Validation of Folk Uses for Guinea Hen Weed

| December 2, 2012 | 0 Comments

Modern medicine has always had its roots in herbal folk remedies. After all, if they hadn’t worked, the tradition of using folk remedies would not have been passed on to the next generation. The famous author, Dr. James Duke, wrote that the Green Pharmacy made his 30-plus year career at the U. S. Department of Agriculture by locating and researching commercial viability of healing herbs worldwide. Pharmacies that still compound their own formulas use a book called a Pharmacopeia that lists raw and prepared plant substances that can be added to prescriptions. In Europe, where the practice of medicine is non-profit and they are not dominated by an aggressive pharmaceutical industrial complex, much work is being done to follow up on traditional uses of plant remedies. Their doctors regularly include plant extracts and derivatives in their treatment plans.

In 2010, a professional researcher working for the Scientific Research Council in Jamaica was awarded an International patent and recognition for finding a compound in Guinea Hen Weed/Anamu (Petiveria alliacea ) as an effective treatment of some kinds of cancer. Dr. Lawrence Williams spent thirteen years testing the compound, dibenzyl trisuphide, to show that it worked even better than the raw herb, which has a long history of being used with success. He is now engaged in clinical trials with his partners in Germany.  He holds rights to the patent with his partner, Dr. George Levy, a Jamaican doctor in practice in the United States.

Dr. Lawrence is shown with a Guinea Hen bush.

So, what is this herb unheard-of herb? Guinea Hen Weed/Anamu is a broad leafed shrub found in tropical areas of South America, Africa, and the Caribbean basin. Everywhere that it grows traditional and modern people have used the plant for similar conditions. It is a staple in Cuban health clinics. This is not surprising, since Guinea Hen Weed/Anamu is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation is the culprit in a wide variety of chronic and acute conditions.

In addition to cancer, this herb is employed for cases of malaria, fibro-myalgia, arthritis, digestive disorders, infections and diabetes. It has the ability to lower blood glucose to normal levels and contains a substance called Coumadins that act as blood thinners for those with heart disease. It mitigates pain and brings on delayed child birth. Part of its botanical name, “alliacea,” tells us that it has something in common with garlic. In this case it is a strong garlicky odor in the roots and a significant amount of sulfur compounds, well known to be general body healers. One of these sulfur compounds, dibenzyl trisulphide, is the one that Dr. Williams has patented for clinical use. His compound acts by disrupting the cancer cell’s ability to replicate while healthy cells are left untouched. There are still other Guinea Hen compounds under investigation.

The raw herb is used as you would for any tea. An ounce of plant material leaves, and/or root, are steeped in boiling water. It is strained and a cup (eight ounces) is taken twice a day for a few months. The only side-effect listed was a caution to pregnant women that strong solvent extracts can stimulate a miscarriage. For those wishing to read more or to purchase some herb, it is available at a reliable source at, a company that specializes in rain forest medicinal herbs.

The State Park Department of Florida has recently discovered a rare patch of Guinea Hen Weed at one of their nature preserves. They are doing their best to protect and propagate it. I am looking into getting some to grow here and see if it can be coaxed to live in San Diego.

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Category: Health & Fitness

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