Herb latin name: Gleditsia sinensis

Family: Leguminosae

Medicinal use of Gleditsia sinensis:

A decoction of the leaves is used for washing sores, including syphilitic skin diseases. The stem bark is anthelmintic and febrifuge. The fruit is antibacterial, antifungal, antitussive, astringent, emetic, expectorant, haemostatic and stimulant. It is used in the treatment of bronchial asthma with sticky phlegm, epilepsy and apoplexy with loss of consciousness. Overdosage can cause poisoning of the entire body, haemolysis of the blood. The seed is emetic, expectorant, decongestant and purgative. They have been used in the treatment of cancer of the rectum. The root bark is anthelmintic and antifebrile. The thorns on the plant are antipruritic. They are used in the treatment of acute purulent inflammation, dermatopathies and tonsillitis. They should not be used by pregnant women. The plant has been used in the treatment of lockjaw, stroke, acute numbness of the throat and epilepsy, but the report does not make clear whether the seed or the thorns of the plant are used

Description of the plant:


12 m
(39 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Dry valleys in W. China, 1000 - 1600 metres. Along valley streams or on level land.

Edible parts of Gleditsia sinensis:

The seed is roasted, dehusked, soaked until soft then boiled and eaten with sugar. Young leaves - cooked. A famine food used when all else fails.

Other uses of the herb:

The pod is used as a soap substitute. The seed is used. Tannin is obtained from the seedpod. Wood - strong, durable, coarse-grained. Used for general construction.

Propagation of Gleditsia sinensis:

Seed - pre-soak for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in spring in a greenhouse. The seed should have swollen up, in which case it can be sown, if it has not swollen then soak it for another 24 hours in warm water. If this does not work then file away some of the seed coat but be careful not to damage the embryo. Further soaking should then cause the seed to swell. One it has swollen, the seed should germinate within 2 - 4 weeks at 20C. As soon as they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual deep pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Give the plants some protection from the cold for their first few winters outdoors.

Cultivation of the herb:

Dry valleys in W. China, 1000 - 1600 metres. Along valley streams or on level land.

Known hazards of Gleditsia sinensis:

The plant contains potentially toxic compounds.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.