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Abuta genus

Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description


Abuta is a genus in the flowering plant family Menispermaceae, of about 32 species, native to tropical Central and South America and usually found in the tropical rain forest. 

The genera Anelasma Miers and Batschia Thunb. have been brought into synonymy with Abuta. Abuta is usually classified in the tribe Anomospermeae Miers, together with Anomospermum Miers.


The Abuta genus is a family of dioecious climbers or rarely erect trees or shrubs (Abuta concolor) with simple leaves. Flowers are in composed panicles. Male flowers: sepals 6, in 2 whorls, petals absent, stamens 6, connate or free, introrse, anthers with a longitudinal or transverse dehiscence. Female flowers: sepals and petals as in male, staminodes 6, carpels 3, drupes ovoid, endocarp woody, condyle septiform, endosperm ruminate, embryo curved, cotyledons appressed.

Medicinal uses


Abuta is one of the components of the arrow poison curare of some indigenous tribes of South America (especially Abuta imene from Colombia), as such one can see that this family of plants needs to be treated with some respect. 

The  roots of Abuta rufescens are used as a medicine in diseases of the urogenital tract, but according to Wikipedia “it is dangerous.”  In contrast Abuta grandiflora has been used medicinally for some time and extracts are sold, principally of the bark.  In effect you have to know which specific plant to use.

Where scientific research interest is currently centred, however, is in the anti-parasitic and anti-malarial activity of the plants.

The dichloromethane extracts of Abuta grandifolia and Minthostachys setosa (Labiatae) demonstrated high larvicidal activity against Aedes aegypti, the most active being the dichloromethane extract of A. grandifolia.


References and further reading

A youtube video Abuta planta medica provides more information and another video Propiedades y beneficios de la Abuta - Para que sirve la Abuta a little more.

There is also a specific film about one species Abuta roja * Paullinia bracteosa.


Related observations