Family: Mimosaceae – Fabaceae
Species: Mimosa hostilis (syn. Mimosa tenuiflora, Acacia tenuiflora, Mimosa cabrera)
Origin: South America
Common names: Jurema, Tepezcohuite, Jurema Preta, Calumbi, Yurema, Ajucá, Cabrero, Jurema negro, Tapescahuite, Vinha da jurema, Espineiro, Tepescohuite, Veuêka, Carbon.
The Aztecs already knew of the Mimosa tree during pre-Columbian times. The name Tepeszohuite, which is now common in Mexico is derived from the Aztec tepus-cuahuitl “metal tree,” a reference to the tree’s extremely hard wood. Until recently it was thought that the Jurema cult had died out, but it is now experiencing a great renaissance.
The tree grows wild in southern Mexico, Central America, Venezuela and Brazil. It thrives best in tropical lowlands but can grow at altitudes of up to 1,000 meters.
For many centuries, the Aztecs and other indigenous groups used the Mimosa hostilis / tenuiflora root bark, to treat skin burns and wounds. They also used it to make tea. Furthermore, Mimosa tenuiflora /hostilis is an excellent body paint or natural coloring agent for textiles. This tree has played a major role in the traditions of different indigenous tribes in South and Central America.