Anamu herb also known as Guinea hen weed, review of published trials
March 27 2014

Crude extract from a plant known as Petiveria alliacea Anamu is used extensively as folk medicine in developing countries like Colombia, South America. Anamu herb is used in folk medicine in South America. In the Dominican Republic, anamu is added to a natural aphrodisiac drink called Mama Juana. There are a number of aphrodisiac plants used in South America including catuaba, maca, and Muira Puama which are available for purchase online.

Petiveria alliacea (Phytolaccaceae) is a perennial shrub indigenous to the Amazon Rainforest and tropical areas of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and sub-Saharan Africa. In folk medicine, Petiveria alliacea has a broad range of therapeutic properties; however, it is also associated with toxic effects.

As of 2014, we could not find any studies regarding the aphrodisiac properties of anamu herb.

Anamu, Petiveria alliacea, is a perennial bush plant that grows widely in Brazil. The roots and leaves of anamu have been used in folk medicine for their antispasmodic, sedative, diuretic and antihelminthic actions.

Anti tumor activity of Anamu herb
Petiveria alliacea extracts uses multiple mechanisms to inhibit growth of human and mouse tumoral cells.
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2008. Urueña C, Cifuentes C, Castañeda D, Arango A, Kaur P, Asea A, Fiorentino S. Grupo de Inmunobiología y Biología Celular, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia.
There is ethnopharmacological evidence that Petiveria alliacea can have antitumor activity. Our results of this study indicate that Anamu exerts multiple biological activities in vitro consistent with cytotoxicity. Further studies in animal models are needed but Anamu appears to be a good candidate to be used as an antitumor agent.

Anxiety treatment benefit
Dual effects of crude extracts obtained from Petiveria alliacea L. on experimental anxiety in mice.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010. Blainski A, Piccolo VK, Mello JC, de Oliveira RM. Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, State University of Maringá, Av. Colombo Maringá, Paraná, Brazil.
Different preparations obtained from P. alliacea have been traditionally used in South America and Brazil for many medical conditions. To investigate the effects of fresh whole plant (WP) extract, aerial part (AP) extract, and root (R) extract obtained from Petiveria alliacea using the elevated plus maze (EPM) model of anxiety in mice. Total flavonoid content present in Anamu extracts was also determined. WP, AP, or R extracts were orally administered to mice 30min before they were subjected to the EPM and open field test. Total flavonoid content present in the extracts was determined by spectrophotometry. The WP extract (300 and 900mg/kg) caused anxiolytic-like effects, and the AP extract (300mg/kg) induced anxiogenic-like effects in mice subjected to the EPM. No effect on anxiety-like behavior was observed with acute administration of the R extract. The content of flavonoids present in the AP extract (1.34%) was almost threefold higher than the flavonoid content present in the WP extract . Preparations using different fresh parts of Petiveria alliacea caused opposite effects on experimental anxiety in mice. Predicting the extent to which flavonoid content present in Petiveria alliacea extracts differentially induces anxiolysis or anxiogenesis in mice was not possible. Further studies will be necessary to elucidate the effects of flavonoids or other substances present in Petiveria alliacea extracts on experimental anxiety.

Caution with the use of Anamu herb
Evaluation of the genotoxic effects of a folk medicine, Petiveria alliacea (Anamu).
Mutat Res. 1992. Hoyos LS, Au WW, Heo MY, Morris DL, Legator MS. University of Cauca, Department of Biology, Papayan, Colombia.
Although anamu plant is known to contain toxic ingredients potential adverse health effects from its use have not been adequately evaluated. We investigated its genotoxic activities by conducting a sister chromatid exchange assay using cells in vitro and in vivo. Our data suggest, therefore, that anamu contains mutagenic and potentially carcinogenic agents although the medicine is not a potent mutagen. Individuals who consume large amounts of this drug may be at risk for development of health problems. Further studies with cells from exposed individuals and from experimental animals should be conducted to provide a better evaluation of health risk from the use of anamu herb.

J Ethnopharmacol. 2012. Potential behavioral and pro-oxidant effects of Petiveria alliacea L. extract in adult rats. The Petiveria alliacea extract exerted motor stimulatory and anxiolytic effects in the OF test, antidepressant effects in the FS test, and elicited memory improvement in ETM. Furthermore, the Petiveria alliacea extract also exerted pro-oxidant effects in vitro and in vivo, inhibiting the antioxidant status and increasing MetHb levels in human plasma, respectively.

Blood sugar lowering effect of Anamu herb
Petiveria alleaceae ( anamú ). Study of the hypoglycemic effect.
Ciencias Medicas,1990. Lores RI, Cires Pujol M. Postgraduate Department, Instituto Superior de Med Interne.  La Habana, Cuba.
The combined phytochemical and pharmaceutical study of Petiveria alleaceae L. ( anamu ) has shown the existence in the leaves and stems of the plant of a possible hypoglycemic active principle. Extracts from leaves and stem powder were found to produce a decrease of blood sugar concentration of more than 60% one hour after oral administration in male Balb/C mice weighing 20 g fasted for 48 hours.

Anti viral activity of Anamu herb
Antiviral activity of Petiveria alliacea against the bovine viral diarrhea virus.
Chemotherapy. 2002. Ruffa MJ, Perusina M, Alfonso V, Wagner ML, Suriano M, Vicente C, Campos R, Cavallaro L. Cátedra de Virología, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Five medicinal plants used in Argentina have been assayed to detect inhibition of viral growth. Antiviral activity of the infusions and methanolic extracts of Aristolochia macroura, Celtis spinosa, Plantago major, Schinus areira, Petiveria alliacea and four extracts obtained from the leaves and stems of the last plant were evaluated by the plaque assay. Bovine viral diarrhea virus is highly prevalent in the cattle population, there are no antiviral compounds available; additionally, it is a viral model of the hepatitis C virus. For these reasons and in view of the results obtained, the isolation and characterization of the antiviral components present in the Petiveria alliacea extracts is worth carrying out in the future.

Anamu composition
Anamu has a number of compounds including gamma-glutamyl dipeptides, dibenzyl trisulphide, S-benzyl phenylmethanethiosulfinate. Thiosulfinates, trisulfides and benzylsulfinic acid in anamu have antimicrobial activity.

Aphrodisiac herbs available over the counter
These include maca, tongkat ali, butea superba, cnidium monnieris, tribulus terrestris extract, mucuna pruriens, horny goat weed, avena sativa, LJ100, muira puama, catuaba, ginger, cistanches, and yohimbe bark extract supplement herbal medications.