Manayupa Common names Parts used Uses Habitat and cultivation Constituents Side effects and cautions


Desmodium adscendens

Herbs gallery - Manayupa

Common names

  • Amor-do-campo
  • Amor Seco
  • Barba de Boi
  • Beggar-lice
  • Burbur
  • Hard Man
  • Hard Stick
  • Manayupa
  • Margarita
  • Mundubirana
  • Mundurana
  • Pega Pega
  • Strong Back
  • Tick-clover
Manayupa is a flowering plant belonging to the Desmodium genus, which is a member of Fabaceae family (also known as the bean family). There are several dozen plants in Desmodium genus and the delimitation of this genus has changed significantly over time. Manayupa (scientific name Desmodium adscendens) has its origin in the equatorial regions, especially in Africa and South America. However, the herb is more widespread in the tropical coastal areas of Africa, where they are found growing in the wild. Manayupa is a perennially growing weedy herb. This plant usually reaches a maximum height of 3 feet and bears oval leaves that appear alternately. In Suriname, manayupa is a very common, native weed found growing naturally in yards and the length of roads. This herb bears small green hued beans in pods measuring anything between 1 inch and 1 1/2 inches. The pods are muggy, while the flowers of manayupa are small and their color may vary from light purple to pink. Some plants of this species bear large or bright flowers. While some manayupa plants can grow to become sizeable, most of them are herbs or simply small shrubs. The fruits of this herb are loments by nature. In other words, each seed of the fruit is dispersed separately while remaining encircled in its section. This is one reason why these plants are considered obstinate. In fact, a number of species of Desmodium genus are believed to be weeds by people in several regions where the plants grow naturally. Nevertheless, these plants have various uses. The modest appearance of these plants does not usually manifest their uses. Traditional healers in Africa use manayupa for treating a variety of liver problems, such as jaundice, or toxic or viral hepatitis. This herb is also used for treating damaged liver. On the other hand, people in Venezuela used Desmodium for treating epilepsy. Only the aerial parts of manayupa, such as the leaves, stems and flowers, are used for therapeutic purposes.

Parts used

Bark, leaves, stems, flowers.


Manayupa (Desmodium adscendens) has several applications in the medicine systems of the regions where the plant is native. People in those places have been traditionally using the herb for treating a variety of health conditions including asthma, allergies, malaria, inflammation, gastritis, parasites, viruses, kidney stones, and in the form of a blood purifier and also as a sedative. In the herbal medicine of Peru people prepare a tea with manayupa leaves and drink it to purify their blood. In addition, they also use the herb to detoxify the body and eliminate all environmental chemicals and toxins, to cleanse the urinary tract, alleviate headaches, inflammation and pain as well as to ease kidney stress. The manayupa leaf tea is also employed to cure problems related to the ovary, for instance irritation and inflammation, hemorrhages and vaginal discharges. Drinking manayupa tea in small doses or amounts may prove to be highly effective. At the same time, no adverse or toxic effect of drinking this leaf infusion tea has been reported thus far. A number of native tribes are of the belief that manayupa possesses magical powers. As a result, they often administer this herb to a lover who no longer seems to be interested in his/ her mate with a view to rekindle the old relationship. Even in the present times, the tribal population in the tropical regions where manayupa (Desmodium adscendens) is found growing naturally continues to use this herb in the same manner as their ancestors to treat various health conditions afflicting them. The worth of the herb as well as its therapeutic uses have remained unchanged for them. Some inhabitants of the Amazon region prepare a tea with the leaves of this herb and this infusion is used to bathe the breasts of women after childbirth with a view to augment their breast milk production. Some other tribes in the region pound the leaves and add lime juice to it to prepare a paste, which is applied directly to wounds to heal them as well as prevent the injuries from being infected. In addition, the tea prepared from manayupa (Desmodium adscendens) leaves is also employed for curing convulsions as well as venereal sores. This tea or infusion has also been used traditionally to treat diarrhea and malaria, in addition to curing venereal diseases. It is also used in the form of a digestive tonic. People in Belize refer to the manayupa plant as "strong back". They soak manayupa herb in rum for about a day (24 hours) and subsequently drink the resultant solution every day for about a fortnight to get relief from back pain. The uses of this remarkable plant, which the locals believe has magical attributes, cover a wide range of physical diseases and problems suffered by people, subject to the Central or South American country where the plant grows and the native people inhabiting those regions. Currently, scientists are examining the effectiveness of manayupa in treating asthma. This is primarily owing to the fact that the shamans and herbalists have been traditionally and successfully using this herb to treat asthma since long. They claim that manayupa is highly effective in treating this respiratory problem. Manayupa offers several therapeutic benefits and, hence, has a number of applications, especially by the native populations where the plant grows in the wild. It is said to be effective in treating all types of inflammatory conditions, as it works by enhancing the functioning of the kidneys. At the same time, this herb promotes urine flow and acts as a diuretic. It is also effective in getting rid of all waste deposits in the urinary tract. In addition, Desmodium adscendens is used by people in South America to treat conditions related to every kind of inflammation, primarily owing to the plant's anti-allergic and anti-asthma properties. In the traditional medicine of Suriname, manayupa is used for treating constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, bronchial asthma, liver dysfunctions, and malaria, problems related to the urinary system and also for curing chronic and severe hepatitis. In Belize, people prepare an infusion by soaking the whole herb in rum for a day and drink the infusion for alleviating back pain. Native tribes in the Amazon rainforest prepare an infusion with manayupa and it is given to people suffering from nervousness (edgy nerves). In shamanism, people use manayupa for encouraging lactation as this herb possesses galactagogue properties. Manayupa is also used for treating arthritis and in the form of a contraceptive. The Amerindians inhabiting the rainforests prepare an infusion from the leaves of manayupa and drink it for curing spasms and venereal sores. This infusion is also used for curing infections of the vagina. Manayupa is also known to be an effective detoxifying agent, especially for problems related to the liver and the urinary tract. Precisely speaking, this herb is used for eliminating harmful chemicals and toxic substances from the body, especially after one undergoes treatment with drugs containing synthetic chemicals. Manayupa or Desmodium adscendens also invigorates the kidneys. This herb not only influences the flow of urine and elimination of other substances accumulated in the urinary system, but also regulates this process. It is considered to possess effective diuretic properties. This herb is also beneficial for people enduring nervousness and fatigue. Manayupa also helps to regulate the liver and is used for treating several hepatic conditions. It is especially beneficial for treating hepatitis and gallbladder infections. Manayupa (Desmodium adscendens) possesses anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-infective properties. It is said that manayupa also helps to speed up fat metabolism, thereby is beneficial for people undergoing weight loss treatments. It is advisable that you try this herb to experience its health benefits.

Habitat and cultivation

Manayupa (scientific name Desmodium adscendens) plants are often found in places at an altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level. However, these plants are mostly found growing naturally at altitudes between 3,000 meters and 4,000 meters above sea level in the mountainous regions of Peru in Latin America.


It has been said that the leaf of manayupa encloses alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins and astragilin - an active chemical compound which is also present in the more familiar herb astragalus.

Side effects and cautions

Manayupa is commercially available in a variety of forms including the dry herb, tincture, capsule, extract and others. It has been established that this herb is non-toxic. However, when taken in elevated doses, Desmodium adscendens can produce laxative effect. Hence, it is advisable that you check with your therapist or herbalist before you start taking manayupa. They are the best persons to decide whether this herb is suitable for your use and also determine the correct dosage for you.

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