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Bursera gummifera L.; Pistacia simaruba L.; Elaphrium ovalifolium Schlecht.

General appearance

Tree of 25m of height, generally straight and sometimes with a slight and characteristic twist in its middle part or superior, has the scaly and thin bark varying from red to green brown. The leaves are gathered in 5 to 7 leaflets, are bright green above and pale green below. The flowers have a greenish cream or pink cream color and are grouped in dense clusters and the fruits are round, immature green and ripe reddish brown.

Species native from Florida to Central America, which lives in warm, semi-warm and temperate climate from sea level to 1600m. It grows wild in undisturbed vegetation or in disturbed areas, associated with coastal dunes, tropical deciduous forests, subcaducifolio, subperenlifolio and perennifolio. In the state of Chiapas, in oak forest.

Major chemical constituents

No existe información referente a la química de esta planta. Sin embargo, en ensayos cualitativos se detectó la presencia de taninos en las hojas y tallo, y la ausencia de alcaloides, flavonoides y saponinas de la corteza.

Medicinal uses of Bursera simaruba

This species is prescribed in different ways to reduce fever or fever. The water where the branches have been boiled is used for bathing; the liquid resulting from the leaves scrubbed and mastruded in raw water, is drunk as water of time; the crushed leaves are applied as a poultice on the soles of the feet. The cooking of the bark is also used as time water or to make enemas, these are applied until the patient improves; the firing of the buds is used to apply fomentations.

It is advisable to ingest morning and evening the cooking of the leaves to treat kidney ailments. It is prescribed in the form of compresses on wounds. The cooking of the bark is taken as water for use against dysentery, stomach pain, whooping cough or to accelerate the evolution of measles. For the latter, in addition, it is recommended in bathrooms or rubs.

It is commonly used among Zapotecs, Mixes and Totonacs to cure dysentery.

Macerated with salt serves as an emetic. The buds of copal (or palo mulato) are liquefied in raw water, strained and taken as a purgative on an empty stomach. Fresh resin is used on burns of chechem (Metopium brownei); combined with tallow and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is put in the form of a poultice where there is pain due to rheumatism.

They are also used in cases of heat in the stomach, diarrhea, toothache, intestinal infection, liver disease, pushing, cough, venereal diseases, pimples, rash, heat of the bladder, rust, baths after childbirth, lower of weight, to eliminate coloradillas and ticks, against dropsy and venom of vipers.


The aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the aerial parts of the plant showed spasmolytic activity in guinea pig ileum.

The ethanolic extract exerted a vasodilatory activity in a study carried out in vitro with an organ isolated from rats (hips), as well as stimulating activity of the smooth muscle tested in the duodenum of rabbits.

A decoction of the plant, evaluated in rats by nasogastric route, showed diuretic activity at the dose of 1g / kg. Extracts obtained with methylene chloride (MeC12) from fruits, leaves and bark of the stem showed cytotoxic activity in culture of human colon carcinoma cells-115.

Different extracts of leaves and stems, as well as a tincture prepared with the bark of the plant, did not show antibiotic activity against different strains of bacteria and the fungi Candida albicans and Neurospora crassa, although antifungal activity was reported for the latter species. an ethanolic extract (95%).


The toxicity of an aqueous extract prepared with the aerial parts of this plant (leaves plus stems) was evaluated, finding that the minimum toxic dose evaluated in mice, by the intraperitoneal route, is 0.5ml / animal.

More information: http://www.medicinatradicionalmexicana.unam.mx/monografia.php?l=3&t=Bursera_simaruba&id=7736

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