Guarumo (Cecropia obtusifolia)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Akowa, ambai, Ambaiba palmate, ambaibo (Spanish), ambiabo, bois canon (French), bois trompette (French), Cecropia amphichlora, Cecropia arachnoidea, Cecropia asperrima, Cecropia concolor, Cecropia dielsiana, Cecropia hondurensis, Cecropia mexicana, Cecropia obtusifolia,Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol., Cecropia pachystachya, Cecropia scabrifolia, Cecropia schreberiana, Cecropia surinamensis, Cecropiaceae (family), certico, chancarpo, chancarro (Spanish), chlorogenic acid, embauba, golden trumpet tree, grayumbe, grayumbo, guarumbo (Spanish), guarumo (Spanish), hormigo, hormiguillo (Spanish), imbauba (Spanish), isoorientin, palo lija, pink trumpet tree, pop-a-gun, snakewood tree, tree-of-laziness, tree-of-sandpaper, trompette (French), trompettier, Trompetenbaum (German), trumpet tree, umbauba, yagruma (Spanish), yagrumo (Spanish), yaluma.
Note: The term "trumpet tree" has been applied to species of several genera, including Cecropia; however, plants of the genus Tabebuia are most commonly referred to as such. For information concerning Tabebuia, please refer to the monograph on pau d'arco. The data contained in this monograph are primarily concerned with Cecropiaobtusifolia, although research concerning other Cecropia species has been noted where deemed relevant.
Guarumo, or Cecropia obtusifolia (Cecropiaceae), is a fruit-bearing tree that grows in the tropical Americas. Its leaves are used in folk medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. A number of closely related Cecropia species (including Cecropia peltata, Cecropia palmate, and Cecropia obtusifolia) are similar in appearance, chemical makeup, and traditional medicinal uses.
Traditionally, Cecropia obtusifolia has been used by Palikur indigenous tribes in Guyana and the Amazon basin, as well as by traditional healers in Cuba and other parts of Central and South America, for various ailments including arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), asthma, bone fractures, bruises, diarrhea, fever, genitalia infection, gonorrhea, herpes, kidney disorders, liver disorders, mouth and tongue sores, obesity, Parkinson's disease, rheumatic inflammation, skin diseases, warts, and wounds. Animal studies have indicated that aqueous leaf extract of Cecropia obtusifolia may induce a decrease in blood pressure and have diuretic (increased urination) effects.
Clinical studies have shown that Cecropia obtusifolia reduces blood glucose in type 2 diabetic patients whose disease is not controlled or controlled by diet and exercise alone.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Type 2 diabetes
Human studies have shown that guarumo can lower blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetic patients controlled by diet and exercise, with no adverse effects and without affecting insulin levels. However, methodological weaknesses limit the strength of these findings, and additional well-designed studies are needed before a conclusion can be made.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Analgesic (pain relief), antibacterial, antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering), anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antispasm, arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), asthma, bone fractures, bruises, diarrhea, diuretic (increases urination), emmenagogue (menstrual flow stimulant), fever, fungicide, gonorrhea, herpes, laxative, liver disorders, mouth sores, muscle relaxant, obesity, pain, Parkinson's disease, respiratory disease, rheumatic diseases, sedative, skin diseases, skin disinfectant/sterilization (genitalia), warts, wounds.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven effective dose for guarumo in adults. Various doses have been studied in clinical trials. Based on traditional use for respiratory disease and asthma, one cup of standard leaf aqueous extract, 2-3 times daily with each meal, has been used. For type 2 diabetes, a dose of 13.5 grams of dried and milled leaves of Cecropia obtusifolia, boiled for five minutes in one liter of water to create an aqueous leaf extract containing 2.91 milligrams of chlorogenic acid and 2.4 milligrams of isoorientin and administered daily for up to 32 weeks, has been studied. Three grams of an aqueous leaf extract containing 2.99 ± 0.14 milligrams of chlorogenic acid per gram of dried plant for 21 days has also been used.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for guarumo in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to Cecropia obtusifolia, its constituents, or other members of the Cecropiaceae family.
Side Effects and Warnings
Guarumo has been well tolerated in humans. Increased salivation, heartburn, and tiredness have been reported.
Guarumo may stimulate menstruation and childbirth and should be avoided in pregnant women.
Although it has not been well studied in humans, guarumo has been shown to decrease blood pressure and increase heart rate after injection.
Guarumo may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Use cautiously in patients with low blood pressure or those who take agents to lower blood pressure, as guarumo may lower blood pressure and increase the risk of low blood pressure.
Use cautiously in patients using diuretics (agents that increase urination), due to possible additive effects.
Use cautiously in patients using central nervous system depressants, due to possible additive effects.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Avoid in pregnant women, as guarumo may induce menstruation and childbirth.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Guarumo may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
Guarumo may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking medications that lower blood pressure.
Guarumo may have additive effects with analgesics (pain relievers), anti-inflammatory agents, central nervous system depressants, cholesterol-lowering medications, diuretics (agents that increase urination), and skeletal muscle relaxants.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Guarumo may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
Guarumo may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
Guarumo may have additive effects with analgesics (pain relievers), anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, central nervous system depressants, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, diuretics, and skeletal muscle relaxants.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Toledo, VM, Tellez, MG, Sortibran, AN, et al. Genotoxicity testing of Cecropia obtusifolia extracts in two in vivo assays: the wing somatic mutation and recombination test of Drosophila and the human cytokinesis-block micronucleus test. J Ethnopharmacol 2-28-2008;116(1):58-63. View Abstract
Herrera-Arellano, A, Aguilar-Santamaria, L, Garcia-Hernandez, B, et al. Clinical trial of Cecropia obtusifolia and Marrubium vulgare leaf extracts on blood glucose and serum lipids in type 2 diabetics. Phytomedicine 2004;11(7-8):561-566. View Abstract
Revilla-Monsalve, MC, Andrade-Cetto, A, Palomino-Garibay, MA, et al. Hypoglycemic effect of Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol aqueous extracts on type 2 diabetic patients. J Ethnopharmacol 5-22-2007;111(3):636-640. View Abstract
Perez-Guerrero, C, Herrera, MD, Ortiz, R, et al. A pharmacological study of Cecropia obtusifolia Bertol aqueous extract. J Ethnopharmacol 2001;76(3):279-284. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017