The healing power of jaborandi

Jaborandi is a seven-meter-high tree from the South American jungle that has leathery leaves and boasts red-purple flowers. The leaves contain an essential oil and smell nice when you bruise them. Jaborandi is used as a basis for a regular medicine to increase saliva production. This is mainly used for people with a dry mouth, which is, for example, a side effect of cancer therapy. It is also a remedy used by herbalists and herbalists for, among other things, bronchitis, gout, flu and lice. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing jaborandi / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • History of use of jaborandi
  • Other traditional use jaborandi
  • Jaborandi in regular medicine
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Jaborandi as a diaphoretic
  • Jaborandi for dry mouth
  • Other medicinal work
  • Dose and safety

History of use of jaborandi

Spanish researchers in 1570 saw that the Guarani Indians of Brazil used jaborandi to treat mouth ulcers. Dutch researchers from the West India Company, who were active in Brazil for some time, observed that the same group of Indians used jaborandi for flu, colds, gonorrhea and kidney stones. It was also used as an antidote. The plant owes this last effect to the fact that it has diaphoretic properties; the toxins leave the body through the skin. Other treatments with jaborandi from traditional medicine include: epilepsy, convulsions, fever, pneumonia, inflammation, kidney disease, psoriasis, neurosis and it was used as a means to promote sweating. A decoction or cold infusion of jaborandi can cause sweating within 10 minutes. As much as three to eight liters of fluid can be lost due to jaborandi

Other traditional use jaborandi

Externally, jaborandi is used as a tonic for the hair and scalp. It opens the pores and strengthens the hair follicles. Herbalites have adopted the uses of the Guarani Indians and use it to treat bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, diphtheria, colds, laryngitis, renal insufficiency, hepatitis, diabetes, kidney disease, edema and fever.

Jaborandi in regular medicine

The medicine saladen contains 5mg or 7.5mg pilocarpine, the active substance in jaborandi. This medication is used in people with dry mouth due to an illness, or as a side effect of cancer therapy. Pharmaceutical giant Merck has a factory in Brazil that produces this drug. By the way, Brazil is the world’s largest producer of jaborandi leaves, but not a single leaf is allowed to be exported from the country as a natural medicine. That is why jaborandi leaves for use in phytotherapy come from other countries, for example Paraguay.


In Latin, jaborandi is called Pilocarpus jaborandi . Alternative Latin names are: Pilocarpus cearensis and Pilocarpus officinalis . The name jaborandi comes from the Tupi Indians. In their language, jaborandi means ’causes drooling’. That is a reference to the fact that this plant increases saliva production.

Active substances

The leaves of jaborandi are used for phytotherapeutic purposes. This sheet contains the following important active substances: Indole alkaloids with pilocarpine as the main alkaloid. It also contains the alkaloids pilocarpidine, isopilocarpine and pilosine, essential oil in the form of pilocarpene, methyl nonyl ketones and methyl heptyl ketone.

Jaborandi as a diaphoretic

The leaves of the jaborandi are a very strong diaphoretic. It has a much stronger effect than ordinary elder and small-leaved lime. Pilocarpine stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn stimulates the ends of the sweat glands. Jaborandi is a herbal medicine that is prescribed by qualified doctors for:

  • Acute cold,
  • Acute bronchitis,
  • Flu,
  • Rheumatic conditions,
  • Gout.

Jaborandi leaf is a natural medicine that is not without danger. It should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription.

Jaborandi for dry mouth

Jaborandi is a silago gum; a saliva secretion stimulant. As a result, sanagen, a medicine that contains pilocarpine from jaborandi as the active ingredient, is used in regular medicine for xerostomia or dry mouth. Some treatment methods, for example chemotherapy, can cause dry mouth. You can then either be prescribed the medicine sanagen by a doctor or go to a herbal therapist and ask for jaborandi.

Other medicinal work

  • A miotic is a drug that constricts the eye pupil. Pilocarpine can be used as a miotic for cataracts and iritis or inflammation of the iris.
  • Externally, a diluted tincture (1:2) or (1:3) can be used in hair water. It can prevent hair loss. It is also an antiparasitic agent and can therefore combat lice.

Dose and safety

There are three ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Leaf: 2 to 6 grams in 200 ml of water, let it steep for eight hours and drink two cups (400 ml) of it sip by sip during a day.
  • Tea: Pour a teaspoon of dried powder with hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes. Do not cook as this will destroy pilocarpine.
  • Leaf powder: Take 0.5 grams several times a day with a maximum of 6 grams per day.

Leaves of the jaborandi should only be taken on the prescription of a doctor or herbal therapist. Pregnant women should not use it. The therapeutic dose is enough to achieve the medicinal effect. Anyone who takes too much runs the risk of the following side effects: visual disturbances, vomiting, diarrhea, breathing disorders and heart weakness.