The mulatto catinga ( Tanacetum vulgare ) is a medicinal herb used to fight intestinal worms, improve digestion, stimulate healing and also as a natural insect repellent.
Known in some regions as tansy, wormwood, ragweed or ragweed, it grows in several states in Brazil, and is even considered a weed in many places.
The plant leaves are rich in various types of phytochemical compounds such as organic acids, tannins, flavonoids , and even vitamin C .
Therefore, they are very aromatic and have various medicinal properties. Find out below its main benefits and tips on how to use the herb.
5 benefits of mulatto catinga
1. Stimulates digestion and improves appetite
Drinking tea or tincture of mulatto catinga after a heavy meal helps to end indigestion .
This is because this herb is rich in substances that give the leaves a bitter taste. ( 1 )
They act as a kind of defense for the plant, keeping away unwanted insects and predators.
But in addition to being a protective mechanism, these phytochemicals are able to stimulate the production of digestive secretions.
A type of acid produced in the stomach that serves precisely to make the digestion of the food you consume and if it is produced in greater quantity, the food is broken down and sent to the intestines faster. ( 2 )
Also because of this effect, taking the infusion a few minutes before meals also serves to whet your appetite , since the production of digestive fluids launches a kind of warning that it is necessary to eat food.
You know that “mouth watering” you feel when you see something tasty? Something similar happens.
2. Fight intestinal worms
Another benefit found in the leaves of the plant is the fight against intestinal parasites, a very common problem in regions without basic sanitation and which can have serious consequences for health.
It has a moderately toxic type of essential oil called thujone, a clear liquid that smells very similar to mint.
Even with this toxic protection , if consumed in small amounts, it has no negative effects on humans.
However, it manages to kill and eliminate some species of adult intestinal worms, ending their reproductive cycle and putting an end to the infestation, hence the popular name of roundworm. ( 3 )
3. Relieves symptoms of rheumatism
It is not only through the consumption of the infusion that the mulatto catinga brings health benefits.
Her extracts can be used in baths or poultices and both are methods that help relieve the symptoms of rheumatism . ( 4 )
This is mainly due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the plant, derived from flavones, flavonoids and sesquiterpenic lactones.
All these names may seem quite complicated, but their action in the body is quite simple as they basically prevent the body from reacting to any provocation.
Understand better! When the body is provoked, it increases the amount of blood that goes to the place it identifies as the source of the problem. But with this blood goes a lot of antibodies and that’s where the problem lies.
Both this large amount of blood and defense cells are the cause of symptoms such as redness , pain and burning seen in rheumatic diseases, which are a type of chronic inflammation.
That is, they don’t have a cure. But by preventing this entire process from occurring, the mulatto catinga brings relief from pain and improves the quality of life of patients with this disease. ( 5 )
4. Controls blood pressure
This herb tea is also useful in controlling high blood pressure , one of the most common cardiovascular problems and a risk factor for more serious problems such as heart attack and even kidney failure.
The plant promotes relaxation and even manages to inhibit the action of a hormone that causes the narrowing of the veins .
Therefore, drinking a cup of this tea makes the blood circulate better , resulting in lowering and controlling blood pressure, which helps to reduce the risk of developing other cardiovascular problems. ( 6 )
5. It is a natural insect repellent
Finally, the essential oil of mulatta catinga is a natural repellent and can be used to help get rid of mosquito bites .
Remember when we said that the plant has some defense mechanisms? Well, volatile compounds, including thujone, are part of this and act to keep away insects, especially mosquitoes, due to the strong aroma that the leaves release.
As the scent of the essential oil forms a kind of protective barrier, it can be applied directly to the skin, in small amounts, or placed on the clothes of people who are more sensitive to the compounds, with the same effectiveness. ( 7 )
How to use the mulatto catinga
It can be used in many different ways. In the form of compresses , which can be made with tea or tincture and applied to the joints, in case of rheumatic problems.
Like tea , which should be taken very carefully and for short periods of time due to thujone’s toxic effects.
In both cases, the method of preparation is very simple: just add 2 tablespoons of the leaves in a liter of boiling water and leave it to soak for about 10 minutes. ( 4 )
Once this is done, just use it in baths, compresses or drink tea slowly and without sweetening.
Care and contraindications
Even with all these benefits, it is necessary to be very careful before starting any treatment with the mulata catinga.
The toxic effects of thujone can kill an adult with a dose ranging between 15 and 30 grams of the compound.
In smaller doses it can cause intoxication , which can have mild or severe symptoms. Among the main signs are: tiredness, tremors, difficulty breathing, increased need to urinate and decreased motor reactions.
However, consumption of up to three cups a day is safe as it has no side effects.
Pregnant women are completely prohibited from taking it, as the herb is a potent abortifacient. Those who are breastfeeding or young children are also on this list, as the plant can cause allergic reactions in children. ( 8 )
Important ! Never start any treatment, even with natural remedies, on your own and never take more than the recommended amount per day. Consult an expert.