Malpighia glabra L.

Nota de alcance (en)

Tropical America (South America and Caribbean region).

Historical background
The cemirucos were first mentioned by the Spaniards in 1548 as fruits resembling cherries (F. DE OVIEDO: IN VELEZ & VELEZ 1990).

Tropical America, West Indies, South of Mexico and Texas. In Venezuela it is amply distributed in the hot regions. It is now cultivated all over the tropics. The Semeruco is the emblematic plant of the State Lara in Venezuela.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Nutritional use
The juicy sour-sweet yellow pulp (meso carp) is edible and is eaten either raw or used in jellies or preserves. The red, cherry-like fruit has recently attained much importance as a source of vitamin C. It has a vitamin C content which exceeds that of oranges more than 100 -fold. 100 g of fruit pulp yield 1.7-4.0 mg ascorbic acid. The seeds are also edible.

Economical utilization
In pharmaceutical industry, the fruit is used to produce vitamin C tablets. The wood is used as a dye for a red colour. The shrub is furthermore a beautiful ornamental with its brilliant dark green foliage and the contrasting scarlet fruits; it is planted in gardens and as a hedge.

Medical use
The drug is called Malpighia glabra L. FRUCTUS. Root, bark and green immature fruits have astringent properties. Unripe fruits are eaten to prevent flu, as they contain a large amount of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). Powdered seeds mixed with the resin of the plant help against bronchitis.

Healing properties
The healing properties are due to the presence of ascorbic acid and possibly of tannins (astringent properties).

Chemical contents
Ascorbic acid and malic acid, which give a taste of apple to the fruit.


Uses: fever, bronchitis, flu, cough.                                                 

Origin: Belize, Brazil, Caribbean, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States of America, Venezuela.


Native to tropical America; cultivated in gardens as hedge.


Fruits—used in dysentery, diarrhoea and liver disorders.


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) Geraldini , Isanete, Journal of Ethnopharmacology v. 173, 2015 . -- p. 383-423

3) Khare, C.P./ Indian Medicinal Plants. -- Nueva Dheli: Springer, 2007 . - p  397.

Malpighia glabra L.
Término aceptado: 28-Dic-2016