Latin: Picralima nitida
Parts Used: Dried seeds
Taste/Energetics: Extremely bitter, astringent
Properties: Anxiolytic, sedative, antispasmodic, opiate like analgesic, hypotensive
Actions: This is an herb that is starting to become internationally popular in the internet underground due to akuamma’s pain relieving properties. Akuamma seeds come from the Akuamma tree in Africa where it grows primarily in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana. It has been used to treat malaria, diarrhea and has long been known for its analgesic and muscle relaxing qualities. This is an herb to be cautious around as there is a lack of evidence of what could happen at large doses or when mixed with other substances. There is evidence that the main constituents (akuammidine, akuamigine) are opioid agonists and therefore elicit similar pain relief to opioids. There is no evidence of common addiction to the seeds, perhaps because they are so bitter and unpallatable.
In terms of mental health, this is an herb that might be chosen by some one who wants to shift to non-synthetic opiate agonist herbs (such as kratom) for pain relief. However, there is little in the way of euphoric mood boost which can accompany kratom. The effect is far more sedative and analgesic. It is still a relatively unknown agent here in the West and merits further study.
Dosage: 500 mg to 1 gram, generally in capsule form. Too bitter to take as powder or as a tea. When purchased in whole seed form, it usually takes a coffee grinder to powder the herb. One can just suck on and chew a seed for effect as well.
Contraindications: Yes a lot. Not enough is known about this herb and its effects, especially in large doses and should be treated with a great deal of respect. It does appear to be an opioid agonist and therefore all the same cautions around opioids should be mentioned including potential for respiratory depression, addiction, etc. Generally not to be mixed with other pain relievers, sedatives, hypotensives. It also appears to have a contraceptive effect in some studies and therefore should be avoided by those taking oral contraceptives or who are trying to get pregnant.