Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reissek

  • Larissa Lucena Périco
  • Vinícius Peixoto Rodrigues
  • Luiz Fernando Rolim de Almeida
  • Ana Paula Fortuna-Perez
  • Wagner Vilegas
  • Clélia Akiko Hiruma-LimaEmail author
Part of the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants of the World book series (MAPW, volume 5)


Herbal medicines are widely used in Brazil and currently constitute an expanding market. Among the species with the highest number of registration entries is Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reissek, a plant species native to Brazil that has a high medicinal value.

Pharmacological pre-clinical studies have demonstrated the anti-ulcerogenic, anti-secretory, anti-inflammatory, anti-diarrhea, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-protozoal, anti-cancer and hypotensive properties of this medicinal plant. It has also been established that some of its pharmacological activities are due the presence of terpenoids, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids and polysaccharides. The species M. ilicifolia has been used in traditional medicine since the mid-1920s. Presently, it is endangered due to the strong anthropic action in natural populations. As a medicinal plant, in Brazil, its leaves are used in homemade and industrial medicines to effectively treat stomach ulcers. Therefore, studies that validate the use of this important Brazilian native plant are warranted.


Espinheira-santa Quebrachillo Cancerosa Maytenus ilicifolia Celastraceae 


  1. Alonso JR (1998) Phytomedicine Treaty clinical and pharmacological bases. Isis Ediciones SRL, Buenos Aires, pp 828–834 SpanishGoogle Scholar
  2. Araújo-Júnior RF, Oliveira AL, Pessoa JB, Garcia VB, Guerra GC, Soares LA, Souza TP, Petrovick PR, Araújo AA (2013) Maytenus ilicifolia dry extract protects normal cells, induces apoptosis and regulates Bcl-2 in human cancer cells. Exp Biol Med 238:1251–1258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Otofuji GM, Cipriani TR, Souza LM, Sassaki GL, Iacomini M, Marques MCA, Mesia-Vela S (2007) Flavonoid-rich fraction of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex. Reiss protects the gastric mucosa of rodents through inhibition of both H+,K+-ATPase activity and formation of nitric oxide. J Ethnopharmacol 113:433–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Mayer B, Santos AC, Twardowschy A, Potrich FB, Cipriani TR, Souza LM, Sassaki GL, Iacomini M, Marques MCA, Mesia-Vela S (2009) Muscarinic-dependent inhibition of gastric emptying and intestinal motility by fractions of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart ex. Reissek. J Ethnopharmacol 123:385–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Balbach A (1980) The national flora in domestic medicine. EDEL, São Paulo PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  6. Brandão MGL, Cosenza GP, Moreira RA, Monte-Mor RLM (2006) Medicinal plants and other botanical products from the Brazilian Official Pharmacopeia. Braz J Pharmacogn 16(3):408–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brazilian Ministry of Health (2009) Relação Nacional de Plantas Medicinais de Interesse ao Sistema Único de Saúde (RENISUS), Ministério da Saúde. (Brazil)
  8. Calixto JB (1993) Pharmacological analysis of the methanolic extract and sorocein A, a new Diels-Alder compound isolated from the roots of Sorocea bonplandii Bailon in the isolated rat uterus and guinea pig ileum. Gen Pharmacol 24:983–989CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Camparoto ML, Teixeira RO, Mantovani MS, Vicentini VEP (2002) Effects of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. and Bauhinia candicans Benth infusions on onion root-tip and rat bone-marrow cells. Genet Mol Biol 25(1):85–89CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carlini EA, Frochtengarten ML (1988) Clinical toxicology (Phase I) of the espinheira-santa (Maytenus ilicifolia). Brasília-Distrito Federal. 67–73. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  11. Carvalho RIN, Cardon LM, Jaremtchuk CC, Kanawate EM, Silva JEC (2003) Carqueja e Espinheira-Santa in the Metropolitan region of Curitiba: from production to trade. (Curitiba) Life. 44. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  12. Carvalho-Okano RM (1992) Taxonomic studies of the genus Maytenus Mol. Emend. Mol. (Celastraceae) of extra-Amazonian Brazil. Thesis (Doctorate in Sciences – Plant Biology), University of Campinas. 253. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  13. Carvalho-Okano R, Leitão Filho HF. Taxonomic studies of the genus Maytenus Mol. Emend. Mol. (Celastraceae) of extra-Amazonian Brazil. Reis, M.S.; Silva, S.R. Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal and aromatic plants: Maytenus spp., espinheira-santa. Brasília IBAMA. 2004; 11–51. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  14. Castro LO, Ramos RLD (2003) Botanical description, cultivation and use of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reiss. Cancorosa ou espinheira-santa (Celastraceae). FEPAGRO, Porto Alegre, p 12 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  15. Cipriani TR, Mellinger CG, Souza LM, Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Marques MCA, Gorin PAJ, Sassaki GL, Iacomini MA (2006) Polysaccharide from a Tea (Infusion) of Maytenus ilicifolia Leaves with anti-ulcer protective effects. J Nat Prod 69:1018–1021CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cipriani TR, Mellinger CG, Souza LM, Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Marques MCA, Gorin PAJ, Sassaki GL, Iacomini M (2008) Acidic heteroxylans from medicinal plants and their anti-ulcer activity. Carbohydr Polym 74:274–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cipriani TR, Mellinger CG, Souza LM, Baggio CH, Freitas CS, Marques MCA, Gorin PAJ, Sassaki GL, Iacomini M (2009) Polygalacturonic acid: Another anti-ulcer polysaccharide from the medicinal plant Maytenus ilicifolia. Carbohydr Polym 78:361–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Costa PM, Ferreira PMP, Bolzani VS, Furlan M, Santos VAFFM, Corsino J, Moraes MO, Costa-Lotufo LV, Montenegro RC, Pessoa C (2008) Antiproliferative activity of pristimerin isolated from Maytenus ilicifolia (Celastraceae) in human HL-60 cells. Toxicol In Vitro 22:854–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crestani S, Rattmann YD, Cipriani TR, Souza LM, Iacomini M, Kassuya CAL, Marques MCA, Silva-Santos JE (2009) A potent and nitric oxide-dependent hypotensive effect induced in rats by semi-purified fractions from Maytenus ilicifolia. Vasc Pharmacol 51:57–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cruz GL (1982) Dictionary of useful plants in Brazil, 2nd edn. Civilização Brasileira, São Paulo PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  21. Cunha-Laura AL, Auharek SA, Oliveira RJ, Siqueira JM, Vieira MC, Leite VS, Portugal LC (2014) Effects of Maytenus ilicifolia on reproduction and embryo-fetal development in Wistar rats. Genet Mol Res 13(2):3711–3720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Duarte MR, Debur MC (2005) Stem and leaf morphoanatomy of Maytenus ilificolia. Fitoterapia 76:41–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferreira PM, Oliveira CN, Oliveira AB, Lopes MJ, Alzamora F, Vieira MAR (2004) A lyophilized aqueous extract of Maytenus ilicifolia leaves inhibits histamine-mediated acid secretion in isolated frog gastric mucosa. Planta 219:319–324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Gonçalves de Lima O, Dálbuquerque IL, Coêlho JSB, Martins DG, Lacerda AL, Maciel GM (1969) Antimicrobial substance of higher plants. XXXI communication. Maitenin, antimicrobial with new antineoplastic isolated action Celastraceae of Pernambuco. Rev Inst Antibióticos 9(2):17–25 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  25. Gonzalez FG, Portela TY, Stipp EJ, Di Stasi LC (2001) Antiulcerogenic and analgesic effects of Maytenus aquifolium, Sorocea bomplandii and Zolernia ilicifolia. J Ethnopharmacol 77:41–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Groppo M, Simmons MP, Cappa JJ, Biral L, Lombardi JA (2014) A new species of Maytenus (Celastraceae) with fleshy fruits from eastern Brazil, with notes on the delimitation of Maytenus. Syst Bot 39(2):478–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gullo FP, Sardi JCO, Santos VAFFM, Sangalli-Leite F, Pitangui NS, Rossi AS, Silva ACAP, Soares LA, Silva JF, Oliveira HC, Furlan M, Silva DHS, Bolzani VS, Mendes-Giannini MJS, Fusco-Almeida AM (2012) Antifungal activity of Maytenin and Pristimerin. Evid-Based Compl Alternat Med 2012:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gutiérrez F, Estévez-Braun A, Ravelo AG, Astudillo L, Zárate R (2007) Terpenoids from the medicinal plant Maytenus ilicifolia. J Nat Prod 70:1049–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Horn