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Uses of mesquite (Prosopis spp.)

Image of Mesquite

Mesquite is a leguminous plant of the Prosopis genus found in northern Mexico through the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Deserts, and up into the Southwestern United States as far north as southern Kansas, west to the Colorado Desert in California, and east to the eastern fifth of Texas, where average annual rainfall is in excess of 40 inches (100 cm). Several species are found in arid to semi-arid regions of southern and western South America. Mesquite leaves were once used medicinally; water infused with the leaves can be used as eye drops. The bean pods of the mesquite can be dried and ground into flour, adding a sweet, nutty taste to breads, or used to make jelly or wine.

Scientific name

Prosopis spp. (including P. flexuosa, P. glandulosa, P. juliflora, P. pallida, P. pubescens, and P. velutina)

Common name

Mesquites, Quilipie mesquite, Honey mesquite and Velvet mesquite.

Uses of mesquite in natural remedies

Mesquite has surprising medicinal properties. It has an abundant soothing and healing properties.

Mesquite preparations are not widely available in stores, but anyone who lives near these small trees can prepare remedies using traditional methods.

Medicinal Parts: Mesquite leaves, flowers, pods, and bark are all used medicinally. All parts should be dried before use; the bark and branches can be powdered after drying. The pods, which will remain closed, can be dried whole and prepared as a decoction. Gum can be collected from healed scars in the mesquite tree’s trunk.

Digestive Remedy

Mesquite’s antimicrobial, astringent properties provide relief from gastrointestinal disorders, including colitis, ulcers, and hemorrhoids. For an effective remedy for diarrhoea, prepare a tea from the powdered pods or leaves.

For food poisoning, herbalist Michael Moore recommends a cold infusion of the following southwestern medicinal plants: equal parts by weight of mesquite leaves or pods; desert willow, tronadora, or trumpet creeper; chaparro amargosa; echinacea; and silk tassel leaves.

Disinfectant Wash

To prepare a wash for a skin wound, prepare a decoction from any of the dried plant parts. Apply wash to wound as needed.

For effective relief from conjunctivitis and pinkeye, apply an eye wash prepared from mesquite pods.

Soothe Inflammation

Remedies prepared from mesquite mucilage provide soothing relief from sore throats and stomach ulcers.

How to Use a Mesquite Tree For Everything

Mesquites can be used for everything from food and cooking to medicinal purposes to painting.

  • Mesquite trees survive in dry climates because their root system can often extend more than 100 feet. Because of that they can outlast everything else. They used the thin outer layers of the trunk by pounding them down to make fabric. The most common use of Mesquite is for outdoor cooking. Mesquite has a sweet flavor and is used on grills (it makes very little smoke) and as a spice for cooking.
  • Meal or flour from the pod of the Mesquite tree is great for cooking.
    Mesquite tree beans are very healthy. They have a low glycemic index and are low in fat. They are very high in fiber and in many nutrients including magnesium and potassium. They are also very high in protein.
    You can take the beans that are harvested and grind then up and use it for mesquite meal. You can also use the peas inside the pods to grind into flour. It really sweetens cooked food.
  • Use Mesquite tree bean pods to flavor drinks.
    You can use the beans to make tea (boil the leaves in water and serve) or you can put some of it in smoothies (just add the ground flour)! It helps to sweeten drinks. It has also been said that it helps to ward off appetite for four hours or more. Use it as a part of a meal replacement drink of you are dieting. You can add the ground flour to a glass of cold water with some honey and serve.
  • Use Mesquite tree beans for medicinal purposes.
    Their medicinal uses are many. You can make a poultice out of the beans to use for headaches and red ant bites. It is also said to be good for hemorrhoids. Because the beans have such a low glycemic index they are great to use in cooking if you are diabetic.
  • Use the sap or gum from Mesquite trees for multiple purposes.
    The branches can be broken and set out. As they dry, the sap from the branches will ooze out. It can used to make face paint, pottery paint, and dye. The Indians dyed their hair with it. It can even be used for glue! To use it for paint, just boil the sap in water.