Desmodium Adscendens: The Plant That Helps Us Breathe Better

Many of you are understandably searching for natural and holistic ways to support your lung health during these dangerous times. This is leading more people to discover a therapeutic botanical, Desmodium adscendens. I wanted to share my almost two decades of experience with this extraordinary medicinal plant.

I first heard about Desmodium adscendens about 15 years ago, when I read an account from Cynthia Watson, MD, a physician practicing women’s medicine in Santa Monica, California. She described her on-site investigations of native medicinal plants in Belize. Every day, after trekking through the jungle studying native healing plants, she would return to her home base utterly exhausted, her muscles aching from exertion. Her host served a strong tea made from the leaves of a native plant, known in different countries as Strong Back Herb, Amor Seco or Pega Pega, and by its Latin name, Desmodium adscendens, to botanists. Within 30 minutes, Dr. Watson reported that she would feel a significant reduction in her muscle aches and pain, and a dramatic improvement in her energy.

Desmodium adscendens in flower.

Intrigued, I immediately called Dr. Sidney McDaniel, a world-class botanist of the Upper Amazon in Peru, who was also our third cofounder of Whole World Botanicals (now deceased). I asked Sidney if Desmodium adscendens grew in the Peruvian jungle. “It sure does,” he told me. “But it’s not available commercially.” I wanted to try it myself and give it to others to try, so I asked him if he could help us collect some samples.

Sidney arranged for us to get some Desmodium adscendens, and after trying it myself, I fell in love with this plant for its ability to relieve fatigue and muscle pain and spasms.

Since Desmodium adscendens was not sold commercially in Peru, we started a partnership with a local Peruvian to wildcraft this plant and built a small drying facility on sunny patches of his untouched forest land. But it was only after we began to sell our Royal Desmodium Tea in the U.S. that I began to fully appreciate the highly unusual power of this plant to support lung function.

It was in that first year after we made this tea available to our customers that we started receiving extraordinary testimonials.

• Some years ago, a customer called to report that one of her lungs which had been collapsed for eight years, had re-inflated after she started drinking the Royal Desmodium Tea several times a day. A few weeks later, another customer called to report the re-inflation of one of her lungs after drinking the tea for about a month.

• Another customer called to say how grateful she was that her father, dying of lung cancer in home care, had received so much comfort from having a pitcher of Desmodium Tea by his bedside. He sipped the tea whenever he experienced trouble in breathing, preferring it to a nebulizer.

• Several customers said that our Royal Desmodium Liquid Extract was helpful in managing their COPD.

• Others with chronic sinus problems and bronchitis shared their appreciation for how it helped ease their breathing.

(All of these accounts are available on Whole World Botanicals’ website in the Testimonials section.)

I also have my own life-changing experience with Desmodium adscendens.

Thirty years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and received very aggressive treatment that included radiation to my breast tissue. The radiation doctor assured me that the radiation targeted only breast tissue and wouldn’t harm my lungs. Each woman’s experience with radiation is different, and ultimately, in my case, my doctor’s assurances proved too optimistic. More recently, I discovered that the lung behind the affected breast was damaged; the result was partial lung fibrosis and bronchiectasis. This is a condition that widens the bronchi and damages the cilia – the fine hairs in the bronchial tubes and esophagus. Bronchiectasis allows bacteria-laden phlegm into the lungs, greatly increasing the risk of lung infection and pneumonia.

When I was diagnosed, I immediately thought back to years ago, when one of our customers called to reorder a Royal Desmodium product. I was still taking orders for our company at that time and had many opportunities to hear customers share their experiences. She said she had bronchiectasis, and it was the first time I’d ever heard of the condition. Despite a regimen of year-round preventative antibiotics, she had ended up hospitalized with pneumonia for eight winters in a row! What she said next was truly stunning:

Your Desmodium product has saved my life. I’m now able to cough up the phlegm sitting in my lungs.

Since starting our Royal Desmodium, she had avoided pneumonia and hospitalization!

Going back over that conversation, I reached for the Whole World Botanicals Royal Desmodium, and am glad I did. I am now reverentially grateful to this abundant tropical rainforest plant and depend on it daily to keep my lungs clear.

I want to emphasize, I am not making a medical claim for this powerful plant. Desmodium adscendens does not prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any condition—that is the FDA’s definition of a medical claim. But for me and my customers with lung ailments, this natural botanical makes a world of difference.

May we all breathe well and live long!