RC, Vargas VM (2003) Antimutagenic activity of extracts of natural substances in the Salmonella/microsome assay. Mutagenesis 18:113–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Itokawa H, Shirota O, Ikuta H, Morita H, Takeya K, Iitaka Y (1991) Triterpenes from Maytenus ilicifolia. Phytochemistry 30(11):3713–3716CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Jorge RM, Leite JPV, Oliveira AB, Tagliati CA (2004) Evaluation of antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and antiulcerogenic activities of Maytenus ilicifolia. J Ethnopharmacol 94:93–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Leite JPV, Braga FC, Romussi G, Persoli RM, Tabach R, Carlini EA, Oliveira AB (2010) Constituents from Maytenus ilicifolia leaves and bioguided fractionation for gastroprotective activity. J Braz Chem Soc 21:248–254CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Leme TSV, Prando TBL, Gasparotto FM, Souza P, Crestan S, Souza LM, Cipriani TR, Lourenço ELB, Junior AG (2013) Role of prostaglandin/cAMP pathway in the diuretic and hypotensive effects of purified fraction of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart ex Reissek (Celastraceae). J Ethnopharmacol 150:154–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Lorenzi H, Matos FJA (2002) Medicinal plants in Brazil: natives and exotics. Instituto Plantarum, Nova Odessa, pp 120–121 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  35. Magalhães PM (2002) Agrotechnology for espinheira-santa. Available in: Portuguese
  36. Mariot MP (2005) Genetics resources of espinheira-santa (Maytenus ilicifolia e M. aquifolium) in Rio Grande do Sul. Thesis (Doctorate in Plant Breeding) – Postgraduate Course in Agronomy, Federal University of Pelotas. 131Google Scholar
  37. Mariot MP, Barbieri RL (2006) Espinheira-santa: an alternative of production in small properties. Embrapa Clima Temperado, Pelotas, p 30 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  38. Mariot MP, Barbieri RL (2007a) Secondary metabolites and medicinal properties of espinheira-santa (Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. Ex Reiss. e M. aquifolium Mart.). Braz J Med Plants 9(3):89–99 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  39. Mariot MP, Barbieri RL (2007b) The associated popular knowledge to use of Espinheira-santa (Maytenus ilicifolia e M. aquifolium). Braz J Biosci 5(1):666–668 PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  40. Mendes BG, Machado MJ, Falkenberg M (2006) Glycolipids screening of medicinal plants. Braz J Pharmacogn 16:568–575 PortugueseCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Montanari T, Bevilacqua E (2002) Effect of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. on pregnant mice. Contraception 65:171–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Montanari T, Carvalho JE, Dolder H (1998) Effect of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. Ex Reiss on espermatogenesis. Contraception 57:335–339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Montanari JR, Scheffer MC, Radomski MI (2004) Cultivation of espinheira-santa. In Reis MS, Silva SR (org). Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal and aromatic plants: Maytenus spp., espinheira-santa. IBAMA, Brasília, Portuguese, pp 163–180Google Scholar
  44. Mossi AJ, Cansian RL, Carvalho AZ, Dariva C, Oliveira JV, Mazutti M, Filho IN, Echeverrigaray S (2004) Extraction and characterization of volatile compounds in Maytenus ilicifolia, using high-pressure CO2. Fitoterapia 75(2):168–178CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mossi AJ, Mazutti MA, Cansian RL, Oliveira D, Oliveira JV, Dallago R, Leontiev-Orlov O, Treichel H (2010) Chemical variability of volatile organic compounds and semi-volatile native populations Maytenus ilicifolia. Quim Nova 33(5):1067–1070. PortugueseCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Negrelle RRB, Doni ME, Ohlson OC, Herr S (1999) [Seed production technology espinheira-santa] (Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reiss. – Celastraceae). Rev Bras Sementes 21(1):76–81. PortugueseCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Nicoloso FT, Fortunato RP, Zanchetti F, Cassol LF, Eisinger SM (2000) Containers and substrates in the production of seedlings Maytenus ilicifolia e Apuleia leocarpa. Ciência Rural 30(6):987–992. PortugueseCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Niero R, Andrade SF, Filho VC (2011) A Review of the Ethnopharmacology, Phytochemistry and Pharmacology of Plants of the Maytenus Genus. Curr Pharm Des 17:1851–1871CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Panizza S (1998) Plants that heal, vol 280, 3rd edn. IBRASA, São Paulo. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  50. Pereira AMS, Januário AH, Queiroz MEE, Biondo R, França SC (2005) Evaluation of Maytenus aquifolia Mart. and Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. chemotypes for tannins, total phenols and triterpenes. Braz J Med Plants 8:13–17Google Scholar
