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Known interactions

No interactions found.

What we now about Ice Vine

Scientific Name: Abuta

Other Names: Bejunco de Cerca, Butua, False Pareira, Ice Vine, Pareira Brava, Patacon, Velvetleaf

Who is this for?

Caution: Many plants related to the abuta look similar to it. Reportedly, some abuta products are contaminated with one or more of these similar plants.

Abuta is native to South America and India, where it is used for a great variety of conditions that range from acne to malaria. A few test tube and animal studies performed over the last 40 years seem to indicate that abuta and other plants in the same family have some effectiveness in reducing fever, inflammation (swelling), and infections; but no large, scientific studies verify these effects in humans.

Abuta does contain chemicals that relax muscles, including muscles in the walls of blood vessels, which may give it some ability to lower blood pressure.

In western countries, the main use of abuta is by women to relieve complaints of menstrual cramps due to its effects on the muscles in the uterus. It has not been tested in pregnant women because it may cause uterine contractions or relaxation resulting in possible miscarriages. Therefore, abuta should not be used during pregnancy or when breast-feeding.

When should I be careful taking it?

Very little reliable information is available about abuta. Pregnant women should not take it because it can cause the uterus to relax or contract, possibly leading to a miscarriage or uterine bleeding. Whether abuta is passes to an infant in breast milk is not known. Therefore, its use should be avoided in women who are breast-feeding. Children, the elderly, and individuals with chronic conditions should also avoid using abuta because not enough is known about its effects.

Precautions

In South America, other products from the plants Abuta grandifolia and species of Chrondrodendron are known as abuta or pareira. These products have different uses and properties than the abuta from Cissampelos pareira. If you have any doubt about the source of the product you plan to take, do not use it.

What side effects should I watch for?

No side effects have been reported from using abuta in recommended amounts. However, test tube and animal studies have shown that abuta may have unpredictable effects on heart function and it may lower blood pressure. Therefore, individuals who have heart problems or who take heart or blood pressure medications should use it only with the approval of a doctor.

Abuta has been shown to have antispasmodic effects, which means it can help prevent or lessen muscle contractions — including the muscles in the uterus. Therefore, abuta may cause menstrual periods to start or it may complicate a pregnancy.

What interactions should I watch for?

No interactions between abuta and prescription drugs, non-prescription drugs, other herbal products, or foods have been reported.

However, individuals who take drugs for heart problems, including high blood pressure, should discuss the use of abuta with their doctors before they take it.

Some interactions between herbal products and medications can be more severe than others. The best way for you to avoid harmful interactions is to tell your doctor and/or pharmacist what medications you are currently taking, including any over-the-counter products, vitamins, and herbals.

Should I take it?

Abuta grows in the Amazon basin and other humid, tropical areas of the world. Abuta grows as a vine that reaches up to 20 feet in length. It has long leaves, large berries, and woody stems. The part most frequently used in herbal medicine is the bark, but the leaves and roots have also been used. Abuta berries are not edible.

Similar-looking plants with the scientific names, Abuta grandifolia and Chrondrodendron contain chemicals different from those in abuta. Due to their similar sounding names, abuta from Cissampelos pareira and Abuta grandifolia may be confused. Do not take any abuta product if you are unsure of its origin. Check the package label to be sure that Cissampelos pareira is the main ingredient of the product you choose.

Dosage and Administration

Although dosing for abuta is not standardized, a common recommendation is to take capsules or tablets containing 1 gram to 2 grams of powdered abuta bark twice a day. It is also available as an oral tincture that must be diluted in water before use. If you decide to use abuta, follow the recommendations on the product package exactly and look for the scientific name, Cissampelos pareira, on the ingredient list of the package you buy.

Summary

Known as a "midwife's herb" in South America, abuta is used to treat a wide range of women's complaints. In some parts of the world, it is also used to reduce fever, inflammation, and pain.

In the U.S., abuta is promoted mainly for minor reproductive tract conditions such as menstrual cramping.

Risks

Do not confuse abuta from Cissampelos pareira with Abuta grandifolia. Although the two plants are both called "abuta" in parts of South and Central America, they are very different in composition and use. Another related, but different plant is called pareira in the places where abuta is grown. It, too, has different uses from the abuta sold in the U.S. If you have any doubts about the origin of the product you plan to take, do not take it.

Side Effects

Abuta has relaxing effects on smooth muscles, such as those in the walls of blood vessels and in the uterus. Taking it may lower blood pressure slightly or may cause muscles in the uterus to relax or contract.

Interactions

No interactions have been reported between abuta and prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, other herbal products, or foods. But, because it can relax muscles in the blood vessels, abuta may have a lowering effect on blood pressure. People who also take drugs to lower blood pressure may experience blood pressure that is too low if they take abuta. Signs of low blood pressure are confusion, dizziness, and fainting.

Because few reliable studies of abuta have been conducted, its possible interactions with drugs, foods, and other dietary supplements are not understood completely. Be sure that your doctor or pharmacist is aware of all the prescription and nonprescription medicines you take before you begin to use abuta or any other herbal supplement.

References

Anwer F, Popli SP, Srivastava RM, Khare MP. Studies in medicinal plants. 3. Protoberberine alkaloids from the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn.Experientia. 1968;24(10):999.

Basu DK. Studies on curariform activity of hayatinin methochloride, an alkaloid of Cissampelos pareira. Japanese Journal of Pharmacology. 1970;20(2):246-252.

Bhatnagar AK, Bhattacharji S, Roy AC, Popli SP, Dhar ML. Chemical examination of the roots of Cissampelos pareira linn. IV. Structure and stereochemistry of hayatin. Journal of Organic Chemistry. 1967;32(3):819-820.

Bhatnagar AK, Popli SP. Chemical examination of the roots of Cissampelos pareira Linn. V. Structure and stereochemistry of hayatidin. Experientia. 1967;23(4):242-243.

Francis JK. International Institute of Tropical Forestry. U.S. Forest Service. U.S Department of Agriculture. Cissampelos pareira L. No Date Given. Available at: http://www.fs.fed.us/global/iitf/pdf/Cissampelos%20pareira.pdf Accessed February 3, 2003.

International BioPark Foundation. Abuta. No Date Given. Available at: http://www.biopark.org/peru/abuta.html Accessed February 3, 2003.

Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al, eds. Pharmacist's Letter/Prescriber's Letter. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, 3rd Edition. Stockton CA: Therapeutic Research Facility, 2000.

Kupchan SM, Patel AC, Fujita E. Tumor inhibitors. VI. Cissampareine, new cytotoxic alkaloid from Cissampelos pareira. Cytotoxicity of bisbenzylisoquinoline alkaloids. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 1965;54(4):580-583.

Morita H, Matsumoto K, Takeya K, Itokawa H, Iitaka Y. Structures and solid state tautomeric forms of two novel antileukemic tropoloisoquinoline alkaloids, pareirubrines A and B, from Cissampelos pareira. Chemical and Pharmacological Bulletin (Tokyo).

1993;41(8):1418-1422.Taylor L. Herbal Secrets of the Rainforest, 2nd edition. Roseville, California. Prima Publishing, Inc. 2002.

Tropilab. Cissampelos pareira L. - Abuta. No Date Given. Available at: http://www.tropilab.com/abuta.html Accessed February 3, 2003.

Tshibangu JN, Chifundera K, Kaminsky R, Wright AD, Konig GM. Screening of African medicinal plants for antimicrobial and enzyme inhibitory activity. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 2002;80(1):25-35.


(Note: The above information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare professional. It is not meant to indicate that the use of the product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you.)

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