Chuchuhuasi, Chuchuhuasha, Chuchuaso and Gnikélé are common names within the genus of Maytenus used in traditional medicine. Studies have shown Maytenus' medicinal values for soothing nerve responses and for menstruation, as consistent with traditional use.
Chuchuhuasi describes the species of Maytenus macrocarpa and possibly other species of Maytenus from the Amazon rainforest. Chuchuhuasha or Chuchuaso is the common name of Maytenus laevis. Gnikélé is the name of Maytenus senegalensis which is from the African continent.
The genus of Maytenus (Maytenus Spp.) was formerly recognized as Gymnosporia (Spp.).
Research has shown that the chemical pristimern from species of Maytenus slows the spread of breast cancer.
Use for menstrual cramps
Maytenus has anti-inflamatory, anti-spasm and pain relieving properties that assist with menstrual cramp pain (dysmenorrhea). This effect was shown in Gnikélé (Maytenus senegalensis) for its pain-relieving and anti-inflamatory effects. Maytenus rigida specifically demonstrated an anti-spasm effect. These effects seem common generally amongst species of Maytenus, as of how its use is described throughout traditional medicine.
The parts of Maytenus plants that are used are its bark and root.
Alternatives for menstrual cramps
Also useful for reducing menstrual cramps are of the Viburnum genus: Cramp Bark (V. opulus) and Black Haw (V. prunifolium).
While Maytenus (Chuchuhuasi) and Viburnum species alleviate symptoms of menstrual cramps, there are other herbs that typically lower heavy menstruation. Such herbs usually have prolactin or progesterone qualities and they include hops, asparagus (Shatavari) and kudzu (Pueraria).
- Medicinal Plants Traditionally Used in Mali for Dysmenorrhea. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3252716/.
- Antispasmodic effect of 4'-methylepigallocatechin on guinea pig ileum. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22626748.
- Chuchuhuasha - a drug used in folk medicine in the Amazonian and Andean areas. A chemical study of Maytenus laevis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7033668.
- Pristimerin inhibits breast cancer cell migration by up- regulating regulator of G protein signaling 4 expression. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22799288.
- The Plant List: Maytenus. http://www.theplantlist.org/1.1/browse/A/Celastraceae/Maytenus/.