guaco herb aka jamaican quaco bush

Quaco Herb: This Invasive Weed Has Great Benefits

Quaco herb is the name given to many climbing vines in Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The vine is called quaco herb, quaco bush, guaco herb or guaco in Jamaica.

The vines biological name is Mikania micrantha. It is a member of the Asteraceae family. There are thousands of flowing plants in this family.

Like many other plants in the Asteraceae family, the Mikania micrantha species has curative power.

Guaco herb is rooted in the ground.  But, the plant has parasitic tendencies. The vine wraps around nearby plants and can eventually kill them.

Crops such as coconut, banana, cocoa are susceptible to being smothered by guaco. For that reason, guaco herb is listed among the top 100 most invasive weeds in the world. But the plant does have benefits.

Guaco Herb Benefits

For a long time, Guaco herb has been used to treat different ailments in numerous countries.

In Jamaica guaco herb is brewed and the tea taken to relieve diarrhea, treat upper respiratory infections. Quaco tea is also used to lower blood pressure.

The juice from guace is applied to cuts to stop bleeding and improve skin problems such as eczema.

In South and Central America the quaco vine is used to prevent and treat snake bites. 

 Legend has it that Native Americans would crash and scatter guaco leaves around their sleeping areas to keep snakes away.

Guaco Facts

Facts About Quaco
Environmental ThreatThe vine grows so rapidly it can destroy surrounding vegetation.
AromaStrong wood smell. The smells reportedly drives away snakes.
TasteExtremely bitter taste. Thats’s the reason some call it bitter vine.
UseUses to cure for diarrhea and upset stomach. Used on the skin to treat excema.
Medicinal PotentialChemical components identified by scientific evaluation reveals potential for pharmacological use in the future.

Other Names For Guaco Herb

In the Caribbean Guaco herb is often called bitter vine, snake vine, bitter bush or bitter vine.  However, most Jamaicans simply refer to the herb as quaco bush.

In Central and South America common names quaco include, bejuco, huaco, and vejuco.

In addition, Mikania is fast growing. In fact it grows so quickly it has been nicknamed “mile a minute” in some locations.

Health Benefits Of Guaco Herb

Scientific evaluations isolated 42 major beneficial chemical compounds that make up Mikania.

One study made this report.

Most of the plants have an antioxidant effect, followed by anti-hyperlipidemia, vasorelaxant, antithrombotic, and diuretic effect from the most available to least available studies, respectively. These are the mechanisms that contribute to various cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, and hypertension. 

Source: Pubmed

In simple terms, quaco has potential to be used in the fight against diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease. As a result there are a number of ongoing studies being done.

In another study, fourteen healthy volunteers were tested to determine if Guaco herb can be used as an eeffective bronchodilator. 

The subjects were given a syrup made from Quaco herb extracts. The results showed that by itself Quaco syrup was not an effective bronchodilator.

Guaco Uses

Guaco Tea. The leaves and stems are boiled and sweetened. The tea is supposedly good for suppressing coughs and dilating the bronchial tubes to help ease breathing problems.

Guaco bush Juice. The leaves are sometimes juiced and a pinch of salt added. This mixture is taken in doses of tablespoons to relieve diarrhea. Quaco juice is also a common home remedy for the cold.

Other common uses. Guaco bush leaves are often crushed in a bath that is used to bathe children suffering from eczema and similar skin problems.

In some places quaco herb is used as alternative treatment for diabetes, high blood pressure and lowering bad cholesterol.

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Guaco Herb Side Effects

A number of sider effects have been reported with prolonged use of guaco products. These side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and increased heart rate.

Scientific research also reports that using Guaco bush can cause a decrease in blood pressure of hypertensivepregnant patients.

One experiment on  pregnant rats reported lower weight gain in test subjects that were given guaco study products. But there are no human study data available.

Therefore, if you are pregnant it may be wise to avoid using Guaco extracts or products altogether.

Where To Buy Guaco

Products and extracts from  guaco herb can be bought at many local health food stores. They are also available for purchase from online marketplaces like Etsy.Com and Amazon.


While its Quaco herb and its extracts appear to have the potential to offer some health benefits, more research needs to be done to confirm this.

In the meantime there doesn’t appear to be any danger in the occasional use of Guaco. 

However, keep in mind that herbal products are not regulated by the FDA. Therefore they should not be used for medicinal purposes without the close supervision of your medical provider.

Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. Nothing on this site should be viewed as medical advice. Please cousult with a professional healthcare provider about matters relating to your medical care.

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