A mysterious tree with many names, benefits and traditions. Used from the Pre-Hispanic era till today.
Since ancient times, Mimosa hostilis has been part of traditional medicine recipes in the Americas. Pre-Hispanic cultures, such as the Mayan and Nahua, among others, have used it to heal damaged tissues –like skin burns—and in cosmetic routines.
Mimosa hostilis grows from the tropical deciduous forests of Southern Mexico to the tropical forests of Northern Brazil. Its capacity to adapt to extreme conditions make it a resilient and strong tree.
The full scientific name of this tree is Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd) Poiret, and Mimosa hostilis is used as a synonym. In Brazil, it is popularly known as “jurema”, and in Mexico as “tepezcohuite”.
Nowadays, Mexican herbalists usually call it “skin tree” because most of its usages are related to the treatment of skin illnesses. By grounding the Mimosa tenuiflora bark, traditional doctors in different indigenous communities produce infusions, balms, and soaps, specially designed to regenerate the skin, but also to treat stomach illnesses, and fungal infections.
Indigenous women and traditional herbalists use tepezcohuite root bark powder as a great anti-aging and beauty ally. Tepezcohuite is the main ingredient in many cosmetic products for the treatment of acne, wrinkles reduction, spots and stretch marks from pregnancy. It is also used for controlling dandruff and stimulating hair growth. The famous Mexican actress, Salma Hayek, has advocated for the use of Tepezcohuite in beauty treatments and she even created a skin care product line with it.
This species came to the attention of scientists just over 150 years ago, although it was hardly studied until the 1980s. Now, much is known about this tree. Currently, Tepezcohuite / Jurema is used throughout the world as the subject of medical, pharmacological, preclinical and clinical research.
It is especially promising when it comes to skin care and regeneration. According to Laura Elizabeth Valencia-Gómez(2016), Mimosa hostilis has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties and it can play a large role in the regeneration of human skin cells. Scientists are looking at the possibility of having Mimosa Hostilis processed into films that can be applied to the skin for faster regeneration after wounds or burns have occurred. These regenerative effects is also one of the reasons that you see Mimosa root bark in an increasing number of skincremes and other cosmetic products.