Herbs & Plants

Cnestis ferruginea

Botanical Name: Cnestis ferruginea
Family: Connaraceae
Order: Oxalidales
Genus: Cnestis
Species: C. ferruginea

Habitat: The shrub Cnestis ferruginea is native to Africa. Western tropical Africa – Senegal to West Cameroons and in other parts of tropical Africa.

Cnestis ferruginea is a shrub or a tree growing to around 6 metres tall.It has simple, broad leaves. Individuals can grow to 6.5 m. Definition: A quality inhering in a plant by virtue of the bearer’s disposition to retain foliage.

The plant is a popular traditional medicine in Africa. With its scarlet fruits, it has value as an ornamental.


Edible Uses: The stems are cut to yield a potable sap.

Mediciinal Uses:
The tart, astringent fruit is chewed for oral hygiene. Extracts from the fruit have been found to have antimicrobial effects, especially against gram-positive bacteria.

The leaves are abortifacient and laxative. A decoction is used to treat bronchitis and also in cases where a laxative is of benefit.

The leaf is rubbed onto the body in the treatment of eba (fever), whilst the whole the pulped plant is similarly used for treating all manner of pains, mange, asthenia and as a sedative in insanity.

The sap expressed from leafy twigs is taken by draught for treating fevers.
The leaf-sap is placed on the eyelids and instilled into the eyes in the treatment of eye-troubles.

The leaves, or the roots, are used for treating dysmenorrhoea.

The powdered bark is rubbed into gums in the treatment of pyorrhoea.
A paste of the root-bark is rubbed on the forehead for treating headaches and, with the addition of the ash of the burnt bark of Calpocalyx Aubrévillei (as a vegetable salt) is given as an appetite stimulant in cases of illness.

The roots are purgative. A decoction is taken by draught as an aphrodisiac, and by enema for gynaecological troubles, and for dysentery and urethral discharge.

The roots enter into remedies for treating skin-infections, often applied as an ointment, and examination has shown action against Sarcina lutea and Staphylococcus aureus, but no action against Gram -ve organisms, nor fungi.

The fruit pulp is taken as a tonic, and is used to treat bronchial affections, especially whooping-cough and tuberculosis. A medicine of this, and allied species, is given to weakly children to encourage them to walk.
The fruit pulp is rubbed on the skin and is used as a medicine for the throat. The juice is used as an eye-instillation for various eye-complaints, principally conjunctivitis. The juice is applied to wounds.
The fruit, together with the seeds, is ground up with alcohol or boiled in wine to produce a remedy for snake-bite.

Other Uses:
The bitter fruits are used to clean the teeth. The fruit contains a soft, juicy, somewhat bitter and acid pulp. This is widely used in many parts of Africa to rub on the teeth to clean and whiten them. It leaves a refreshing taste in the mouth.

The bark yields a red dye which is used for dyeing clothing.

The stems are used to make bows.

Known Hazards:
Although widely used as a medicine and tooth cleaner in many parts of Africa, the fruits are considered toxic in Senegal.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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