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Rainforest Plants – Ayapana

Tony Mandarich

Family: Asteraceae Taxon: Ayapana triplinervis

Synonyms: Eupatorium ayapana, Eupatorium triplinerve

Common names: aypana, aiapana, aiapaina, aipana, cagueña, curia, daun panahan, daun perasman, diapalma iapana, diarana-guaco, japana, japana-branca, sekrepatoe wiwir, pool root, white snakeroot, yapana

General Description: Ayapana is a small ornamental herb with aromatic leaves with interesting medicinal properties. It is a member of a genus with more than 14 species. They are all tropical and perennial herbs, and are cousins of the genus Eupatorium with which they are sometimes confused. They are all in the large Asteraceae plant family that includes sunflowers and daisies. The Amazon rainforests of Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and the Guyanas are home to these plants. Ayapana is planted in other areas for medicinal purposes.

Uses: There is some thought in the research community that Ayapana may have properties that inhibit tumor growth (antineoplastic); this herb is used to treat malignant tumors in Peru and Argentina. Other Amazonian medicinal uses for this herb include angina, gastric ulcers, cholera, eye and ear problems. Healers in Surinam, Guyana, and French Guiana use this herb to reduce fever, fight infections and as an aid for digestion.

This herb has been used medicinally for many years. The American Journal of Pharmacy printed information about this plant as early as 1887: “The leaves are recommended against indigestion, pectoral complaints and in cholera, and were used for similar purposes in Europe in the early part of the present century.”

Ayapana is also used in alternative herbal medicine beyond the Amazon rainforest. Ayapana extract is used in the cosmetic industry for skin protection and revitalization. Part of the problem with use of this herb, however, lie in the fact that few clinical studies exist that document its medicinal properties. Laboratory tests, chemical analyses and toxicity studies on Ayapana triplinervis have not been reported. Clinical research needs to be conducted on the potential value of this herb in medical science.

Disclaimer: The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any reference to medicinal use is not intended to treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any disease.

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