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Medicinal plants for altitude sickness

Medicinal plants are used to alleviate symptoms, improve breathing, relieve headaches and nausea.

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Natural medicine or phytotherapy is a great variety of techniques and treatments that have been used throughout the years with the purpose of curing and treating different health conditions. The Incas were our main exponents of natural medicine in our geographical area. The use of these plants provides a quick and viable solution, without the use of drugs, to counteract the symptoms of altitude sickness in the mountains. The main plants used are: Coca leaf, muña, chachacoma, mint and capulí.

Coca leaf: Erythroxylon coca, used mainly through infusions. It is a stimulant, analgesic, digestive, regulator of blood pressure.

2.-Muña: Minthostachys setosa, can be used in infusions. It has a medicinal use to treat headache, gastritis, mountain altitude sickness. Its antiseptic, analgesic and carminative properties have been proven. After the coca leaf, it is a traditional botanical species in the medicine of the Inca culture.

3.- Capulí: Prunus capulí Cav. Being a 20 meter high tree, it has three forms of application, the fruit is used as a depurative, the leaves as a heart rate regulator and for altitude sickness and the bark of the tree as an antirheumatic.

4.- Menta: Mentha piperita, the biochemical composition presents mainly eugenol and rosmarinic acid, which are anticoagulants. These can improve circulation but in minimal doses in case of people with diabetes. Its use, like the plants described above, is based on infusions.

5.- Chachacoma: Senecio nutans, high Andean plant that has a geographical distribution that covers the Peruvian Andes to the country of Argentina. It is a bush of 20 to 50 cm in height, branched and covered with leaves to the apex. According to several studies conducted in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, the use of this plant in infusions serves mainly for altitude sickness. The historical and scientific evidence supports the possibility of using these medicinal plants for the treatment of altitude sickness. The main biochemical components of these species improve the clinical picture present in MAM, mainly in the case of coca leaf, muña and chachacoma, since their action is at the circulatory level and can counteract the main symptoms of MAM. The appropriate way to use the medicinal plants described above is by means of infusions.

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