7 junio, 2024

Tejocote root: benefits, contraindications and side effects

What is tejocote root?

The hawthorn root (crataegus mexicana) is a product from the tejocote fruit tree. This tree belongs to the Rosaceae family and is found in various regions of Mexico such as Puebla, the State of Mexico and Oaxaca, as well as in parts of Guatemala.

All parts of the tree, including its root, have pharmaceutical properties against different human pathologies, such as heart, neurological, intestinal, renal and respiratory diseases.

For this reason, it has been detected that the root has properties to promote diuresis. However, it has aroused more interest because it is attributed the benefit of weight loss, an effect that has not really been certified.

Nutritional information

Chemical studies indicate that genera crataegus they contain various phenolic compounds such as proanthocyanidins and many antioxidant substances such as flavonoids, tannins, terpenes and vitamin C. In addition to amines, mineral salts and essential oil.

This valuable nutritional contribution is present in all parts of the hawthorn and is beneficial for health.

The relevance that the tejocote root has today is due to its high content of phenolic compounds and flavonoids that give it various medicinal properties. Although it has been less studied than the fruits, it is used in the manufacture of nutraceutical products.

The tejocote is part of the Mexican gastronomic culture and with its fruits a drink known as punch is made, very traditional at Christmas. The consumption of the infusion of its root is common in the Mexican population.

These infusions are prepared by cooking pieces of the root with different herbs, such as mint, as well as being combined with chamomile tea and different fruits.

On the other hand, the fruits are widely used in the agri-food industry, in the production of pectins for the manufacture and nutritional enrichment of various foods, such as jellies, jams, among others.

Health benefits

Renal, intestinal, cardiovascular pathologies and diabetes

Tejocote root has been used since pre-Hispanic times by Mexican indigenous people as a natural remedy against kidney diseases, due to its diuretic property.

In cardiac disorders, it helps vasodilation of the coronary artery, regulates blood pressure and controls arrhythmias. In the respiratory system, it promotes nasal decongestion and calms coughs, asthma and bronchitis.

While in intestinal conditions it relieves abdominal pain and diarrhea. Specifically, it destroys helminth parasites such as Ascaris lumbricoides and pinworms. It also controls dysentery or diarrhea caused by amoebas such as entamoeba histolytica.

The tannins and flavonoids of the tejocote root have an effect against diabetes. These reduce blood sugar levels in the early stages of the disease. For this reason, it is used as a curative and preventive treatment of this pathology.

These antioxidants have lipid-lowering action, that is, they lower bad cholesterol levels in the blood and protect against cardiovascular diseases.

Other positive health effects

Among many other benefits, they improve circulation, prevent varicose veins, relax muscles, exert cytotoxic action on cancer cells and are brain protectors.

gender studies crataegus Other medicinal properties stand out, such as bactericidal, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant and gastroprotective effects.

Possible side effects

Some research reports that the consumption of hawthorn root is safe because it is well tolerated and has few side effects. However, it can cause nausea, headache, excessive sweating, slight disturbances in the digestive system, little rash, and mild bradycardia. These effects are short-lived and not serious.

Scientists have reported a case of cardiotoxicity in an adolescent who took the hawthorn root supplement to lose weight. This caused him symptoms of drowsiness, vomiting and diarrhea. In addition to cardiac disorders such as severe bradycardia and respiratory distress.

For this reason, experts say that the toxicity of the tejocote root can cause hypopnea, that is, severe drowsiness during the day, cognitive disorders, and obstruction of the upper respiratory tract while sleeping.

They also found that the supplement causes erroneous results in the determination of digoxin levels, thus suggesting the presence of cross-reactions in the chemical analysis of this compound.

This may be due to the fact that flavonoids alter the function of P-glycoprotein. This protein is a substrate for digoxin, used against cardiovascular diseases. That is, the flavonoids prevent the glycoprotein from potentiating the action of digoxin.


According to the WHO indications for medicinal plants, infusions of hawthorn root or its supplements are contraindicated in lactating women. Due to the relaxing effect on the uterine muscle, they are considered to have a miscarriage risk. This justifies its contraindication in pregnancy.

It is also contraindicated in children up to twelve years of age, since it is a drug with sedative and anxiolytic properties. Although it is used to combat insomnia, its ingestion is not recommended in infants and adolescents.

Likewise, it should not be consumed by people with hypersensitivity or allergies to the components of the hawthorn. Therefore, when faced with unwanted symptoms, its use should be discontinued and a doctor consulted.

It is not recommended either, in patients who are receiving treatments against thrombosis, hypertension, arrhythmias or other cardiac disorders.

This is because the interaction of phenolic compounds with the drugs used in these diseases could increase their action and cause adverse effects. For example, people who already have treatment with anticoagulants, when consuming supplements or infusions of the tejocote root, may present risks of bleeding.

In the case of patients receiving therapies for heart and respiratory failure, they could present severe cardiorespiratory complications.

Other names for the tejocote root

The hawthorn has various scientific names such as Crataegus pubecens, Crataegus stipulosa and Mespilus pubecens Kunth.

It also receives a variety of names in the different indigenous Mexican languages. In the Zapotec language, for example, it is known as Beloui, uij hair or yaga be lohui. While in the Tarascan language it is called caiasa or carasu.

In the Chontal language it is named as pate shima lo. Although, in the population of Oaxaca, it is commonly called manzanilla or manzanita.

For the Mazhaua-speaking indigenous people, its name is pedyi, while those who speak the Nathual language call it texócotl. In any case, popularly in Mexico it is called hawthorn or white hawthorn.

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