Mimosa tenuiflora

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Mimosa tenuiflora
File:Mimosa -tenuiflora-Jurema.jpg
File:Mimosa tenuiflora — João de Deus Medeiros 002.jpg
Mimosa tenuiflora
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Fabales
Family: Fabaceae
Subfamily: Mimosoideae
Genus: Mimosa
Species: M. tenuiflora
Binomial name
Mimosa tenuiflora
(Willd.) Poir.[1][2]
Range of Mimosa tenuiflora

Mimosa tenuiflora, syn. Mimosa hostilis (Jurema, Tepezcohuite) is a perennial tree or shrub native to the northeastern region of Brazil (Paraíba, Rio Grande do Norte, Ceará, Pernambuco, Bahia) and found as far north as southern Mexico (Oaxaca and coast of Chiapas).[3] It is most often found in lower altitudes, but it can be found as high as 1000 m.[3]


The fern-like branches have leaves that are Mimosa like, finely pinnate, growing to 5 cm long. Each compound leaf contains 15–33 pairs of bright green leaflets 5–6 mm long. The tree itself grows up to 8 m tall[3] and it can reach 4–5 m tall in less than 5 years. The white,[3] fragrant flowers occur in loosely cylindrical spikes 4–8 cm long. In the Northern Hemisphere it blossoms and produces fruit from November to June or July.[4] In the Southern Hemisphere it blooms primarily from September to January. The fruit is brittle and averages 2.5–5 cm long. Each pod contains 4–6 seeds that are oval, flat, light brown and 3–4 mm in diameter. There are about 145 seeds/g.[5] In the Southern Hemisphere, the fruit ripens from February to April.

Small Mimosa tenuiflora stem and roots

The tree's bark is dark brown to gray. It splits lengthwise and the inside is reddish brown.

The tree's wood is dark reddish brown with a yellow center. It is very dense, durable and strong, having a density of about 1.11 g/cm³.[6]

Mimosa tenuiflora does very well after a forest fire, or other major ecological disturbance.[7] It is a prolific pioneer plant.[7] It drops its leaves on the ground, continuously forming a thin layer of mulch and eventually humus. Along with its ability to fix nitrogen, the tree conditions the soil, making it ready for other plant species to come along.

Medicinal uses

File:Mimosa hostilis rootbark.jpg
Mimosa tenuiflora root bark

The Mayans of Mexico have used roasted Mimosa tenuiflora "tepezcohuite" bark to treat lesions of the skin for over a thousand years.[8][unreliable source?] A tea made of the leaves and stem has been used to treat tooth pain.[9] For cases of cough and bronchitis, a water extract (decoction) of Mimosa tenuiflora is drunk.[10] A handful of bark in one liter of water is used by itself or in a syrup.[10] The solution is drunk until the symptoms subside.[10]

One preliminary clinical study found Mimosa tenuiflora to be effective in treating venous leg ulcerations.[11]

Other uses

Mimosa tenuiflora syn. Mimosa hostilis provides life saving food for animals in drought.

The tree is an acceptable source of forage or fodder for animals, providing vital protein and other nutrients.[7] It does well in the dry season and in drought, while providing life saving food for local livestock and animals.[7] Cows, goats and sheep eat the pods and leaves. There seems to be evidence that Mimosa tenuiflora forage or fodder cause development defects to pregnant ruminants in Brazil.[12][13]

The tree is an important source of forage for bees, especially during the dry season and in the beginning of the wet season.

Like most plants in the Fabaceae family, Mimosa tenuiflora fertilizes the soil via nitrogen fixing bacteria.[14] The tree is useful in fighting soil erosion and for reforestation.

Mimosa tenuiflora is a very good source of fuel wood and works very well for making posts,[14] most likely because of its high tannin content (16%[15]), which protects it from rot. Due to its high tannin content, the bark of the tree is widely used as a natural dye and in leather production. It is used to make bridges, buildings, fences, furniture and wheels. It is an excellent source of charcoal and at least one study has been done to see why this is the case.[16]

The healing properties of the tree make it useful in treating domestic animals. A solution of the leaves or bark can also be used for washing animals in the prevention of parasites. Because the tree keeps most of its leaves during the dry season, it is an important source of shade for animals and plants during that time.


The bark is known to be rich in tannins, saponins, alkaloids, lipids, phytosterols, glucosides, xylose, rhamnose, arabinose, lupeol, methoxychalcones and kukulkanins.[citation needed]

Entheogenic uses

File:Mimosa tenuiflora — João de Deus Medeiros 003.jpg
Mimosa tenuiflora' syn. Mimosa hostilis

Mimosa tenuiflora is an entheogen known as Jurema, Jurema Preta, Black Jurema, and Vinho de Jurema. Dried Mexican Mimosa tenuiflora root bark has been recently shown to have a DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) content of about 1%.[3] The stem bark has about 0.03% DMT.[17] The bark is the part of the tree traditionally used in northeastern Brazil in a psychoactive decoction also called Jurema or Yurema. Analogously, the traditional Western Amazonian sacrament Ayahuasca is brewed from indigenous ayahuasca vines. However, to date no β-carbolines such as harmala alkaloids have been detected in Mimosa tenuiflora decoctions, yet the root bark is consistently used without added MAOI.[citation needed]

This presents challenges to the pharmacological understanding of how DMT from the plant is rendered orally active as an entheogen.[citation needed] In this view, if MAOI is neither present in the plant nor added to the mixture, the enzyme MAO will break apart DMT in the human gut, preventing the active molecule from entering blood and brain.

The isolation of a new compound "Yuremamine" Mimosa tenuiflora as reported in 2005 represents a new class of phyto-indoles,[18] which may explain an apparent oral activity of DMT in Jurema.


