Cuachalalate (Gaceta unam)

There traditional medicine it is a knowledge that original peoples They have been accumulated over the years and many enjoy practicing as they balance beliefs and knowledge about nature to improve health. One of these elements is Cuachallate (Tightening of the Amphipterygium) which helps to treat gastric problems.

In Mexico, cuachalate is a kind of tree Found widely in the country, mostly in the lower jungle, and characterized by its ascending, twisting branches, it is dark reddish-brown in color and can reach up to 10 meters in height. Its leaves are obovate (egg-shaped) with a serrated edge.

It is distributed in the central and southern Mexico, where the warm climate prevails; it also grows in tropical deciduous and sub-deciduous forests. The part used for traditional medicine is the bark.

According to the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), the bark contains a compound triterpene called masticadienonic acid, to whom are attributed its properties anticancer, anticholinergic and to reduce gallstones.

Cuachalate has various medicinal properties.  (INAH-Ethnobotanical Garden and Museum of Traditional Medicine)
Cuachalate has various medicinal properties. (INAH-Ethnobotanical Garden and Museum of Traditional Medicine)

According to Elizabeth Arlen Pineda Pena, Professor at the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FES) Zaragoza of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), cuachalate specifically helps protect gastric mucosa.

“There are a series of elements responsible for the defense of the gastric tract, such as mucus and bicarbonate, the gastric epithelium itself, the microcirculation that exists in the region and the sensory innervation, which together are called defense mucosa,” he explained. .

He pointed out that said mucosa is constantly exposed to factors that attack it. Some circumstances that can cause damage are the consumption of anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin, ibuprofen and diclofenacas well as irritating foodstaking alcohol, vinegar, tobacco, among others.

The specialist stressed that it is important protect the mucosa, since in case of not doing it the gastritis or mucosal irritation, irritating agents continue to be exposed and may develop a gastric ulcer.

Stomach ache (Getty)
Stomach ache (Getty)

Pineda Peña assured for UNAM Official Journal that in traditional Mexican medicine there are several natural compounds which could contribute to reduce gastric damage and they could especially serve as anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

In this sense, he pointed out that one of the most recognized plants for these cases, the Cuachallate. After analyzing it, he discovered with his team that “its compound 3 alpha hydroxymasticadienonic acid has been characterized and obtained as one of the main responsible for the vasoprotective effect”.

He added that another herb that could be useful for the treatment of gastric damage is the Carry the oak the chuchupaNative to the northeast of the country. He said that his extract has a gastroprotective effect on the damage caused by alcohol consumption.


Another characteristic of chuchupate is that it has the compound digustilidresponsible for the gastroprotective effect which includes prostaglandins (a substance that helps control blood pressure, smooth muscle contraction and other internal processes in tissues) and some mediators of the antioxidant effect.

In her investigations, the UNAM specialist analyzed the combination of the two plants to obtain a third natural compound with greater efficacy and a lower dose, which helps to reduce the effects.

“We considered the possibility of combining them because in the empirical practice of natural medicine several plants are often mixed in an infusion or a poultice, for example, to provide the person who suffers from a gastrointestinal disorder. We evaluate in a animal model the combination of the two compounds in gastric damage by indomethacin. Diligustilide has been observed to have a protective effect on the gastric mucosa.

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