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General Practice 2023

Mastruz (erva-de-santa-maria): what is it for and how to use it

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Mastruz (erva-de-santa-maria): what is it for and how to use it
Mastruz (erva-de-santa-maria): what is it for and how to use it

Mastruz is a medicinal plant, also known as Santa Maria herb or Mexican tea, which is widely used in traditional medicine to treat intestinal worms, poor digestion and to strengthen the immune system.

This plant has the scientific name of Chenopodium ambrosioides (synonym Dysphania ambrosioides) [1] and is considered a small shrub that grows spontaneously in land around houses, having leaves elongated, of different sizes, and small, whitish flowers.

Mastruz can be purchased in some markets or he alth food stores, in its natural form, as dried leaves or in the form of essential oil. As it is considered a plant that has a toxic action, especially when used in larger doses than recommended or for a long time, it should always be used with the guidance of a doctor, phytotherapist or other he alth professional experienced in medicinal plants, in addition to being advised the use of tea from the leaves, instead of essential oil, which has a higher concentration of potentially toxic substances.

What is the mastruz for

Although it is a plant widely used in traditional medicine, the mastruz has few studies carried out to confirm its properties in the human body. Even so, several investigations have been carried out with the plant in animals, revealing important actions such as:

1. Eliminate intestinal worms

This is one of the most popular uses of mastruz and, according to some human studies, the use of the plant actually has strong action against different intestinal worms, including roundworms and dwarf tapeworm.

This action seems to be related to the main active substance of the plant, ascaridol, which has shown efficacy similar to some pharmaceutical anthelmintic remedies, such as albendazole.

2. Strengthen the immune system

According to investigations carried out in animals, the use of mastruz extract seems to be able to regulate the production of some cells important for the body's defense, such as macrophages and lymphocytes, strengthening the immune system.

The mixture of mastruz leaves mixed with milk is popularly used to help in the treatment of respiratory diseases, such as bronchitis and tuberculosis, due to the association of the fortifying effects of the immune system and expectorants of these substances.

3. Decrease inflammation

Another common use of the mastruz is the relief of inflammation, especially joint problems such as osteoarthritis. In addition, the plant also helps relieve the pain of inflammation. This analgesic action was observed in the use of the alcoholic extract of the plant, which seems to act on NMDA receptors.

4. Improve indigestion

Although there are no studies proving the action of the plant on bad digestion, this is one of the most popular uses. According to this form of use, mastruz tea can be ingested after large meals to improve digestion, as it may be able to increase the production of gastric juice.

5. Lower blood pressure

In Morocco, mastruz is widely used to help treat high blood pressure and, according to studies carried out in rats, this property is due to the stimulation of type 2 muscarinic receptors in the heart, which slightly decrease the heart rate. heart, in addition to relaxing the heart muscle.

6. Fight bacterial, viral and fungal infections

Both the use of mastruz extracts and essential oil have shown potent antimicrobial action, which is capable of eliminating various types of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

7. Prevent osteoporosis

In other investigations carried out in laboratory rats, the use of hydroalcoholic extract of mastruz was able to prevent the loss of bone density, and can be applied to prevent the onset of osteoporosis, especially in women who will enter menopause.

Mastruz is used to treat coronavirus?

A study carried out in 2020 by the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz[1], confirmed the hypothesis that the flavonoids present in the mastruz could be able to prevent the replication of the new coronavirus, accelerating the recovery and cure of COVID-19.

However, the study was performed on a computer model and has not been tested in the laboratory or on living organisms. For this reason, it is not known what dose is needed for the treatment, nor the possible side effects. For these reasons, no he alth agency recommends the use of mastruz as a form of treatment for COVID-19 until further studies are carried out.

How to use the mastruz

The most common way to use the properties of mastruz is with the infusion of its leaves, preparing a tea:

  • Mastruz infusion: put 1 tablespoon of dried mastruz leaves in a cup of boiling water and let it rest for 10 minutes. Then strain and drink 1/2 or 1 whole cup in the morning for 3 days.

In addition to infusion, another very popular way to use mastruz is its essential oil, however, it is important that its use only be done under the guidance of a naturopath, herbalist or a he alth professional with experience in its use. of medicinal plants.

Possible side effects

Mastruz side effects include skin and mucous membrane irritation, headache, vomiting, nausea, palpitations, liver or kidney damage, visual disturbances, and seizures if used in larger than recommended doses or for longer than 3 consecutive days.

Is Matruz abortive?

In high doses, the properties of mastruz can act by altering the contractility of the body's muscles. Therefore, and although there are no studies confirming this action, it is possible that it may have an abortifacient effect. Thus, its use is not recommended in pregnant women.

Check out other dangerous plants for being potentially abortifacient, which should be avoided in pregnancy.

Who should not use

The mastruz is contraindicated in case of pregnancy, breastfeeding and children under 2 years old. Mastruz is a medicinal herb that can be toxic, and medical advice is required to set the recommended dose.

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