For outside planting, USDA Zone 9 or higher is recommended.[19]

In nature, Mimosa tenuiflora "[...] fruits and seeds are disseminated by the wind in a radius of 5–8 m from the mother plant; rain carries them from slopes to lower plains and human activities contribute to their dissemination."[20]

For cultivation, the seed pods are collected once they start to spontaneously open on the tree. The collected pods are laid out in the sun so that the pods open up and release their seeds. The seeds can then be planted in sandy soil with sun exposure.

Scarification of the seed via mechanical means or by using sulfuric acid greatly increases the germination rate of the seeds over non-treatment.[20] The seeds can be sown directly into holes in the ground or planted in prepared areas.

The seeds can germinate in temperatures ranging from 10 to 30 °C, but the highest germination rate occurs at around 25 °C (about 96%), even after four years of storage.[20] Germination takes about 2–4 weeks.

It is also possible to propagate Mimosa tenuiflora via cuttings.[3]

Trimming adult Mimosa tenuiflorae during the rainy season is not recommended because it can cause them to perish.[6]

See also


  1. "Acacia tenuiflora - ILDIS LegumeWeb". ildis.org. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  2. "Mimosa tenuiflora information from NPGS/GRIN". ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Rätsch, Christian. Enzyklopädie der psychoaktiven Pflanzen. Botanik, Ethnopharmakologie und Anwendungen. Aarau: AT-Verl. p. 15. ISBN 978-3-85502-570-1. 
  4. Camargo-Ricalde SL (December 2000). "[Description, distribution, anatomy, chemical composition and uses of Mimosa tenuiflora (Fabaceae-Mimosoideae) in Mexico]". Rev. Biol. Trop. (in Spanish; Castilian) 48 (4): 939–54. PMID 11487939. 
  5. "Mimosa hostilis (Jurema Preta) in Profile". b-and-t-world-seeds.com. Retrieved 2008-05-04. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Kew: Northeast Brazil Fuelwood Project - activities and progress". kew.org. Retrieved 2008-05-05. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Ivonete Alves Bakke; Olaf Andreas Bakke; Alberício Pereira Andrade; Ignacio Hernan Salcedo (Mar 2007). "Forage yield and quality of a dense thorny and thornless "jurema-preta" stand". Pesquisa Agropecuária Brasileira 42 (3). ISSN 0100-204X. doi:10.1590/S0100-204X2007000300006. 
  8. "Of patents & pi®ates". grain.org. 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  9. Ulysses P de Albuquerque (2006). Table 1: List of medicinal plants used in a rural community in the municipality of Alagoinha, Pernambuco, NE Brazil. "Re-examining hypotheses concerning the use and knowledge of medicinal plants: a study in the Caatinga vegetation of NE Brazil". Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 2 (1): 30. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-2-30. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 de Fátima Agra M, de Freitas PF, Barbosa-Filho JM. (2007). "Synopsis of the plants known as medicinal and poisonous in Northeast of Brazil". Brazilian Journal of Pharmacognosy 17 (1): 114–40. ISSN 0102-695X. doi:10.1590/S0102-695X2007000100021. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. 
  11. Rivera-Arce E, Chávez-Soto MA, Herrera-Arellano A et al. (February 2007). "Therapeutic effectiveness of a Mimosa tenuiflora cortex extract in venous leg ulceration treatment". J Ethnopharmacol 109 (3): 523–8. PMID 17088036. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.08.032. 
  12. Medeiros RM, de Figueiredo AP, Benício TM, Dantas FP, Riet-Correa F (February 2008). "Teratogenicity of Mimosa tenuiflora seeds to pregnant rats". Toxicon 51 (2): 316–9. PMID 18078971. doi:10.1016/j.toxicon.2007.06.012. 
  13. Pimentel LA, Correa FR, Gardner D et al. (November 2007). "Mimosa tenuiflora as a cause of malformations in ruminants in the northeastern Brazilian semiarid rangelands". Vet. Pathol. 44 (6): 928–31. PMID 18039908. doi:10.1354/vp.44-6-928. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 "Exploitation of the potential of multipurpose trees and shrubs in agroforestry". worldagroforestry.org. 1987. ISBN 929059036X. Archived from the original on 2013-08-19. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  15. Rivera-Arce E, Gattuso M, Alvarado R et al. (September 2007). "Pharmacognostical studies of the plant drug Mimosae tenuiflorae cortex". J Ethnopharmacol 113 (3): 400–8. PMID 17709219. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.06.023. 
  16. "Lazaro Benedito da Silva". kew.org. Archived from the original on 2009-01-24. Retrieved 2008-04-20. 
  17. Jonathan Ott (1998). "Pharmahuasca: Human pharmacology of oral DMT plus Harmine". Journal of Psychoactive Drugs 31 (2): 171–7. PMID 10438001. doi:10.1080/02791072.1999.10471741. Archived from the original on 2012-01-24. Retrieved 2013-08-19. 
  18. Vepsäläinen JJ, Auriola S, Tukiainen M, Ropponen N, Callaway JC (November 2005). "Isolation and characterization of yuremamine, a new phytoindole". Planta Med. 71 (11): 1053–7. PMID 16320208. doi:10.1055/s-2005-873131. 
  19. "Mimosa hostilis from B & T World Seeds". b-and-t-world-seeds.com. Retrieved 2008-05-04. [dead link]
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Sara L. Camargo-Ricalde, Rosaura Grether (Sep 1998). "Germinación, dispersión y establecimiento de plántulas de Mimosa tenuiflora (Leguminosae) en México". Revista de Biología Tropical 46 (3). ISSN 0034-7744. 

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