Cha de Bugre
scientific name: Cordia salicifolia
other common names: Cafe do mato, cafe de bugre
growing areas: Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay
physical description: It is a small tree that grows to a height of about 18 feet.
traditional uses: In Brazil, according to Leslie Taylor, it is known as cafe do mato, "coffee of the woods," because of the red fruit produced by the plant, which resembles a coffee bean. The fruit is roasted and brewed into a tea with a high caffeine content, said Taylor. It is widely sold in pharmacies and stores in Brazil as a tea, tincture, and floral extract. It is used as an appetite stimulant, energy booster, and diuretic, most likely because of the caffeine content.
availability and dosage: Available as a powdered herb made from the leaf. Dosages vary.
contraindications: None noted.
special precautions: Consult your physician before beginning any use of an ethnobotanical substance for medicinal purposes.
medical research: Researchers in Japan have shown that an extract from cha de bugre inhibited the growth of herpes simplex virus type 1, which is responsible for cold sores in humans.