Mystroxylon aethiopicum is treated here in a broad sense. It is a very variable species and many of its forms have been given specific names. All these forms, however, appear to be interconnected by intermediates, so that it does not seem possible at present to recognise more than one species[
Cassine aethiopica Thunb.
Cassine confertiflora (Tul.) Loes.
Cassine engleriana Loes.
Cassine holstii Loes.
Cassine pubescens (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Kuntze
Cassine schlechteri (Loes.) Davison
Cassine sphaerophylla (Eckl. & Zeyh.) Kuntze
Cassine velutinum (Harv.) Loes.
Elaeodendron aethiopicum (Thunb.) Oliv.
Elaeodendron athranthum (Eckl. & Zeyh.) C. Presl
Elaeodendron confertifolium (Tul.) Szyszyl.
Elaeodendron gymnosporoides Baker
Elaeodendron nitidulum Baker
Elaeodendron oliganthum Baker
Elaeodendron pilosum Baker
Elaeodendron sphaerophyllum (Eckl. & Zeyh.) C. Presl
Elaeodendron vaccinioides Baker
Elaeodendron velutinum Harv.
Mystroxylon athranthum Eckl. & Zeyh.
Mystroxylon confertiflorum Tul.
Mystroxylon englerianum (Loes.) Loes.
Mystroxylon goetzei Loes.
Mystroxylon holstii (Loes.) Loes.
Mystroxylon kubu Eckl. & Zeyh.
Mystroxylon nyasicum Dunkley
Mystroxylon pubescens Eckl. & Zeyh.
Mystroxylon schlechteri Loes.
Mystroxylon sessiliflorum Eckl. & Zeyh.
Mystroxylon spilocarpum Eckl. & Zeyh.
Mystroxylon ussanguense Loes.
Mystroxylon aethiopicum is a usually evergreen shrub or a tree with a narrow crown; it usually grows from 2 - 12 metres tall, but exceptionally can reach 20 metres[
]. The bole is short, with plants often branching from ground level[
The bark is commonly harvested from the wild for medicinal use, being valued especially for its beneficial effect upon the stomach. It is amongst the most commonly used medicinal plants in Madagascar and is sold in local markets[
]. The plant is also a local source of food, dyes and wood.
Africa - Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda, Tanzania, Angola, Zambia, Malawi. Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, S. Africa.
Submontane evergreen forest, fringing forest, Brachystegia woodland, coastal woodland or savannah woodland; at elevations from sea level to around 2,100 metres[
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Fruit - raw[
]. A sweet edible pulp[
]. The fruit is a bright red to purplish-red, globose to ovoid drupe up to 20mm in diameter[
Crumbled and infused, the bark is much used in Kenya to make a tea that is also considered to be a good stomach-medicine[
The green leaves are used pulped up on sores[
The bark is antiabortifacient, diuretic, hypotensive, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. Crumbled and infused, it is much used in Kenya to make a tea that is considered to be a good stomach-medicine. Boiled in water with milk added it is given to young babies to treat a range of stomach conditions[
]. The decoction is also used to prevent miscarriages, to treat pulmonary complaints, hypertension, urinary infections, gonorrhoea and anaemia[
The plant is said to be free of alkaloids but to contain abundant leucanthocyanins and tannins, some saponins (not in the root bark) and a trace of sterols[
Small traces of alkaloid in the leaves and twigs have been reported[
The bark yields a brownish dye[
The wood is used to make knob-kerries, wooden spoons, tool handles, for hut-construction and furniture[
The wood is used for fuel[
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