Mimosa hostilis | Jurema Preta | Root Bark | Mimosa tenuiflora | Brazil
Mimosa hostilis is found growing in the northeast region of Brazil, and found as far north as Mexico, including El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela. It prefers lower altitudes, but can be found growing as high as 1000m. In Brazil, the first tribes to ritualistically use this plant for its psychoactive properties are now extinct. The use of this plant was kept secret and passed from father to son by the descendents of this original tribe out of fear of severe prosecution by the white man. It was revived as the Jeruma Cult (O Culto de Jeruma). The traditional ritual itself is very complex. The inner root bark was the part traditionally used.
Centuries ago, the tree was used for charcoal production and wood, due to its durable nature. Otherqualities of Mimosa tenuiflora are antimicrobial, analgesic, antifungal, cicatrizing (to heal by scar formation), regenerative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging.
The Aztecs already knew of the Mimosa tree during pre-Columbian times. The name Tepeszohuite, which is now common in Mexico is derived from the Aztec tepus-cuahuitl “metal tree,” a reference to the tree’s extremely hard wood. Until recently it was thought that the Jurema cult had died out, but it is now experiencing a great renaissance.
For many centuries, the Aztecs and other indigenous groups used the Mimosa hostilis/tenuiflora root bark to treat skin burns and wounds. They also used it to make tea. Furthermore, Mimosa hostilis/tenuiflora is an excellent body paint or natural coloring agent for textiles. This tree has played a major role in the traditions of different indigenous tribes in both South, Central and North America.
The tree grows wild in southern Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and Brazil. It thrives best in tropical lowlands but can grow at altitudes of up to 1,000 meters.
This species came to the attention of scientists just over 150 years ago, although it was hardly studied until the 1980s. Now much is known about this tree. Currently, Tepezcohuite / Jurema is used throughout the world as the subject of medical, pharmacological, preclinical and clinical research on its various healing effects, antibiotic and regenerative effects on epithelial cells and for the elaboration of different medicinal products and standardized extracts. It has been combined within sophisticated formulas to produce cosmetic and entheogenic products. In recent years, Mimosa hostilis has been popularly used as an important element for the preparation of modern analogs of Aya brews.