Part of Series – Healing Herbs –

Traveling through the Amazon has been a gift that allow me to share with many indigenous communities, I have discovered so many plants & uses, some of them I have included at my diet, today I would like to share the Maytenus Laevis. Native to the Amazon Rainforest and other parts of South America, Chuchuhuasi translates as “trembling back” due to its effectiveness as a remedy for back pain, immune boots, arthritis, and rheumatism, etc. It has been used by the indigenous peoples and local healers, known as “curanderos“, for its healing properties as a pain reliever, digestive aid, a general tonic for overall well being. For other posts related to herbal Medicine please click Here;-).


Whilst “Chuchuhuasi” has a long history of use as a healing and medicinal plant in its own right, it also has mystical uses that have long been known to the indigenous Shamans of the Amazon.  Known as “Chucuhuasi Tree Medicine”, this tree is revered as a sacred teacher plant and used by shamans for its curative/spiritual qualities. It can be used as part of a shamanic dieta or as an admixture to Ayahuasca. Additionally, when taken daily, Chuchuhuasi can assist in overcoming the challenge of sustained Ayahuasca use and the ‘dietas’ (controlled diet) that are usually associated with this method of accelerated personal development

Immune Boosting

Chuchuhuasi ( Maytenus Laevis) is classed as an adaptogen – a specific class of herbs that help to balance, restore and protect the body from external stressors, ranging from extremes in temperature to colds, infections, trauma and stress.

Chuchuhuasi’s adaptogenic qualities allow it to function as an “immunomodulator”, meaning it can either up-regulate or down-regulate the immune system in response to external stimuli. It helps to recharge exhausted adrenal glands as when these glands become overtaxed it can lead to a cascade of systems breaking down within the body. Chuchuhuasi diffuses rapidly in the body, revitalizing the essence (Jing) and supporting kidney energy

Second Chakra

Maytenus krukovii influences all the organs and systems associated with the second chakra. This includes sexual/reproductive organs, adrenals, kidneys, bladder, digestion, immune system, bones and teeth. Various studies have confirmed the analgesic, anti-inflammatory, gastro-protective and immune-stimulating properties of the bark


Chuchuhuasi is also powerfully anti-inflammatory, and an analysis of its chemical properties was conducted by a team of scientists back in 1982 to establish the active principles of this herb. They concluded: “The presence of phenoldienones (tingenone, 22-hydroxytingenone), a catechin (4′-methyl-(-)-epigallocatechin) and proanthocyanidins (Ouratea-proanthocyanidins A and B) was established. The biological activities of these compounds confirm the properties of the extracts of the plant claimed by traditional medicine.

One of the most popular and enduring uses of this herb is as a remedy for arthritis and the pain and swelling associated with rheumatism. In Peruvian herbal medicine systems, Chuchuhuasi alchohol extracts are used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

The bark is rich in several alkaloids, tannins, triterpenes and sesquiterpenes, and it is thought that the pyridine alkaloids in the bark may be primarily responsible for its anti-arthritic effects.

In a study by ”Sphinx Phatmaceuticals” of Durham, North Carolina, Chuchuhuasi bark was found to contain agents that inhibit the action of protein kinase C (PKC). Evidence suggests that over production of PKC is implicated in many degenerative and inflammatory diseases. It is thought that the ability of Chuchuhuasi to inhibit its activity is partly responsible for its effectiveness in the treatment of arthritis.

Menstrual Disorders

The ability of Chuchuhuasi to function as an adaptogen makes it effective to tone, balance and strengthen female hormonal systems. It is an emmenogogue (menstrual stimulant), and can bring regularity to irregular periods. It can also be used to ease menstrual pains and cramps due to its muscle relaxant properties

Typical Use

Chuchuhuasi Tea

1 – 2 teaspoons of chipped bark per person. Boil for a few minutes before transferring to a pot and allowing to steep for a few minutes. 

Chuchuhuasi Extract Powder

Add to water, fruit juice, smoothies or encapsulate. Take 1/2 to 1 gram 3 times a day or as recommended by your herbal practitioner

Chuchuhuasi Tincture

Can be added to fruit juice or water and taken daily. Traditionally Taken: 1-3 ml up to three times a day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.


Chuchuhausi is a powerhouse of triterpenes, favonols, and sesquiterpene alkaloids. The pyridine alkaloids in the bark are likely responsible for its anti-arthritic effects. One study found its pain relieving and anti-inflammatory action to be more potent than ibruprofen (Salazar-Granara, 2012). It also contains alkaloids which inhibit protein kinase C (PKC), an enzyme implicated in arthritis. Elevated PKC is also indicated in a wide variety of disease processes including asthma, brain tumors, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. A number of chemicals have been identified with antitumour activity. Tingenone and pristimeran are effective against skin cancers according to one study. Also new sesquiterpene compounds plus mayteine and maytansine have displayed some antitumour activitity. Chuchuhuasi has also be found effective against leishmaniasis, a tropical parasitic disease causing skin lesions.


Molecular Scientific Research

Gonzalez, J.G.; delle Monache, G.; delle Monache, F.; Marini-Bettolo, G.B. Chuchuhuasha – a drug used in folk medicine in the Amazonian and Andean areas. A chemical study of Maytenus laevis. J Ethnopharmacol, 1982, 5(1), 73-7