Ayapana - Eupatorium ayapana

I just completed the update on Ayapana, wrote the new text for the 2nd edition of my book, and uploaded it into the Tropical Plant Database. Ayapana was not in the first edition of my book but it will be included as a new rainforest plant in the 2nd edition of The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs.  

Ayapana has three different Latin names (Ayapana triplinervis, Eupatorium ayapana, and Eupatorium triplinerve) but all three names refer to the same plant.  This made it a bit more time-consuming searching for all the clinical studies and published research on the plant since all three botanical names have been used when publishing studies on ayapana.

I was happy to see more research published on ayapana  over the last few years that continues to validate it's traditional uses in herbal medicine systems as a good remedy for liver problems which it has been widely used for. Two of these studies were conducted on the active chemicals in ayapana that were documented with liver-protecting actions.   New antimicrobial studies published on ayapana continue to support it's long standing traditional uses for colds and flu as well as other infections. 

I was surprised to see a new study which reported that ayapana could whiten or lighten the skin by interfering with a cellular process that produces melanin in skin cells.  Melanin is the chemical that allows our skin to tan in the sun.  Fair-haired and fair-skinned people like me produce less melanin than others, resulting in sunburns.  I'll be watching for more reports on this possible action since this study was pretty preliminary and done in vitro (in the test tube) rather than actual animal or human studies.  Personally, I need all the melanin I can get!  Of other interest, ayapana has recently been documented to have  mild sedative, and good anti-anxiety and antidepressant actions in a study with mice. I’m not quite sure how you make a mouse depressed, but, this study did look interesting.  There are far too many people relying on prescription antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs in America and I wish there were more natural alternatives.

Personally, I've often used ayapana as a natural remedy for colds and flu.  Unlike many strong medicinal plants that have a strong, and oftentimes, objectionable taste, an ayapana tea actually tastes good.  It's mildly spicy, fragrant, soothing, and it works quickly to quiet coughs.  When I formulated herbal remedies for Raintree Nutrition, I added ayapana to the Amazon Throat Ez formula for this reason. I also included this plant to the formula because of ayapana's documented actions against various bacteria, like Streptococcus, which causes Strep Throat.
               
I've also used ayapana over the years to help ease nausea and upset stomachs, which is helpful when you have one of those nasty stomach bugs that seems to always go around. I've also seen it help people undergoing chemotherapy to help with nausea side effects.   In normal/average dosages (about a teaspoon of crushed ayapana leaves to a cup of hot tea) it's really effective in calming queasy stomachs and relieving nausea, but in higher dosages it can have the opposite effect.  I used ayapana when I formulated Raintree's Amazon Stomach Ez formula for this reason.

Some of the latest published research on ayapana clearly validate it's traditional uses for ulcers, ulcerative colitis, and other bowel problems like IBS and Crohn's. Ayapana has shown in animal studies that it can prevent ulcers, heal ulcers, protect the stomach and bowel from known toxins and irritants,  reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. You can find references to these studies in the plant database now and read more about them in my book.  Based on these studies and the continued practitioner reports by ayurvedic practitioners in India and the U. S. I’ve received and/or researched, I might move ayapana to my  personal top five herbal remedies to treat IBS, Crohn's and ulcerative colitis.  I have a couple of friends and relatives I’ll try ayapana on to see if it helps their IBS first.

Lastly, research on ayapana's anti-tumorous actions still continue to be published.  As is typical with plant research, once scientists have identified the main plant chemical or two they think is responsible for the plant's anti-cancerous action, research on the plant stops, and research on the individual chemicals begins. Drug companies cannot patent a plant or plant extract and they can't turn them into drugs to sell. So it doesn’t matter if a plant extract may contain numerous anti-cancerous chemicals, immune-stimulate chemicals, and other beneficial chemicals that all work together synergistically to achieve the plant’s anti-cancerous actions.  Their goal is to find a single novel plant chemical with anti-cancerous actions and they synthesize or copy it in the laboratory.  They still can't patent that synthesized chemical since it's naturally found in nature.  So their next step is to change it slightly or enough to make it unique and patentable.  These are usually called analogs or derivatives of the naturally occurring plant chemical they discovered.

 So far, scientists have reported that ayapana's anti-tumorous action are attributed to two plant chemicals called herniarin (also referred to as 7-methoxycoumarin) and thymoquinone. Research on these two chemicals have been published recently testing them against various types of cancers and tumors.  At least one research group has already synthesized and created derivatives of thymoquinone and are publishing research on those newly created chemicals.  More information on these chemicals and their other properties and actions will be in my new book and references to these studies are now in the Tropical Plant Database.

I personally have never used or recommended ayapana for any type of cancer.  I need to investigate this further to determine if the natural plant or it’s extract contains enough of these chemicals to be therapeutic and effective against cancer or tumors based on the dosages being used and administered in the studies on the chemicals. Ayapana does have a long established traditional use for cancer and tumors, I just don’t have any personal experience with it to specifically recommend it.

And don’t forget, always check my book or plant database for more information on possible contraindications and drug interactions.  Ayapana does contain a plant chemical well known and documented to thin the blood.

You can see some videos about ayapana on YouTube (mostly by herbal healers in India where ayapana is a well known and popular remedy) by clicking here.

You can search google to find ayapana products by clicking here.
You can search MyHerbs.net for ayapana products by clicking here.

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