In South Central Texas, weeks before the official start of spring, leaves began to emerge on the mesquite trees (Prosopis glandulosa var. glandulosa). Here in Texas brush country, this small tree is a ubiquitous presence in parks, yards, and along roadsides. Its cream-colored flower spikes grow up to 3 inches long, and its pods remain closed even after ripening. But did you know that this legume is a traditional medicinal plant?
Here are some of the traditional uses for mesquite leaves, flowers, pods, and barks…watch those thorns!
Digestive remedy–Prepare a tea from the powdered leaves or pods for an astringent, antibacterial ulcer remedy. Good for intestinal upset as well.
Disinfectant wash–Prepare a decoction from any part of the tree. Strain and cool the decoction and use as an eye wash as needed.
Soothe sore throats–A mucilaginous gum oozes from wounds or scars in the tree bark. Collect the gum, rinse it, and dissolve it in warm water. One or 2 teaspoons of this mixture every hour as needed.
Who knew? So many plants, trees, and herbs that we take for granted have hidden benefits. Generations ago, these gifts were received and put to good use. Let’s continue to learn and share this priceless knowledge.
Blessings to you!