Tepezcohuite (Mimosa tenuiflora) is a perennial tree that is tied to traditional medicine. It’s also known as tepescohuite, jurema preta, mimosa hostilis, mimosa tenuiflora, calumbi, and binho de jurema.

Tepezcohuite grows primarily in Central and South America. Brazil and Mexico are its largest producers.

Its bark and fern-like leaves are believed to have many medicinal properties. It’s mainly used to treat signs of skin aging, as well as skin wounds, ulcers, and burns (1, 2).

It’s also known for its psychoactive properties and is sometimes used in traditional religious ceremonies (1, 2).

Despite its supposed benefits, it’s rarely used as a skin care ingredient in other areas of the world, which may make you wonder if it’s something you should try.

This article explains all you need to know about tepezcohuite, including its benefits, uses, and side effects.

Tepezcohuite plant and flowerShare on Pinterest
Stefan Schottleitner/Getty Images

Though research on tepezcohuite is limited, it has many purported health benefits, mainly for skin health and aging.

Wound healing

Tepezcohuite is best known for its ability to heal wounds and skin injuries.

Interestingly, the Red Cross used tepezcohuite bark powder as a treatment for more than 5,000 burn victims from the 1984 Mexico City gas explosion, due to its skin healing and antiseptic properties (2, 3).

Since then, researchers have further investigated its effects on wound healing. Tepezcohuite is believed to contain compounds, such as tannins and saponins, that promote skin rejuvenation due to their antioxidant and antimicrobial effects (4, 5, 6, 7).

In a 2007 study in people with leg ulcers, those treated with 5% tepezcohuite extract had a 92% decrease in ulcer size after 8 weeks, while the control group showed no improvements (3).

However, a small study in 2012 found that participants who used tepezcohuite extract for 8 weeks had no significant improvements in leg ulcer size compared with the control group (8).

Beyond these two studies, few human trials exist. While anecdotal reports and use in traditional medicine should not go unnoticed, more research is needed.

Skin ailments

Despite claims that tepezcohuite can treat various skin issues such as skin aging, acne, and psoriasis, no research trials are available on the subject.

Given that tepezcohuite is high in antioxidants, lipids, and tannins that support skin healing and rejuvenation, it may, theoretically, have potentially beneficial effects on other skin conditions as well (1, 5).

In fact, it has gained popularity as an remedy for signs of aging among celebrities who swear by its ability to regenerate young skin cells.

The increase in skin care companies incorporating tepezcohuite into their products may spark interest in conducting more clinical trials on the subject. Until then, there’s not enough research to recommend it as an effective remedy for skin ailments.

Other claims

Tepezcohuite has been used in traditional medicine to treat many health issues, such as cough, bronchitis, vaginal infections, stomach ulcers, and pain.

Some small and preliminary animal studies have suggested that tepezcohuite may relieve pain, but this is not well established (1, 9).

There are currently no human trials that show tepezcohuite applied topically or taken orally will alleviate these health concerns. Therefore, more research is needed.

Summary

Small human studies and anecdotal reports have suggested that tepezcohuite may increase wound healing. However, there is limited evidence to support its use for other skin or health issues.

To date, there are few reports of side effects from tepezcohuite, especially when it’s used topically.

Side effects of topical use may include a burning and tingling sensation or skin irritation (8).

Some animal studies have suggested that consuming tepezcohuite seeds and fresh leaves may result in fetal abnormalities or embryonic death, so you should avoid using it if you are pregnant (10, 11).

Moreover, no drug interactions are known (10, 11).

However, the bark and roots of tepezcohuite contain a compound known as N, N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT), which has psychoactive properties when consumed orally. Since the dosage to produce a psychoactive response isn’t well established, it’s best to avoid it (1).

The safety and effectiveness of tepezcohuite in people who are taking medication, have health conditions, or are pregnant or breastfeeding have not been established. Therefore, it’s best to avoid tepezcohuite if you fall into any of these categories.

Summary

Though generally safe for topical application, tepezcohuite bark and roots have psychoactive properties when consumed orally. If you have any health conditions, are taking medication, or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s best to avoid use.

Traditionally, dried tepezcohuite powder is used as a topical wash to treat various skin ailments. Presently, it’s more commonly found in creams and lotions.

Due to growing interest in tepezcohuite, some skin care companies are beginning to incorporate it into products as a remedy for signs of skin aging.

Its bark and roots have also been used to make a psychoactive drink that’s consumed as part of religious ceremonies such as Jurema in Brazil (1, 12).

Summary

Tepezcohuite is usually prepared as a dried powder or cream to apply topically to the skin. It’s also used as a psychoactive beverage in traditional religious ceremonies.

Tepezcohuite is a perennial tree native to Central and South America. It’s used as a psychoactive beverage in religious ceremonies as well as in traditional medicine.

While proponents of it use cite benefits such as reduced signs of skin aging, wound healing, and pain relief, there’s little research on the topic. Available studies suggest it may support the healing of leg ulcers, but more research is warranted.

It’s likely safe when applied topically to the skin but should not be consumed orally due to its psychoactive properties and unknown safety profile.

If you’re looking to try tepezcohuite, it’s best to use it only topically after consulting a healthcare professional to make sure it’s right for you.