Cleome spinosa JACQ.

Nota de alcance (en)

It is considered as a weed. However it is used as a barbasco to kill fish. An infusion of the leaves is used to calm aches of the ear in the form of a washing. It is also applied as a barbasco to kill cockroaches, bedbugs and similar insects. Furthermore, it has rubefacient properties .

Tropical America, Andean subregion.

The species is common in Venezuela and is mainly found in hot and arid regions. It also occurs in Colombia, Panama, Peru and Bolivia.

Ethnobotanical and general use
The infusion of the leaves is applied as an insecticide for cockroaches, bugs and other insects and as a fish poison.

Medical use
Name of the drug: Cleome spinosa JACQUIN, folia. The leaves, stipes, roots and seeds are used in popular medicine. In Cojedes, Venezuela, an infusion of the leaves applied as a lotion cures ear-ache. The sap extracted from the leaves and mixed with olive oil is introduced into the acoustic duct by the Kallawaya in Bolivia to cure otitis. The Kallawaya also apply the fresh or dry leaves pepared as an infusion and in small doses against stomache ache and flatulence. Ground and boiled in water, the leaves are used as a very hot cataplasm which applied to the temples cures migraine. Fresh or dried leaves and stipes, ground and macerated in 40% alcohol are applied as massage to cure rheumatism of the limbs. The sap extracted from the stipes when inhaled helps against sinusitis and very strong head ache. Boiled in water and provided with some fresh urine, the decoction of the leaves serves as a bath for rickety children. The species has also rubefacient properties in the leaves, the cortex of the root and the spines, due to a volatile principle allyl mustard oil, present in the myrosine cells. The plant is also used to cure diseases of the liver.

The seeds, if ingested, are said to be toxic.


Leaf: Juice of leaf is a vesicant which is used in French Guiana as a substitute for cantharides (Spanish fly) without having an unpleasant affect on the urinary tract.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

1) South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

2) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017.

Cleome spinosa JACQ.
Término aceptado: 22-Dic-2016