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Alchornea castaneifolia - (Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) A.Juss.

Common Name Iporuru
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Rainforests at lower elevations and flood plains of the Amazon River system in Peru[ 318 ].
Range S. America - Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela.
Edibility Rating    (0 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Wet Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Alchornea castaneifolia Iporuru

Alchornea castaneifolia Iporuru


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Iporuru. Alchornea castaneifolia. A medicinal plant known in South America, Iporuru (Alchornea castaneifolia) is a shrubby tree with an open crown and a straight, slender bole. It grows up to 8-10 m tall. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, and also widely used as an aphrodisiac and general tonic to the reproductive system. It has been used as a traditional medicine by the indigenous people of the Amazon where the bark and leaves are prepared in many different ways and are used for different purposes like remedies for rheumatism, arthritis, colds, and muscle pains. Indigenous people in Peru have used iporuru as remedy for osteoarthritis symptoms, and in aiding flexibility and range of motion. Tribes like Candochi-Shapra and the Shipibo Indian tribes use the plant?s bark and roots for treating rheumatism as well. Tikuna tribe, on the other hand, prevents diarrhea by taking one tablespoon of the plant?s bark decoction before meal. Iporuru?s leaves are crushed to relieve joints pain, and beaten into a paste to relieve pain from stingray wounds. Other names: Iporuru, Iporoni, Iporuro, Ipururo, Ipurosa, Macochihua, Niando, Pajaro

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of cone
Alchornea castaneifolia is an evergreen Tree growing to 8 m (26ft) by 8 m (26ft) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Alchornea passargei Pax & K.Hoffm. Hermesia castaneifolia Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd. Hermesia salicifo

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

None Known

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Anodyne  Antiarthritic  Antidiarrhoeal  Antifungal  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Antitumor  Antiviral  
Aphrodisiac  Tonic

Iporuru has a high reputation as a medicinal herb in parts of S. America, though it is little known elsewhere. The bark and leaves are used for many different purposes and are prepared it in many different ways. However, it is especially valued for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties and is also widely used as an aphrodisiac and general tonic to the reproductive system. It is commonly used with other plants during shamanistic training and, sometimes, is an ingredient in ayahuasca (a hallucinogenic, multi-herb decoction used by South American shamans)[ 318 ]. The plant has been shown to contain steroids, saponins, phenols, flavonols, flavones, tannins, xanthones, and alkaloids[ 318 ]. The anti-inflammatory properties are attributed to a group of alkaloids, including one called alchorneine, which are found in the bark of this and several other members of the genus[ 318 ]. There has been little clinical research on the plant - despite its long history of use. That which has been done, however, does help explain some of its traditional uses. An ethanol extract of the stembark has been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation when applied topically. This extract also inhibits prostaglandin synthesis - these prostaglandins are linked to inflammatory processes and diseases and the inhibitory activity may, in part, explain the traditional use of Iporuru for treating inflammatory joint and muscle disorders such as osteoarthritis, arthritis, and rheumatism318]. Other research has supported Iporuru's antifungal, antiviral, and antitumor activities[ 318 ]. An ethanol extract of the herb has proved to be much more effective than a water extract[ 318 ]. A tincture of the bark or leaves is used as a treatment for rheumatism, arthritis, colds, and muscle pains. It relieves the symptoms of osteoarthritis, and aids flexibility of the joint and range of motion. A decoction of the bark is taken before meals to prevent diarrhoea[ 318 , 558 ]. The crushed leaves are anodyne. They are rubbed on painful joints and are beaten into a paste to apply to painful stingray wounds[ 318 ]. A decoction of the leaves is used as a treatment for coughs. The leaves are used to increase female fertility (mostly in cases where the male is relatively impotent). It is widely used as an aphrodisiac and geriatric tonic for males and is regarded as a remedy for impotency as well as for balancing blood sugar levels in diabetics. The plant has been gaining popularity among North American athletes and health practitioners recently; with reports suggesting that it provides nutritional support to muscle and joint structures[ 318 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fuel  Wood

Other uses rating: Low (2/5). Other Uses: The thin layer of heartwood is greyish to dull chocolate brown; the sapwood is a lustrous pale brown with a greyish cast. The wood is straight-grained; medium-textured; light in weight and soft. It has no distinctive taste or odour[ 453 ]. The wood is used for fuel[ 453 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

The plant can withstand seasonal inundation[ 318 ]. Iporuru can be harvested only in the Amazon's dry season; it spends the rainy season underwater. The locals believe that the active medicinal properties found in the bark are present only during the dry season[ 318 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation


Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Iporuru, Iporoni, Iporuro, Ipururo, Ipurosa, Macochihua, Niando, Pajaro

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

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Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed.

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Alchornea cordifoliaChristmas BushShrub8.0 10-12 MLMHNDMWe243

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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(Humb. & Bonpl. ex Willd.) A.Juss.

Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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