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Justicia pectoralis: Wikis


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Justicia pectoralis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Acanthaceae
Genus: Justicia
Species: J. pectoralis
Binomial name
Justicia pectoralis

Justicia pectoralis is a herb of the Acanthus family (Acanthaceae). This water-willow is widely known as tilo in Latin America. In Haiti it is called chapantye and zeb chapantyè on Dominica and Martinique. Other folk names are carpintero ("carpenter"), té criollo ("Criollo tea"), curia, death-angel, masha-hari, or "piri piri". This species was described by Nikolaus Joseph von Jacquin in 1760, with additional data by the same author in 1763. A well-marked variety, var. stenophylla, was described by Leonard in 1958.[1]



Medicinal uses

Across its range it is used in folk medicine as a relaxant and general tonic. Scientific study[2] likewise indicates that J. pectoralis preparations can possess anti-inflammatory and relaxant effects, and it supports recovery from influenza. With the United States' economic embargo against Cuba tightened under the Bush presidency, tilo has been used extensively by Cuban health services. It is an underutilized medical crop, and has some potential as an agricultural plant for small-scale farming.[3]

Other uses

As regards other applications, it is noted for its pleasant smell and as a source of coumarin, which it produces in plenty, and which in combination with umbelliferone is responsible for many of its notable properties. It is also admixed to epená (Virola) snuff to make it smell more pleasant. In particular var. stenophylla might also be hallucinogenic in certain preparations; it is known to wajacas (shamans) of the Craós (Krahós, Krahô) tribe in Brazil, who know that variety as mashi-hiri and consider it a potent entheogen, not to be taken by the uninitiated.[4]


The name "tilo" could be by association with Tilia, the linden trees. These are entirely unrelated eudicots whose flowers have similar relaxant properties. The water-"willows" are not relatives of the true willows either; like the lindens, the latter belong to the rosid branch of the eudicots.


  1. ^ CTF [2003], USDA (2006a,b), Erowid (2007)
  2. ^ E.g. Lino et al. (1997), Leal et al. (2000)
  3. ^ CTF [2003], TRAMIL (2006), Erowid (2007), de la Osa [2008]
  4. ^ Lino et al. (1997), Rodrigues & Carlini (2006), TRAMIL (2006), Erowid (2007)


  1. Comisión Técnica de Fitomed (CTF) [2003]: Tilo [in Spanish]. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
  2. de la Osa, José [2008]: Gripe [in Spanish]. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
  3. Erowid (2007): Justicia pectoralis. Version of 2007-JUL-19. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
  4. Leal, L.K.; Ferreira, A.A.; Bezerra, G.A.; Matos, F.J. & Viana, G.S.J (2000): Antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and bronchodilator activities of Brazilian medicinal plants containing coumarin: a comparative study. Ethnopharmacology 70(2): 151-159. HTML abstract
  5. Lino, C.S.; Taveira, M.L.; Viana , G.S.B. & Matos, F.J.A. (1997): Analgesic and antiinflammatory activities of Justicia pectoralis Jacq and its main constituents: coumarin and umbelliferone. Phytotherapy Research 11(3): 211-215. DOI:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199705)11:3<211::AID-PTR72>3.0.CO;2-W. HTML abstract
  6. Rodrigues, Eliana & Carlini, E.A. (2006): Plants with possible psychoactive effects used by the Krahô Indians, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Psiquiatria 28(4): 277-282. PDF fulltext
  7. TRAMIL (2006): Medicinal Plants of the Caribbean Pharmacopœia. Retrieved 2008-NOV-01.
  8. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2006a): Germplasm Resources Information NetworkJusticia pectoralis. Version of 2006-AUG-04. Retrieved 2008-APR-04.
  9. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2006b): Germplasm Resources Information NetworkJusticia pectoralis var. stenophylla. Version of 2006-AUG-04. Retrieved 2008-APR-04.


Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Euasterids I
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Acanthaceae
Subfamilia: Acanthoideae
Tribus: Ruellieae
Subtribus: Justiciinae
Genus: Justicia
Species: Justicia pectoralis
Varieties: J. p. var. stenophylla


Justicia pectoralis Jacq.


  • Enumeratio Systematica Plantarum, quas in Insulis Caribaeis vicinaque Americes ... 11. 1760 (Select. stirp. amer. hist. 3, fig. 3. 1763)
  • USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Data from 07-Oct-06]. [1]

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