Prosopis juliflora

scientific name: 
Prosopis juliflora (Sw.) DC.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Shrub or small tree, up to 12 m high with spreading branches armed with straight spines 0.6-2.5 cm.  Leaves, petiolate 1-4 cm, bipinnate with glands between pairs of pinnae, pinnae 1 pair rarely 2, leaflets 12-20 pairs linear-oblong, 7-16 x 1.5-3.2 mm, apex obtuse or short abrupt point; inflorescence axillary in spikelike racemes, 5-10 cm long; flowers densely packed with pale yellow corolla 2.5 mm long; pod compressed, 7-20 cm x 1-1.6 cm, slightly curved, pale yellow; seeds brown 6 mm embedded in white sweet pulp.



ocular affections:

  leaf, juice, instillation1

For eye injuries:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

All home-made preparations with medicinal herbs for eye use should be disposed of 24 hours after preparation.

According to published and other information:

Use for bacterial conjunctivitis is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies and available published scientific information.

For application in the eyes, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.  Contact with conjunctiva-irritating substances should be avoided.

For conjunctivitis, there is a risk of increasing irritation with the application of the leaf juice.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition or should the ganglionar disorder persist more than 3 days, seek medical attention.

Not for use during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 5 years old.

TRAMIL Research17

The aqueous extract and the juice from the leaf instilled as per the Draize method in the lower conjunctival sac (0.1 mL) of Univalle albino rabbits did not cause signs of eye irritability until the fifth day following treatment.

The LD50 of the hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts by intraperitoneal administration to mice was 0.75 g/kg12.

Chronic ingestion of the pod by cattle has been reported as toxic18.

The sap obtained from an incision of the trunk has been reported as causing dermatitis19.

The proteins and glycoproteins contained in the pollen have been described with allergenic activity20-21.

Juliflorine, an alkaloid present in the leaf, did not induce mutagenicity in the Ames test or carcinogenicity16, and did not induce toxic manifestations when administered to mice (40 mg/kg)14.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

TRAMIL Research2

A preliminary phytochemical screening showed the presence of alkaloids and lipophilic pigments in the leaf.

Indole alkaloids were found in the leaf: juliflorine (or juliprosopine), juliprosine, julifloricine and julifloridine3-4. The leaf also contains serotonin5-6 and prosopidione (a sesquiterpene).

The stem contains ellagic acid heterosides.

The bark contains tannins and flavonoid heterosides.

Two new flavonones were isolated in the root7-9.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of dried leaf10: water: 0%; proteins: 19%; fat: 2.9%; carbohydrates: 69.6%; fiber: 21%; ash: 8.5%; calcium: 2080 mg; phosphorus: 220 mg.


TRAMIL Research11

The hydroalcoholic extract (95%) of the dried leaf in vitro had antimicrobial activity against Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus aureus andEscherichia coli.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts (25 µg/mL) in vitro did not show antibacterial activity12.

The leaf tincture was active against Neisseria gonorrhoeae in vitro, by inducing 100% growth inhibition13.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from the aerial parts showed antispasmodic activity in isolated guinea pig ileum test in vitro, and diuretic activity in vivo in rats12.

Juliflorine and julifloricine were active in vitro against gram + germs, Staphylococcus aureus, S. citreus, S. epidermis, Streptococcus pyogenes, andSarcina lutea (1 µg/mL), S. pneumoniae, S. lactis, Corynebacterium diphteriae var.mitis, C. hofmannii and Bacillus subtilis (5 µg/mL); Streptococcus faecalis was resistent. they These substances were inactive against gram – germs, Salmonella, Shigella, Proteus, Pseudomonas, Klebsiella and Escherichia coli14-15.

Juliflorine was active in vitro against Trichophyton rubrum, T. violaceum, T. mentagrophytes, T. tonsurans, T. megninii, T. gallinae, Microsporum canis, M. nanum, M. ferrugineum and Epidermophyton floccosum, with MIC = 1.5 µg/mL, and was also active against Candida albicans (MIC = 0.05 mg/mL) and C. tropicalis16.




1 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

2 ZWAVING J, 1986 Selección fitoquímica preliminar en algunas plantas TRAMIL. Dép. de Pharmacognosie, Universidad de Groningen, Groningen, Nederland.

3 AHMAD V, BASHA A, HAQUE W, 1978 New alkaloids from Prosopis juliflora. Z Naturforsch Ser 33:347.

4 OTT-LONGONI R, VISWANATHAN N, HESSE M, 1980 The structure of the alkaloid juliprosopine from Prosopis juliflora. Helv Chim Acta 63:2119-2129.

5 WILLAMAN J, LI H, 1970 Alkaloid-bearing plants and their contained alkaloids, 1957-1968. Lloydia 33(3A)Supp.

6 AHMAD VU, SULTANA A, 1989 A terpenoid diketone from the leaves ofProsopis juliflora. Phytochemistry 28(1):278-279.

7 MALHOTRA S, MISRA K, 1981 3,3'-di-O-methylellagic acid 4-0-rhamnoside from the roots of Prosopis juliflora. Phytochemistry 20(8):2043-2044.

8 SHUKLA NEE RV, MISRA K, 1981 Two flavonoid glycosides from the bark of Prosopis juliflora. Phytochemistry 20(1):339-340.

9 MALHOTRA S, MISRA K, 1981 An ellagic acid glycoside from the pods of Prosopis juliflora. Phytochemistry 20:860-861.

10 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants.Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p134.

11 LE GRAND A, WONDERGEM PA, 1986 Activités antimicrobiennes et études bibliographiques de la toxicologie de dix plantes médicinales de la Caraïbe. Rapport TRAMIL. Dép. de Pharmacognosie, Universités de Groningen & Leyden, Hollande.

12 DHAWAN BN, PATNAIK GK, RASTOGI RP, SINGH KK, TANDON JS, 1977 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. VI. Indian J Exp Biol 15(3):208-219.

13 CACERES A, MENENDEZ H, MENDEZ E, COHOBON E, SAMAYAO BE, JAUREGUI E, PERALTA E, CARRILLO G, 1992 Antigonorrheal activity of plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases. Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala, Guatemala.

14 AQEEL A, KHURSHEED AK, VIQARUDDIN A, SABIHA Q, 1989 Antimicrobial activity of julifloricine isolated from Prosopis juliflora. Arzneimittelforschung 39(6):652-655.

15 AHMAD A, KHAN KA, AHMAD VU, QAZI S, 1988 Antibacterial activity of an alkaloidal fraction of Prosopis juliflora. Fitoterapia 59(6):481-484.

16 KHURSHEED AK, Arshad HF, VIQARUDDIN A, Sabiha Q, ShEikh AR, Tahir SH, 1986 In vitro studies of antidermatophytic activity of juliflorine and its screening as carcinogen in Salmonella/microsome test system. Arzneimittelforschung 36(1):17-19.

17 HERRERA J, 1990 Determinación de actividades biológicas de vegetales utilizados en medicina tradicional. Informe TRAMIL. Dep. de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

18 DUKE JA, 1988 Handbook of medicinal herbs. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press.

19 FOX EC, 1941 Mesquite wood dermatitis. Arch Ama Dermatol Syphilol 44:1098.

20 THAKUR IS, 1986 Fractionation and immunochemical characterization of Prosopis juliflora pollen allergen. Biochem Int 13(6):951-960.

21 THAKUR IS, SHARMA JD, 1985 Isolation and characterization of allergens of Prosopis juliflora pollen grains. Biochem Int 11(6):903-912.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.