Caesalpinia benthamiana (Baill.) Herend. & Zarucchi
Mezoneuron benthamianum is a climbing or straggling shrub with stems up to 20 metres long and up to 8cm in diameter. The stems are armed with recurved spines[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use, mainly medicinal, but also as a source of water. It is sometimes planted into hedges to make them impenetrable.
The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
West tropical Africa - Senegal to Gabon.
Humid and ruderal localities in dry deciduous woodland and savannah, but is especially common in gallery forest and on roadsides[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
When cut the stems yield drinking water[
The leaves are chewed as a masticatory[
An infusion of the dried roots is drunk or used as a bath against general malaise[
]. A root decoction is drunk to cure dysentery[
]. The roots are added to palm wine to increase the strength or its aphrodisiac properties[
The stems and roots are used for dental hygiene, to sooth toothache and as an aphrodisiac[
A decoction of roots, bark and leaves is used to cure urethral discharge[
The leaves are depurative and mildly laxative. They are used to cure colic[
]. The young leaves are eaten as a treatment for hookworm or Guinea worm, and a macerate of leafy twigs is given to people suffering from impotence related to venereal diseases[
The leaves are applied externally as a paste to treat snakebites. Wounds, skin infections, piles and ulcers are treated with a watery macerate of leafy twigs, mashed-up leaves or leaf ash299].
The stem liquid is dropped in the eye to cure inflammation and cataract[
Gallic acid and gallate derivatives have been isolated from the leaves. Gallic acid and its methyl ester (methylgallate) inhibit the growth of both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, but the other gallate derivatives only suppress Gram-positive bacteria[
Petroleum spirit, chloroform and ethanol extracts of the roots showed antimicrobial activity on a range of organisms[299[.
The petroleum spirit and chloroform extracts display strong free radical scavenging activity[
The plant has vicious, recurved thorns and so is grown in hedges in order to make them impenetrable[
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