Herb: Cape Myrtle


Latin name: Myrsine africana


Synonyms: Myrsine retusa


Family: Myrsinaceae (Myrsine Family)



Medicinal use of Cape Myrtle:

The fruit is used as an anthelmintic, especially in the treatment of tape worm. It is also laxative and is used in the treatment of dropsy and colic. The fruit contains 3% embelic acid and 1% quercitol, the seed contains 4.8% embelic acid and 1% quercitol. These are the active ingredients that work as an anthelmintic. A gum obtained from the plant is used as a warming remedy in the treatment of dysmenorrhoea. A decoction of the leaf is used as a blood purifier.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Shrub

Height:
75 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
May


Scent:
Scented
Shrub

Habitat of the herb:

Arid stony places and woodlands in W. China. Prefers shady places in the drier oak and rhododendron forests of the Himalayas to 2700 metres.

Edible parts of Cape Myrtle:

Fruit. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter and contains a single seed. Two other reports say that the fruit is used as an anthelmintic. The seed is used as an adulterant of pepper.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants are used for hedging in warm temperate zones. The plant is used in technology. This report gives no more details, we assume that it refers to the wood being used.

Propagation of Cape Myrtle:

Seed - sow late winter or early spring in a warm greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a semi-shaded position in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 3 - 6cm long with a heel in individual pots, July/August in a frame. Good percentage.

Cultivation of the herb:

Arid stony places and woodlands in W. China. Prefers shady places in the drier oak and rhododendron forests of the Himalayas to 2700 metres.

Known hazards of Myrsine africana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.