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Anamu (Guinea Hen Weed) Benefits and Uses

Anamu, Guinea-Hen-Weed, Petiveria alliacea

Latin Name: Petiveria alliacea

Family: Phytolaccaceae

Synonyms: Mapa graveolens Vell., P. corrientina Rojas, P. foetida Salisb., P. graveolens (Vell.) Stellfeld, P. hexandria, P. paraguayensis

Common Names: Anamu, Apacin, Apacina, Apazote de Zorro, Aposin, Aveterinaryte, Calauchin, Congo root, Emeruaiuma, Garlic weed, Guinea Henweed, Guinea, Guinea Hen leaf, Gully root, Herbe aux Poules, Hierba de las Gallinitas, Huevo de Gato, Kojo root, Kuan, Kudjuruk, Lemtewei, Lemuru, mal pouri, mapurit, mapurite, Mucura-caa, Mucura, Mucuracáa, Ocano, Payche, Pipi, Tipi, Verbena Hedionda, Verveine Puante, Zorrillo



Anamu is an herbaceous perennial that grow s up to a meter in height. It is indigenous to the Amazon rainfo rest and tropical areas of Central and South Am erica, the C aribbean, and Africa. It is sometimes called “garlic weed” as the plant, and especially the roots, have a strong garlic odour.

Properties and Actions

Abortifacient, analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antileukemic, antimycobacterial, antioxidant, antiproliferative, antipyretic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, antitumorous, antiviral, antiyeast, anxiolytic, cytostatic, cytotoxic, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypoglycemic, immunostimulant, insecticide, stimulant, sedative, sudorific, vermifuge

Parts of Anamu Used Medicinally

Whole Herb

Anamu Uses

Argentina – Antiseptic, colds, diarrhea, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, headache, respiratory tract infections, rheumatism, swellings, toothache, urinary infections

Brazil – Abortive, analgesic, anthelmentic, antirheumatic, asthma, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, arthritis, emmenagogue, cancer, diabetes, diaphoretic, diuretic, fever, headache, inflammation, insecticide, malaria, osteoartritis, poison (arrow), repellant (bat), rheumatism, sedative, spasm, toothache, venereal disease, vermifuge

Colombia – Dentition (caries prevention), parturition, snakebite

Cuba – Abortive, anti-inflammatory, cancer, diabetes

Guatemala- Abscesses, ache (stomach), blood disorders, dermatitis, diarrhea, emmenagogue, erysipelas, fever, furuncles, headache, inflammation (skin), menstruation, pimples, pustules, ringworm, sinusitis, skin disease, skin eruptions, skin fungus, stomach cramps, scrofula

Latin America – Abortifacient, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, hysteria, nerve, spasm, sudorific, vermifuge

Mexico – Abortifacient, boils, catarrh, childbirth, cold, depurative, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, epilepsy, expectorant, fever, headache, heat rash, hives, hysteria, influenza, nerve, paralysis, pimples, pustules,
rabies, repellant (insect), rheumatism, spasm, sudorific, toothhache, tumor, venereal, vermifuge

Nicaragua – Aches, colds, coughs, heart, kidneys, liver, pains, pulmonary disorders, respiratory disorders, snakebite

Paraguay – Abortive, digestive diseases, emmenagogue, fever, flu, insecticide, pain (muscular), sinusitis, skin disease, toothache

Puerto Rico – Abortive, cholera, childbirth, emmenagogue, fever

Peru – Colds, flu, hallucinogenic

Trinidad – Abortifacient, counter-irritant, cystitis, decoagulant, depurative, dysmenorrhea, flu, head cold, venereal, womb

Venezuela – Abortifacient, caries, depurative, emmenagogue, root canal, spasm, sudorific, vermifuge

West Indies – Abortive, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, parturition

Elsew here – Abortifacient, ache (head), analgesic, anthelmentic, antirheumatic, asthma, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, cancer, colds, counterirritant, diaphoretic, diuretic, dysmenorrhea, ecbolic, emmenagogue, expectorant, fever, heachache, insecticide, lung, nerve, parturition, pertussis, piscicide, repellant (bat), repellant (insect), rheumatism, sedative, snakebite, spasm, sudorific, toothache, venereal disease, vermifuge

Contraindications, Interactions, and Side Effects

In some literature it is advised that it should not be used by diabetic and pregnant women.

Preparation and Dosage

General dosage – Decoction of 30 g of whole herb infused or decocted in 1 litre of water. 1/4 cup twice daily. The chemicals are water soluble, therefore, powdered whole herb in tablets or capsules (1–3 grams) daily can be substituted if preferred.

In capsule form, Anamu is often sold to provide immune system support in 400-500 mg doses.

To make Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed tea, the plant’s roots, leaves, and stems cut and sun dried. The dried plant is crushed and brewed. The dried leaves are steeped for several minutes. The tea is consumed for relieving different ailments.


Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, Second Edition by James A. Duke with Mary Jo Bogenschutz-Godwin, Judi duCellier Peggy-Ann K. Duke – pg. 323
Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest, 2nd edition, © 2002, by Leslie Taylor

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