Pharmacognostical studies of the plant drug Mimosae tenuiflorae cortex

J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Sep 25;113(3):400-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.06.023. Epub 2007 Jul 4.


The bark of the Mimosa tenuiflora (Willd.) Poiret (Leguminoseae) tree, known as tepescohuite in Mexico, is commonly used in this country and in Central America to elaborate different products for the treatment of skin burns and lesions. The cicatrizing properties of extracts obtained from this bark have been scientifically studied, attributing the main biological activity to its tannin and saponin content. Studies include clinical trials of phytodrugs based on Mimosae tenuiflora bark extracts for treatment of venous leg ulcerations. Recent commercialization of the plant drug Mimosae tenuiflorae cortex requires pharmacognostical information to develop quality-control methods for raw materials and extracts produced with this plant drug. The present paper reports a group of ethnobotanical, morphological, chemical, and molecular studies performed with Mimosae tenuiflora materials obtained by collection in the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas. Macro- and micro-morphological parameters were established to authenticate the genuine drug that allowed detection of adulterants usually found in commercial samples of this plant material. These morphological characteristics can be used for rapid identification of the drug and are particularly useful in the case of powdered materials. The chemical studies performed demonstrated that tannins represent the major component group in the bark. Its content in genuine tepescohuite is 16% and is mainly composed of proanthocyanidins, a condition permitting a tannin-based chemical-control method for fingerprinting the plant drug. Contrariwise, the saponin concentration in Mimosae tenuiflora bark is extremely low, and its isolation and content evaluation represent a complex procedure that is unsuitable for routine control purposes. Finally, random amplified DNA (RAPD) analysis results a useful tool for obtaining DNA specific markers of Mimosae tenuiflora species which should be useful in future studies involving raw material authentication by molecular methods.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Plant
  • Mimosa* / anatomy & histology
  • Mimosa* / genetics
  • Mimosa* / metabolism
  • Pharmacognosy
  • Plant Bark / anatomy & histology
  • Plant Bark / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plants, Medicinal / anatomy & histology
  • Plants, Medicinal / genetics
  • Plants, Medicinal / metabolism
  • Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA Technique
  • Saponins / metabolism
  • Tannins / metabolism


  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Extracts
  • Saponins
  • Tannins