What is Estafiate?
“Estafiate” is one of the many common names for Artemisia ludoviciana, which is also known as white sagebrush, prairie sage, Mexican wormwood, and Louisiana sage, among other names. Despite its Latin name ludoviciana, which means Louisiana, subspecies of Estafiate can be found all over North America. Estafiate usually grows from 1-2 feet tall in rocky or sandy soil, and has leaves that can range from spear-shaped to irregularly- lobed. It produces small, yellowish or green flowers, and the plant is covered in tiny hairs, which lend it a silvery-green appearance. Typically, the fresh or dried leaves (and occasionally the flowers) of Estafiate are used medicinally Although, sometimes referred to being a “sage” because of its similar appearance, Estafiate is not related to sage (Salvia officinalis).
Estafiate Benefits and Uses
There has not been a great deal of scientific research conducted on the medical benefits of Estafiate, and most of its purported uses come from traditional and folk sources. However, a few ethnopharmacological studies done on Estafiate include the following:
Pain Reduction: In this study, the essential oil of Estafiate was given to mice at dosages of up to 316 mg/kg. It was found that Estafiate had a “significant antinociceptive effect” which may be due to an opioid mechanism. This may confirm the long-standing usage in Mexican folk medicine for treating pain with Estafiate.
Treating Malaria: Mice infected by Plasmodium yoelii were given a tincture of Estafiate for four days. On the fifth day, parasite reproduction was down by 99%.
Treats Diabetes: In Mexico, Estafiate is sometimes used to treat diabetes. In this study, again using mice and dosages of up to 316 mg/kg, it was found that certain preparations of Estafiate decreased blood sugar levels in normal and diabetic mice. An organic extract had the best results, effective on both sets of mice, while an infusion only affected diabetic mice. The essential oil was overall the least effective preparation.
Estafiate contains lactone glycosides such as artemisin and santonin, which probably provide most of the plant’s medicinal effects, and which are known to be anti-parasitic. It also contains thujone, a compound which is considered a poison in large doses, but which
may also serve a beneficial purpose, such as having antimicrobial properties. (For example, a study using a related plant containing thujone, wormwood, found that it inhibited growth of Candida albicans in vitro.) Additionally, Estafiate contains vitamins and trace minerals.
In addition to the above benefits, Estafiate has many traditional uses, especially in Mexico and by the native peoples of the United States, including the Blackfoot, Cheyenne, and Apache. Estafiate was used in smudging rituals for purification, and was burned to clear evil spirits, bad thoughts, and nightmares. It was commonly used to treat digestive problems, given as a tea for menstruating women, used as a remedy for colic, and applied topically for inflammation and skin infections. Estafiate was also used for expelling worms, like its relative wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), whose common name refers to this purpose.In fact, Estafiate was regarded in some areas as a general, all-purpose remedy.
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The dried leaves and flowering tops of Estafiate can be used to make a tea; however, it has an intensely bitter taste and can be difficult to drink. If you choose to make a tea, one teaspoon of dried Estafiate per cup of water should be used, and left to steep for 15 minutes. This tea can be taken as needed, but for safety reasons, start with a small amount, such as ¼ cup. Estafiate can also be taken as a tincture. One source suggests a 1:2 ratio of Estafiate to 95% alcohol, with 5-10 drops taken per day. Many sources indicate that Estafiate was traditionally taken only on a short-term basis for minor complaints.
Did you know? Estafiate has proven to reduce pain when given to mice? It can be used as a tea or smudged. Get it => https://t.co/GjnFeuUL7H
— MedicinalHerbals (@MedicinalHerbal) February 28, 2017
Estafiate Side Effects and Safety
Estafiate does not have any documented side effects in humans, although it may cause contact dermatitis in certain individuals. However, the FDA considers Estafiate unsafe to consume because it contains thujone, an “active narcotic poison.” In large doses, thujone can cause convulsions, delirium, paralysis, and potentially even death. However, since Estafiate has a long history of use, small, controlled doses should generally not be harmful in otherwise healthy people.
There has been no safety testing done to determine whether Estafiate interacts with any medical conditions or other medications. It should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, especially since Estafiate’s relative, wormwood, is an emmenogogue and possible abortifacient. Because Estafiate is related to other, more well-known members of Artemisia, it can be helpful to study safety information for these plants to get a better idea of its effects.
Where to Buy Estafiate
Estafiate is not an herb that is very popular today, but it does grow wild all over North America, and is more common in the southern United States. If you are collecting Estafiate in the wild, you should cut or carefully pinch the base of the plant, leaving a set of leaves, so the root system will remain healthy. Then, the stems can be bundled and hung to dry in a cool, dry, dark place. Plants collected after they have flowered will be more bitter.
Estafiate can look different depending on the subspecies, and can vary in appearance from plant to plant. The bitterness of Estafiate can also vary depending on the subspecies. If collecting wild is not an option, this is reputable Estafiate.