Japecanga tea: what is it for, how to make it and contraindications

This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Have you ever heard of japecanga tea? The drink is a powerful natural remedy used in the treatment of various diseases, especially inflammation and allergies.

It also helps to strengthen the immune system, lower glucose and lower bad blood cholesterol.

Due to its actions, the infusion, which is usually prepared with the root of several plants of the smilax genus , has several applications in traditional Brazilian medicine. And, depending on the region of Brazil, these herbs can be called japecanga or sarsaparilla.

Do you want to know more about this natural remedy and find out what the japecanga tea is for according to science?

So, keep reading this article, because in it you will also learn how to prepare this drink and what precautions are necessary when consuming it. Check out!

What is japecanga tea for?

Among the herb’s benefits are its diuretic and depurative properties . ( 1 ) Thus, the plant increases urine production and helps eliminate toxins circulating in the blood .

In addition, sarsaparilla is a natural anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. ( 2 ) Also contains antifungal , antibacterial and antiviral properties. ( 1 , 3 , 4 )

This means to say that it can inhibit the proliferation of microorganisms, which can cause various diseases and harm the body’s functioning.

Last but not least, japecanga is an antioxidant . Therefore, it protects the body from cell wear. ( 5 )

All these properties make japecanga have different uses. Check out the top seven applications of herb tea below!

Strengthen the immune system

One of the main uses of tea made with japecanga root is to strengthen the immune system.

This is because this part of the herb is rich in substances that increase the production of white blood cells and other defense cells in the body, such as antibodies.

In practice, this benefit makes the body more prepared to deal with the onset of diseases, consequently, it serves to improve health and quality of life. ( 3 )

In addition, the plant’s antibacterial properties also help to strengthen the body.

Thus, the infusion prepared with the herb strengthens the body and helps to eliminate microorganisms that can be harmful to health.

All this makes it effective, and widely used, in the treatment of herpes, since the virus usually manifests itself in cases of low immunity. ( 4 )

Treat Inflammatory Problems

First of all, it is necessary to understand that inflammation is a natural process in the body and serves to help it get rid of an infection more quickly.

In other words, inflammation happens when more blood and the body’s defense cells are sent to the affected site.

In this area, enzymes release substances that serve to prevent the problem from spreading and reaching other tissues. This entire process raises the temperature of the area, making it hot, red and painful.

What japecanga does is prevent these substances from being released. In their place, the plant increases defense cells, making the body destroy what caused the infection, recovering faster.

Due to these effects, japecanga tea is used in cases of rheumatism, allergies and even to help treat asthma attacks . All these problems are caused by inflammatory processes. ( 2 , 3 )

Assist in acne treatment

Another common use of the infusion by folk medicine is to treat acne , especially the dreaded pimples. In these cases, the plant acts because of two aforementioned properties, the anti-inflammatory and the antibacterial.

According to the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), “acne is the name given to pimples and blackheads that arise due to an inflammatory process in the sebaceous glands and pilosebaceous follicles”. (6)

Therefore, the infusion of japecanga reduces inflammation and the proliferation of bacteria that cause this process.

Thus, it helps to reduce the inflammatory process, which can be quite painful, and speeds up healing in a natural way. ( 2 , 3 )

Decrease fluid retention

Do you know that feeling of swelling, especially in the legs? Well know that it can be caused by fluid retention , but japecanga tea can also act beneficially in these cases.

As the root of the plant is a diuretic, it increases the production of urine by the kidneys and, consequently, there is a reduction in the fluid retained by the cells.

Another benefit attached to this is the debugging effect. For this reason, the plant helps to eliminate toxins that can harm the human body. ( 1 )

Decrease muscle pain

Japecanga root can help reduce muscle pain , as it is rich in analgesic substances. In other words, a cup of tea can be a substitute for synthetic drugs and without their side effects. ( 2 , 4 )

Due to its anti-inflammatory action, the plant is also an option for those who suffer from joint pain caused by inflammatory problems such as arthritis.( 3 )

reduce glucose

Japecanga tea can be used to control blood glucose levels. This process derives from the presence of a substance called chlorogenic acid, also found in other vegetables, such as green coffee .

In the body, this acid works by preventing the production of an enzyme responsible for transforming the ingested carbohydrate into glucose. In this way, there is a natural reduction in the sugar that circulates in the blood. ( 7 )

However, it must be remembered that no tea should be used as a substitute for traditional treatments without the advice of a doctor.

Therefore, if you are a diabetic, it is important to seek professional advice before using japecanga.

Reduce bad cholesterol

Japecanga tea reduces the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in the blood due to the presence of substances that act as natural “detergents” and are called saponins.

This fat-reducing process happens because saponins bind with cholesterol in foods and become insoluble.

In practice, this means that cholesterol is not absorbed and is later discarded in the faeces.

Thus, the infusion provides a gradual reduction in cholesterol. In addition, it helps to reduce the risk of stroke and several other diseases. ( 7 )

How to make japecanga tea?


  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of japecanga root.

Preparation method:

The first step is to bring the water with the japecanga to the fire until it starts to bubble.

After that, turn off the heat and smother the infusion, leaving it to rest for 5 minutes. After that, just strain and drink the tea.

Acne compresses

Because it has an anti-inflammatory and healing action against acne, japecanga is also used to make compresses in the treatment of pimples. ( 2 , 3 )

To do this, boil two cups of water with five tablespoons of dried root, for 15 minutes. Then squelch for another 10 minutes and strain.

Finally, moisten the japecanga tea with gases and apply it to the skin. Let the natural remedy act for five minutes and remove under running water.

Where to find the plant?

Japecanga root can be found in health food stores and street markets.

But if your city does not have a specialized store, look on the internet, as there are several websites that sell natural products.

Cautions and contraindications for use

In the research carried out by Remédio Caseiro, no contraindication for the use of japecanga was found. However, like any other medicinal herb some care is needed.

For example, pregnant women, nursing mothers and children should only consume tea under medical advice. The same happens with people who have chronic diseases or use controlled medications.

In addition, it is always important to pay attention to the amount ingested and never exceed three cups of tea a day. ( 2 )

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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