Manacá has a long history of indigenous use for both medicine and
magic. In Brazil herbalists use the root as a laxative and blood
cleanser, for syphilis, rheumatism, scrofula, dermatosis, and to
promote menstrual flow. In South American herbal medicine, the root
of manacá is said to stimulate the lymphatic system. Practitioners
and herbalists in the United States use Manacá as a diuretic,
laxative, and anti-inflammatory to treat arthritis and rheumatism,
sexually-transmitted diseases, and to stimulate the lymphatic system
and disperse uric acid. In Europe the plant is used for arthritis,
rheumatism, bronchitis, fevers, and snakebite.
Properties/Actions Documented by Research: analgesic
(pain-reliever), anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant (blood thinner),
antimutagenic (cellular protector), antispasmodic, central nervous
system depressant, febrifuge (reduces fever), insecticide,
refrigerant (lowers body temperature).
Cautions: Manacá has a traditional use as an abortive. No
clinical studies have been performed to indicate its safety during
pregnancy; therefore, it is contraindicated for pregnant women.
Manacá root is reported to have toxicity in large doses - causing
excessive salivation, vertigo, general anesthesia, partial paralysis
of the face, swollen tongue, and disturbed vision. Avoid dosages
higher than the traditional remedy indicates. Those allergic to
aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) should avoid using manacá. Manacá
contains salicylate and several of its derivatives. Salicylate
occurs naturally in plants; for some people, too much salicylate
causes problems (known as "salicylate sensitivity" or "salicylate
intolerance") without being allergic to aspirin. Do not use manacá
if sensitive to salicylate. Manacá root contains coumarins - plant
chemicals known to thin the blood. Those taking blood-thinning
medications such as coumadin should use manacá only under the
direction and supervision of a qualified healthcare practitioner to
monitor these effects. The plant chemical scopoletin has been
documented to inhibit monoamine oxidase. Those taking monoamine
oxidase (MAO) inhibitors should consult their healthcare
practitioner before taking manacá.
Drug Interactions: None reported; however, manacá may
potentiate blood-thinning medications such as Warfarin® and heparin.
It may potentiate monoamine oxidase inhibitor drugs also.