Guaco: learn more about the indications and how to use the plant

It is not new that plants are used to treat diseases. Natural remedies, although they have existed for a long time, have not been forgotten and have become more and more popular.

According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), the use of medicinal plants by the world population has been gaining more and more space. The organization believes that this practice is the main therapeutic option for approximately 80% of the world population.

This is the case of Mikania glomerata spreng, a plant popularly known as Guaco, responsible for relieving flu symptoms and infections, and which has already been approved as a herbal medicine by the National Health Surveillance Agency (ANVISA).

Learn more about it and its effects:

What is Guaco and what is it for?

Guaco, also called Cobra or Witch’s Weed, is a native Brazilian plant that has medicinal uses. Used in diseases such as colds and flu, its fame is due to its expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to the best known, Guaco also has vasodilating, analgesic, insecticidal (used to kill insects) and antiophidic (used to treat snake bites) properties.

The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes is the leaves. In addition to the flu, they serve to treat throat infection, cough , hoarseness and even improve symptoms of bronchitis and asthma .

This is because in Guaco there is a substance called Coumarina – which is an organic compound and one of the main responsible for the pharmacological action of the plant.

This substance causes relaxation of the respiratory tract muscles, which facilitates the passage of air.

According to Brazilian law, the recommended daily amount of Coumarin should be between 0.5mg and 5mg. It is, in general, consumed in the form of tea or syrup.

What is Guaco tea for?

The tea form is one of Guaco’s most common presentations. The drink provides several health benefits, helping to treat infections and improve the quality of life of those who have respiratory problems. The release of sputum (phlegm) is also facilitated by tea. Some of the uses of the drink are:

For flu

The use to treat flu symptoms is one of the best known of Guaco tea.

Because of its anti-inflammatory, expectorant and bronchodilator properties, the drink helps to combat symptoms usually related to the flu such as sore throats, coughs, runny nose and nasal congestion.

For lung

Breathing problems can be improved with the consumption of guaco tea. Because it is a natural bronchodilator, symptoms of asthma and bronchitis – a condition in which the airways become inflamed and, in the case of asthma, there is mucus – are relieved by constant consumption.

This occurs because of its expectorant potential and also the organic substance Cumarina – the main element of Guaco -, which facilitates the dilation of the pulmonary bronchi, therefore, the passage of air.

For rheumatism

The effects of Guaco for the treatment of symptoms of rheumatism – a group of diseases in the joints and muscles – have not been scientifically proven. Despite this, its use is made by some people, since it is popularly believed that the drink improves the symptomatic manifestations of the disease.

For cough

Coughing can be relieved by consuming Guaco.

In addition to helping to eliminate mucus, Guaco relaxes the smooth muscles of the bronchi, facilitating breathing and helping to reduce irritation of the respiratory system, which, in general, causes coughing.

How to prepare Guaco Tea?

The preparation of Guaco tea, in general, is simple.

For a cup of tea:

  1. Add 2 chopped leaves of the plant to 1 cup of hot water.
  2. Cover the cup and let the drink rest for a period of 5 to 10 minutes, until it is lukewarm.
  3. Strain the liquid and drink it pure.

There are also some combination options:

With honey

Because it is a natural sweetener, honey can be added to Guaco tea to make the drink taste sweeter.

In addition, it has soothing, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. Thus, when incorporated into the drink, it can further increase the health benefits.

To prepare, just add 1 teaspoon of honey to the ready-made tea.

With milk

Known as “English tea”, tea with milk is a typical British recipe, which can also be made with Guaco. In addition, the mixture is a good way to relieve cough.

To make the combination, simply:

  1. Add a little more than 1 tablespoon of chopped guaco leaves to 1 cup of milk;
  2. Bring to medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of sugar;
  3. Stir in a period of 5 to 10 minutes;
  4. Remove from the heat and let it warm. Drink then.

Milk can be chosen according to preference, whether of animal or vegetable origin.

How to prepare Guaco Syrup?

Guaco syrup is a common form of consumption of the plant. Because of its sweet taste, it is often used in children as a substitute for tea. Like the other versions of Guaco, the syrup has health benefits used as a treatment for illnesses. One way to prepare it is:

  1. Add about 10 Guaco leaves to a container, along with 2 cups of water;
  2. Take it to the fire and let it boil;
  3. After boiling, remove from heat and cover the container, leaving it to drown until it is warm, between 5 to 10 minutes;
  4. Strain the liquid and add 2 cups of honey and 10 drops of propolis extract.

The syrup can be used in general, up to 2 months after its preparation.

Care and side effects

Despite being a natural plant, excessive consumption of Guaco can cause some health problems.

Prolonged and unrestricted use can, in general, cause:

  • Vomiting;
  • Diarrhea;
  • Increased heart rate;
  • Hypertension;
  • Bleeding

The recommended is to consume 2 to 3 cups a day, when in the form of tea, not exceeding that amount without medical recommendation.

Side effects, in general, disappear with discontinuation of therapy.


Despite the benefits, Guaco has some contraindications.

It is not indicated for people who have liver problems, as they may present toxicity when carrying out prolonged use of the plant.

People who use anticoagulants should also not consume the plant, either tea or oil, as the coumarin present can potentiate the effect of these drugs and increase the risk of bleeding.

In addition, it is not recommended for pregnant women, children under 1 year old and women with heavy menstrual flow.

Pregnant and Children

The plant is not suitable for pregnant women and children under 1 year, because it has in its composition a substance called Warfarin – anticoagulant – that inhibits the presence of vitamin K in the body, necessary for health.

Women with heavy menstruation

The use by women who have an intense menstrual flow is not indicated, as the anticoagulant properties present in Guaco can further increase the intensity of menstruation.

Often, plants that until then went unnoticed on a daily basis can be of great help in cases of illnesses such as colds and flu.

This is the case of Guaco, a plant with medicinal uses.

The Healthy Minute has other information on natural remedies and teas for you! Keep reading!