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Benefits of Guinea Hen Weed

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN

Monday, October 02, 2017

JUST a couple of months ago, after close to two decades of researching the guinea hen weed — scientifically referred to as Petiveria alliacea — Dr Lawrence Williams, University of Technology adjunct professor in the College of Health Sciences, and co-researcher Dr George Levy (USA) received a patent with the United States for the discovery of anti-cancer activity of the plant.

But even before its cancer-fighting properties were discovered, guinea hen weed, known by South Americans as Amasu, and locally also as gully root and garlic weed, was reputed to boast an extensive catalogue of other health benefits, according to nutritionist ChloŽ-Faith Perez.

“Guinea hen weed is widely used in Jamaica as it is believed to have many benefits. It is also widely used throughout South America. It is said to boost the immune system and has been proven to be effective against harmful organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses,” Perez said.

Some of the other benefits, as shared by Perez include:

•It is rich in antioxidants.

•It is used as a treatment for cold and flu symptoms and other respiratory conditions.

•It is effective in reducing fevers.

•It is an effective pain reliever.

•It lowers blood sugar.

•It has antispasmodic properties.

•It is effective in the treatment of cancer, as two of the phytochemical compounds in the plant are believed to destroy cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

•It is a traditional remedy for arthritis and rheumatism — its leaves can be crushed and made into a paste which can be applied to soothe pains and aches.

• It can also be used to stimulate proper digestion and to relieve digestive problems such as bloating and flatulence.

•It fights infections and stimulates the immune system.

•It promotes the release of toxins through increased sweat and urine production.

• It is also used as a natural insect repellent.

Perez warns, however, that pregnant women and those who are trying to conceive should avoid using it because it may cause spontaneous abortions. She also advised that patients with chronic complaints should always seek the guidance of their physician or a trained herbalist before ingesting any herbal teas/supplements.

Perez recommends that when using the guinea hen weed, you choose the organically grown herb which is free of chemicals such as insecticides and other pollutants. In addition, no more than a tablespoon should be used per litre of warm water, and the solution is best ingested on an empty stomach. You need no more than four ounces of guinea hen weed tea daily combined with a healthy diet and lifestyle for best results.