Herbs & Plants

Ehretia cymosa

Botanical Name: Ehretia cymosa
Family: Boraginaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Boraginales
Genus: Ehretia
Species:E. cymosa

Common Names: Mpelu, Mnemvu (Tanzania), Murembu (Meru), Shekutu (Luhya), Yambu (Chagga), Mororwet (Nandy), Alébé (Baoulé), Bélékou, Blikou (Gouro), Grakou (Shien), Labassa (Ewé), Zomena, Zomali (Adja), Zoma, Zozoma, Myonma (Fon), Myoma (Sahouè) and Ulaagaa (Arsi).

Habitat :
Ehretia cymosa occurs over a wide range of habitat throughout of western, central and eastern Africa, including Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Kenya, Comoros, Madagascar, Mascarenes, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Ehretia cymosa is a deciduous shrub or small tree, only growing up to 7 metres tall in the western parts of its range, but can sometimes reach heights of 20 – 25 metres elsewhere. The crown is spreading, often with drooping branches. The bole is often crooked and branching from low down, it can be up to 30cm in diameter.
The tree has a number of uses, supplying medicines, food and wood for the local population. It has potential for use as a pioneer to restore native woodland and is sometimes grown as an ornamenta.


Through Seed – usually sown in situ within its native range. When sown fresh, the seed can start germinating within 3 days, with some seed taking up to 35 days. The seed can be stored for some time.

Edible Uses:
The Fruit is edible. The fruit is a black, ovoid to globose drupe 2 – 6mm long.

The fresh leaves are sometimes used in sauces. They are said to be very nutritious for pregnant and nursing women.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are febrifuge, haemostatic and laxative. Sap from the fresh leaves is used as a mild laxative for children. The leaves are commonly used in an infusion with other plants, taken orally and also used as a wash, to treat fevers, children’s convulsions, etc.
Leaf poultices are applied to fractured bones to promote healing. The leaf, usually after pounding with that of Newbouldia laevis and a guinea pepper, is tied on the head as a remedy for headaches.

The crushed roots, mixed in water, are taken as a treatment against stomach complaints.
The root juice is applied to wounds.

A decoction of the roots and leaves is used as a treatment for infantile tetanus and dysentery.

A decoction of the bark is taken as a remedy for amenorrhoea, and the decoction when left to cool separates to a supernatant layer of oil which is applied to skin-affections.

A trace of alkaloid has been detected in the plant.

Other Different Uses::
A natural pioneer species within its native range, where it is often found in secondary forest formations.
The tree is sometimes grown to provide shade in coffee plantations.
The leaves make a good mulch.
The flowers are a good forage for bees.

The stems are sometimes used as chewsticks to clean the teeth and maintain healthy gums.

Ropes can be made from the fibrous bark.

The greyish brown wood has alternate darker and lighter bands. It is lustrous; texture is moderately fine and even; the wood is moderately lightweight; and is not durable. The wood is described as perishable. It is, however, used locally to make furniture, cabinet making, poles, tool handles and yokes.
The wood is used for fuel and to make charcoal

Known Hazards:
The people in some areas of Africa consider the roots and leaves to be toxic to grazing animals, but the leaves are grazed without reports of adverse effects in other areas on the continent.

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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