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Espinheira Santa Leaves Products

Maytenus ilicifolia Martius

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Espinheira Santa, Espinheira Santa Leaves, Espinheira Santa Leaves Powder, Espinheira Santa Leaves Tea, Espinheira Santa Tea

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Maytenus ilicifolia Martius

FAMILY: Celastraceae.

POPULAR NAME: cancerosa, cancrosa, bull's shadow, yerba santa, lifesaver, coromilho-docampo, maiteno, thorn-of-god.

PART USED: Leaves.


The leaves are mainly made up of terpenic compounds, phenolics, phytosteroids, alkaloids, anthocyanins, tannins, saponins, resin, mucilage and traces of mineral salts (iron, calcium, sodium, sulfur).


Antidyspeptic, antacid and mucosal protector gastric.


No effects have been reported to date serious adverse events or that pose a risk to the health of patients using espinheira-santa extracts in recommended doses. The appearance of symptoms such as: increased appetite, mouth sensation dryness, nausea and gastralgia.


Should not be used during pregnancy, lactation and in children under six years of age. Do not use in

people with hypersensitivity and sensitivity to plants from the Celastraceae family. Suspend use when carrying out nuclear medicine examinations.

Espinheira-santa: what it is for and how to make the tea

Scientific evidence

Espinheira santa leaves is a medicinal plant of the species Maytenus ilicifolia, rich in flavonoids, tannins and triterpenes, which have antioxidant, healing and gastric protective properties, and is therefore popularly used as a home remedy to assist in the treatment of gastric ulcers, heartburn , gastritis, acne or eczema.

The normally used part of the espinheira santa leaves are the leaves from which the active substances are extracted, which can be used mainly in the form of tea.

Although it has health benefits, the use of this medicinal plant does not replace medical treatment and should always be done with medical advice, or from another healthcare professional who has experience with the use of medicinal plants. 

What is it for

Due to its medicinal properties, espinheira santa leaves is normally recommended for: 

  1. Improve stomach problems

Espinheira santa leaves is rich in tannins, such as epigallocatechin, and polysaccharides, such as arabinogalactan, with strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and gastric protective action, which help to improve stomach problems such as gastric ulcers, heartburn, gastritis, poor digestion or pain stomach. 

This is because the active substances in espinheira santa leaves help reduce stomach acidity and protect the stomach from the acid it produces, relieving gastric symptoms such as pain or a burning sensation in the stomach.

Furthermore, some studies carried out with rats in the laboratory also show that espinheira santa leaves has a similar effect to cimetidine, a medicine used to reduce the production of acid in the stomach. 

  1. Fight H. pylori

Some studies show that espinheira santa leaves also has antibacterial action, being very useful for combating infection with the bacteria H. Pylori, which can cause lesions and ulcers in the stomach. 

  1. Help in cancer treatment

Studies using lung, breast and liver cancer cells have shown that espinheira santa leaves can reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, due to the presence of the triterpenoid pristimerin. However, more studies in humans are still needed to prove this benefit. 

  1. Improve intestinal function

Espinheira santa leaves can help improve intestinal function by having a mild laxative action. Therefore, drinking tea from this plant can help treat cases of mild to moderate constipation. 

  1. Has a diuretic action

Espinheira santa leaves has a mild diuretic action, which means that it eliminates excess fluid from the body, which can be useful to help treat fluid retention, but also in the treatment of urinary infections, as it keeps the urinary tract clean. 

  1. Help with skin healing

Espinheira santa leaves has analgesic and healing effects, which when used on the skin, can help in the treatment of skin problems such as eczema or acne. 

  1. Fight bacterial infections

Some in vitro studies carried out in the laboratory show that espinheira santa leaves has substances with antimicrobial action such as maitenin and friedelin, which help fight bacteria such as: 

- Staphylococcus aureus, which causes lung, skin and bone infections;

- Streptococcus sp., which cause urinary, skin or gum infections;

- Escherichia coli, which causes urinary tract infections.

Furthermore, espinheira santa leaves also has action against the fungus Aspergillus nigrans, which can cause aspergillosis. Find out what aspergillosis is.

How to use

Espinheira santa leaves can be used in the form of tea prepared with the dried or fresh leaves of the plant. 

Espinheira Santa Leaves

Espinheira santa leaves must be prepared with the dried leaves of this plant and used for a maximum period of 6 months of treatment, as per medical advice. 


1 teaspoon of dried espinheira santa leaves;

1 cup of boiling water.

Method of preparation 

Place the espinheira santa leaves in a cup of boiling water and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain and drink warm, up to 3 times a day, on an empty stomach, or about 30 minutes before meals. 

Add the dried espinheira-santa leaves to the boiling water. Wait for it to warm and apply to the affected skin daily. 

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may arise during the use of espinheira santa leaves are a feeling of dry mouth, nausea or changes in taste, especially when used in larger amounts than recommended or for more than 6 months. 

Furthermore, espinheira santa leaves can cause allergic reactions and therefore, its use should only be done with medical advice or from a health professional with experience in medicinal plants.

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