Hercampuri (scientific name Gentianella alborosea) is a perennially growing herb belonging to the family Gentianaceae. This herb grows up to a height of 5 cm. The small plant has a rugose and twisted root. The stem of this plant is short and has a deep brown hue. The dark green, simple leaves of hercampuri measure roughly 1 cm. They are lanceolate, arranged opposite to one another on the stem and are sessile.
The inflorescence of hercampuri is basically cymose, while the flowers of this herb grow up to 1.5 cm in diameter. The flower is either yellow or pallid lavender, having a small straight growing peduncle. On the other hand, the shape of the calyx is similar to that of a bell and its relatively shorter compared to the tube. The calyx is segmented into three lobules and has a corolla. The stem of hercampuri is short and deep brown, measuring about 0.5 cm across. The stem has a herb-like uniformity and dichotomic ramification.
Hercampuri bears small dark green leaves measuring anything between 0.5 cm and 1.0 cm. The simple leaves are thick, straight, and sessile as well as arranged opposite each other. The leaves do not come with stipules. The fruit of this herb comprises a septicidal capsule that bursts open via two valves to release numerous small dark brown or black seeds. The root of hercampuri is creased along its length and occasionally you may also find the root coiled in its own axis. Compared to the stems, the roots are longer.
Hercampuri derives its name from a Quechua term “Hjircan pureck” denoting a person walking from one village to another. The term has reference to the Inca period when the herbal physicians of this culture traversed long distances covering one village to another taking along with them various medicinal herbs in their weaved sachets specially made for this purpose.
A member of the Gentianaceae family, hercampuri includes 75 different genera, of which about 1000 species are found across the globe. Nearly all these species are found growing in the warm as well as sub-tropical regions. Some of them can also be found in small tropical hills. It is worth mentioning here that the Gentianella genus has the maximum number of species – about 400.
Hercampuri plants offer several health benefits. For instance, this herb is beneficial for the health of our liver. We all are aware, liver has a vital role in metabolizing fats, burning fat to release energy and for lipoprotein (molecules related to fats and proteins) production. Eventually, our body converts surplus ingested foods into fat, which is subsequently transported by the fat tissue of the body for storage. This results in weight gain as well as obesity.
Since the Incas used hercampuri (Gentianella alborosea) for various therapeutic purposes, it has been a conventional plant in the Peruvian Highlands. In fact, people of the Incas culture used this plant to alleviate stomach pain, combat fever caused by malaria, restore hepatic functions as well as to reduce obesity. In addition, hercampuri also serves as a blood depurative and promotes billiard function. In fact, many herbal practitioners recommend the use of Gentianella alborosea for lowering elevated levels of blood cholesterol.
Use of hercampuri helps the body to reduce fat accumulation, as this herb functions in the form of a natural diuretic by increasing the frequency as well as amount of urine. Many nutritionists recommend the use of this herb in the form of an additive in treating obesity.
Basically, Gentianella alborosea is a therapeutic plant, which is used for cleansing the blood and stimulating the biliary functioning effectively. Moreover, people have been traditionally using this plant in the form of a diet, as it facilitates the body in metabolizing fats. Hercampuri also possesses diuretic and cholagogue properties. In other words, its use increases the frequency and amount of urination, thereby eliminating unwanted toxins and fluids from the body. In addition, it also promotes bile secretion.
Usually, hercampuri is incorporated in diets to aid weight loss programs. Clinical trials undertaken with hercampuri have shown that it causes a notable hypocholesterolemic activity, which is attributed to the significant amount of bitter elements contained by the herb. These bitter elements stimulate bile secretion. This means that the use of this herb results in lowering the levels of blood cholesterol, which promoting the production of bile acids.
Hercampuri is also an effective blood detoxifier, thereby helping the body to get rid of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol” from the system. At the same time, this herb promotes blood circulation throughout the body, because the diuretic property of hercampuri normalizes the blood pressure. Findings of scientific studies have hinted that hercampuri (Gentianella alborosea) also promotes the functioning of the liver, while reducing surplus and unwanted fat. In this way, the herb helps to control our body weight.
In general, Gentianella alborosea helps in energizing our body, as it promotes metabolism and, at the same time, improves circulation. Saponins are a very vital component of this herb. Saponins influence the cholesterol present in the intestines, resulting in the formation of an insoluble compound, thereby lowering the absorption of these harmful substances into the blood stream. Hercampuri also encloses mucilage, which helps to accelerate the passage of stool. This mechanism actually results in dietary fiber attaching to bile acids, thereby putting off the toxic and waste substances from being reabsorbed into the body. It results in bile salt synthesis, as the action of mucilage on the acids secreted from bile prevents the absorption of cholesterol. This herb also helps to cleanse the blood as well as the liver when there is a dysfunction of the liver.
This herb reduces the cholesterol levels naturally. It encloses iridoid glycosides, which work to promote bile secretion, thereby facilitating digestion and also stimulating the process to reduce the cholesterol levels in the blood stream.
Since ancient times, people have been using hercampuri as a remedy for various types of stomach disorders. In the initial stages of the herb’s use, it was primarily used to alleviate stomach ache. Moreover, hercampuri was also used as an active ingredient of a number of herbal supplements meant for treating diabetes. This is primarily owing to the astringent effect as well as hypoglycemic action of this herb. Moreover, this herb is fairly effective in lowering the levels of blood sugar, especially when it is used in combination with other herbs.
Hercampuri possesses anti-cholesterol or cholesterol-reducing properties, which make the plant an effective ingredient for various natural supplements for promoting and protecting the health of the cardiovascular system. The scrapping effects of this plant have a tendency to dissolve cholesterol as well as fat molecules, which, in turn, helps to promote blood circulation throughout the body via the arteries.
Since the ancient times, the most common use of hercampuri has been to energize the body and get rid of lethargy. The bitter elements present in this plant work as a bitter tonic and are responsible for these effects of hercampuri. In present times, Gentianella alborosea or hercampuri is widely used in the form of a tonic to provide energy. This is perhaps because this herb burns fat effectively, thereby generating energy inside the body. Today, this herb is consumed widely in the form of an herbal tea.
Chemical analysis of hercampuri has revealed that the plant contains a number of active ingredients like mucilage, tannins and saponines. Moreover, it also contains a bitter substance similar to glycoside called eritaturin, various sugars, gentianic acid, armarogentin, volatile oils and hemicelluloses.
Saponins are a very important constituent of hercampuri. Saponins work on cholesterol inside the intestinal tract resulting in the formation of an insoluble compound. At the same time, they also check the cholesterol from being taken up into the blood stream.
Typically, hercampuri is used in the form of a loose leaf tea. Though the leaves of this herb taste very bitter, it offers potent health benefits. In order to obtain the maximum possible health benefits as well as favour, you need to add the leaves to hot water and allow them to steep for roughly 5 minutes.