering levels of bad cholesterol in the blood.
LDL, as it is also called, is a type of fat that can accumulate in the arteries and increase the risk of stroke.
In addition, the herb can also reduce triglycerides, another type of fat that is bad for the body in excess. ( 2 )
Lowering Blood Glucose Levels
Another function of guaçatonga is to decrease the levels of glucose in the body. For example, in some parts of Southeast Asia, where the plant is also found, it is used as a traditional medicine for diabetes.
This is because the herb leaves are rich in substances that can reduce this sugar in a natural way, mainly by increasing the body’s energy expenditure.
In practice, what happens is that the body uses more of this sugar, which is a source of energy. Thus, it removes all the excess that is circulating through the bloodstream of those suffering from diabetes mellitus. ( 2 )
help with weight loss
In addition to all these benefits, guaçatonga tea also serves as an enhancer in the weight loss process.
All this thanks to the set of three of its various effects, they are: diuretic action, glucose reduction and cholesterol control.
The reduction in glucose and cholesterol levels also favors weight loss, as it reduces the desire to eat sugary products and reduces the accumulation of fat in organs and muscles. ( 2 )
All of this, combined with a balanced diet and the practice of physical exercise, can make you lose weight in a healthy and constant way. But, of course, there is no such thing as a miracle, it is necessary to have discipline in the diet.
Assist in the treatment of insect and snake bites
Finally, guaçatonga can also be used to alleviate the discomfort caused by insect bites.
This is because the substances found in the plant are able to neutralize toxic elements from the poisons of some animals, such as bees.
Also, the herb is used by traditional medicine in snake bites. According to science, this practice makes sense, as bugle grass inhibits the effects of some toxins and enzymes found in the venoms of some species of snakes and insects, preventing bleeding. ( 2 , 4 )
However, the herb should never be used for this purpose without medical supervision.
Therefore, when being bitten by an animal, it is important to seek emergency care, so that the specific serum for each type of toxin is applied.
How to use the herb correctly?
With guaçatonga it is possible to prepare different recipes, depending on the need. Check out the most common methods of use below:
- Infusion : add 4 grams (1 teaspoon) of the leaves in 200 ml of boiling water and leave for a few minutes. Drink two or three cups a day, without sweetening
- Compress : treatment made from the cooking water of the leaves. To do this, just apply directly to the area affected by insect bites for a few minutes
- Dye : macerate the guaçatonga leaves with alcohol and apply to lesions such as canker sores and cold sores.
Where to find guaçatonga?
Guaçatonga can be found in open markets and natural food stores. The dried herb, ready for making tea, is also sold in virtual and physical herbal product stores.
How to identify?
The guaçatonga ( Casearia sylvestris ) is native to the tropical zones of the South American continent and can be found from the north to the southern region of Brazil.
It is a shrub that can reach between 3 to 4 meters in height and has as one of its main characteristics a small trunk, with a smooth and dark colored bark.
The herb leaves are oval, in a vibrant green tone and with some translucent dots and lines. ( 1 )
Are there any contraindications for use?
Pregnant women should not consume the guaçatonga infusion or tincture, due to the risk of malformation for the fetus. Likewise, it is necessary to avoid the herb while breastfeeding.
In addition, it is not recommended that the plant be used for long periods, as it can reduce the body’s vitamin K levels, increasing the risk of hemorrhagic accidents.
Therefore, tea consumption should not exceed three cups a day.