Abutra: Yellow Seed Moonseed

Whenever I ventured into the woods as a boy scout I always saw this vine-like plant with scary-looking stems (like a giant octopus tentacle) and which often crawled up big trees. Today, in one of researches on herbs and plants in the Philippines and Asia, I came across it and found that is named Abutra.

Accordingly, it is often used in this country as a germicide but actually, folks acquainted with it use it in the following ways.

Abutra Extract: the wine or essence resulting from boiling the wood is used for cleaning wounds, skin itches, and even for tropical ulcers. The extract is also for getting a febrifuge (or anti-fever) and stomachic (pro-appetite and digestion) effects. Abutra essence coming from the stems and roots can also be an anti-fever tonic and can increase menstrual flow.

A caution though, because this extract is also used by some for abortion. Tonics in bottles with the abutra stems and roots displayed in them used to be sold in sidewalks along a popular church in Manila. It's been banned today, but accordingly, dried abutra stems are still sold there in secret.

In some portions of Zambales, abutra is used as an expectorant, especially in bronchial illnesses. In Malaya, the extract is said to be ingested to remedy jaundice and indigestion and as an anthelmintic medicine for deworming, particularly parasite worms.

When burned, the smoke is used as an inhalant for problems in the nose and mouth. Abutra is allegedly even used as an anti-diabetes remedy in Indo-China. Somewhere in East Asia, it is among traditional alternative medicines taken as a tonic for skin abscesses and jaundice. Some other folks use it as a tonic for dysentery and malaria.

Of course, PhilAsian Herbs blog doesn't recommend you take the abutra tonic or extract for the above mentioned ailments at once. Consult with a competent alternative medicine practitioner first, or better yet, with a licensed medical doctor adept in alternative medicine.

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