Celastrus spinifolius Larrañaga
Maytenus hassleri Briq.
Maytenus muelleri Schw.
Maytenus officinalis Mabb.
Maytenus pilcomayensis Briq.
Common Name: Espinheira Santa
Photograph by: Not known
Photograph by: Not known
Espinheira santa is an evergreen shrub growing just 1 - 2 metres tall, or a tree with a globose crown that can be up to 5 metres. The smooth bole can be 15 - 25cm in diameter[
A popular herbal remedy in S. America, especially for treating stomach troubles. The plant is often gathered from the wild and is also sometimes grown as an ornamental[
S. America - Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, southern, central and eastern Brazil, Bolivia.
Forest undergrowth, usually near rivers[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Succeeds in full sun and in dappled shade[
]. Often found in the wild in poorly-draining, deep, clayey soils[
A slow-growing plant, scarcely reaching a height of 1.5 metres within 2 years[
Espinheira santa is a well-known herbal remedy in southern S. America where the leaves are seen as anodyne, antacid, antiasthmatic, anticancer, antiinflammatory, antiseptic, antiulcer, blood purifier, carminative, depurative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, mildly laxative, sialagogue and stomachic[
Research has demonstrated the presence of a range of medically active compounds, including maytansinoids and cangorins, both of which have been shown to have anti-cancer activity[
Another study showed that a hot water extract of the leaves was as effective as two of the leading anti-ulcer medications in treating stomach ulcers[
The leaves of the plant are brewed into a tea for the treatment of a range of digestive disorders including ulcers, indigestion, chronic gastritis, constipation, liver disorders and dyspepsia[
]. The leaves are also used internally for treating asthma, respiratory and urinary tract infections, diarrhoea, and to induce menstruation[
The leaf tea is also applied topically to wounds, rashes, and skin cancer[
]. A topical ointment is made with espinheira santa in Brazil and sold for treating skin cancer[
The wood is medium-textured, cross-grained, heavy, with low durability and moderate mechanical properties[
]. Because of its small dimensions, it is only used for items such as agricultural implements and light carpentry[
The wood is used for fuel and making charcoal[
Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shaded position in a nursery seedbed. A low germination rate can be expected, with the seed sprouting within 14 - 20 days[
]. When the seedlings have 4 - 5 leaves, pot them up into individual containers and they should be ready to plant out 7 months later[
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