Presented by: UT El Paso / Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program & Paso del Norte Health Foundation


Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD.

Scientific Name:


Other Common Name:

Canchalahua, cachanlagua, cachenlahuen, canchanlahue, cachen, cachinlagua, tlanchalagua (Quattrocchi, 2012; Berdonces, 2009; Torkelson, 1996; Toursarkissian, 1980).

Common names in Spanish:


Where is it found?

This annual South American plant is native to Chile and is considered to be one of the most important medical plants by the Mapuche indigenous people of that nation ((Mabberley, 2008; Wilhelm de Mosbach, 1999). The plant is also found in southern Argentina (Toursarkissian, 1980). The common name canchalagua can be confusing, as it is also applied to other very different plant species (Schkuhria spp. and Pectis spp. - Asteraceae) in Peru (Sung, 1996; Soukup, 1980).

Parts of the plant used:

The whole plant, especially the stalks and leaves.

How is it used?

The plant is boiled in water (decoction) and taken as a tea (Quattrocchi, 2012; Berdonces, 2009).

What is it used for?

Cachanlahue is a bitter-tasting tea used in Chilean traditional medicine for various ailments including diabetes, circulatory problems (especially hypertension), anorexia (loss of appetite), fever (this plant is sometimes used to substitute cinchona bark as an antipyretic), jaundice, stomach pain, liver and other gastrointestinal ailments, as a diaphoretic (to induce sweating) and for the treatment of blood disorders and rheumatism. Externally, the plant decoction is used as a hair wash for the treatment of alopecia (hair loss). Recently, the tea has been touted as a treatment for weight loss, although no clinical trials to confirm this are presently known (Quattrocchi, 2012; Berdonces, 2009).

Safety / Precautions

  • The safety of using cachanlahue during pregnancy and lactation has not been established.
  • People taking medications to treat diabetes or high blood pressure (hypertension) should consult with their healthcare provider before taking this herb.

Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with a health care professional first. Avoid self-medication and self-diagnosis: Always be on the safe side!


Berdonces JL. Gran Diccionario de las Plantas Medicinales.
Barcelona, Spain: Editorial Oceano; 2009; pp. 272-273.

Mabberley D J. Mabberley’s Plant Book 3rd ed.
London: Cambridge University Press; 2008; p. 165.

Quattrocchi, U. World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants (Vol.2).
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012; pp.180-181.

Soukup J. Vocabulario de los Nombres Vulgares de la Flora Peruana.
Lima, Perú: Editorial Salesiana; 1980; p. 101.

Sung I. Fitomedicina Vol 1.
Lima, Perú: Editorial Isabel; 1996; p. 139.

Torkelson A. The Cross Name Index to Medicinal Plants. Vol. 1.
Boca Raton, FL.: CRC Press; 1996; p. 85.

Toursarkissian M. Plantas Medicinales de la Argentina.
Buenos Aires: Editorial Hemisferio Sur, 1980; p. 55.

White R. Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Names of North America Including Mexico.
Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2003; p. 253.

Wilhelm de Mosbach E. Botánica Indígena de Chile.
Santiago: Editorial Andres Bello; 1999; p. 101.