Acuyo or Mexican pepperleaf properties

(Piper auritum)



– Acuyo is a plant native to the rainforests, used since ancient times as a natural remedy. It is attributed with emollient, antirheumatic, diuretic, diaphoretic (it increases sweating, so it is good to diminish fever) and with stimulant properties

– Due to its high content of safrole, with anesthetic properties, is used to treat insect bites, snake bites, headaches and colds. (For headache, simply apply fresh leaves on your forehead).

– There is a traditional remedy for scabies which Acuyo macerated leaves and apply poultice.

– In Traditional Chinese Medicine Acuyo consumption is recommended in smokers because its property to clear the lungs of nicotine.

– Caution! acuyo plant is rich in safrole, a medicated oil (rich in nutmeg) that in high doses can damage the liver and brain. So it is desirable not to abuse the oral consumption of this plant.


The stem and leaves of Acuyo are widely used as food, especially in Mesoamerican countries:

– The young leaves can be eaten in soups or broths. They can also be cooked as fries or pothole, which involves wrapping meat or fish and vegetables Acuyo leaves must be cooked for at least 1 hour. Acuyo leaves provide a lemony flavor, fresh and green to the preparation.

– The fresh leaves are used to flavor tamales in Cuba, which give it a peculiar flavor to beer. For this reason, in English this vegetable is called Root Beer Plant.

– In Panama acuyo is served as acuyo leaf tea.

– The young stems are peeled and cut into slices to add to salads. They can also be roasted in the same manner.

More information about acuyo and other types of peppers in the listing above

Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

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Botanical-online is an informative page that describes, among other topics, the traditional uses of plants from a therapeutic point of view. Their descriptions do not replace professional advice. Botanical-online is not responsible for self-medication and recommends consulting with the physician.