  51. Queiroga CL, Silva GF, Dias PC, Possenti A, Carvalho JE (2000) Evaluation of the antiulcerogenic activity of friedelan-3b-ol and friedelin isolated from Maytenus ilicifolia (Celastraceae). J Ethnopharmacol 72:465–468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Rattmann YD, Cipriani TR, Sassaki GL, Iacomini M, Rieck L, Marques MCA, Silva-Santos JE (2006) Nitric oxide-dependent vasorelaxation induced by extractive solutions and fractions of Maytenus ilicifolia Mart ex Reissek (Celastraceae) leaves. J Ethnopharmacol 104:328–335CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Santos VAFFM, Santos DP, Castro-Gamboa I, Zanoni MVB, Furlan M (2010) Evaluation of antioxidant capacity and synergistic associations of Quinonemethide Triterpenes and Phenolic substances from Maytenus ilicifolia (Celastraceae). Molecules 15:6956–6973CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Santos VAFFM, Regasini LO, Nogueira CR, Passerini GD, Martinez I, Bolzani VS, Graminha MAS, Cicarelli RMB, Furlan M (2012) Antiprotozoal Sesquiterpene Pyridine Alkaloids from Maytenus ilicifolia. J Nat Prod 75:991–995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Santos VAFFM, Leite KM, Siqueira MC, Regasini LO, Martinez I, Nogueira CT, Galuppo MK, Stolf BS, Pereira MAS, Cicarelli RMB, Furlan M, Graminha MAS (2013) Antiprotozoal activity of Quinonemethide Triterpenes from Maytenus ilicifolia (Celastraceae). Molecules 18:1053–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Santos-Oliveira R, Coulaud-Cunha S, Colaço W (2009) Review on Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reissek, Celastraceae. Contribution to the study of the pharmacological properties. Braz J Pharmacogn 19:650–659. PortugueseCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Scheffer MC (2001) Mating system and genetic variation between populations and progeny “espinheira-santa” Thesis (Doctorate in Forest Engineering – Forestry). Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba. 104. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  58. Scheffer MC (2004) Traditional and current use of species Maytenus. In: Reis MS, Silva SR (eds) Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal and aromatic plants: Maytenus spp., espinheira-santa. IBAMA, Brasília, pp 53–66. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  59. Simões CMO (1989) Plants of folk medicine of Rio Grande do Sul. Ed. Da Universidade/UFRGS, Porto Alegre. PortugueseGoogle Scholar
  60. Singh B, Dubey MM (2001) Estimation of triterpenoids from Heliotropium maifolium Kohen ex Retz in vivo and in vitro: antimicrobial screening. Phytother Res 15:231–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Souza LM, Cipriani TR, Iacomini M, Gorin PAJ, Sassaki GLHPLC (2008) ESI-MS and NMR analysis of flavonoids and tannins in bioactive extract from leaves of Maytenus ilicifolia. J Pharm Biomed Anal 47:59–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Souza-Formigoni MLO, Oliveira MGM, Monteiro MG, Silveira-Filho NG, Braz S, Carlini EA (1991) Antiulcerogenic effects of two Maytenus species in laboratory animals. J Ethnopharmacol 34:21–27CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Teske M, Trentini AMM (1995) Compendium of herbal medicine. Herbarium. 2 ed. 128–129Google Scholar
  64. Tiberti LA, Yariwake JH, Ndjoko K, Hostettmann K (2007) Identification of flavonols in leaves of Maytenus ilicifolia and M. aquifolium (Celastraceae) by LC/UV/MS analysis. J Chromatogr B 846:378–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Valladão FN, Miranda RRS, Vale FH, Valladão SA, Silva GDF, Duarte LP, Carvalho-Okano RM, Messias MCTB, Filho SAV (2009) Four Brazilian Maytenus salicifolia Reissek (Celastraceae) groups studied by TLC and UV/Vis spectrophotometry. Brazilian. J Pharmacogn 19:733–739Google Scholar
  66. Vargas VM, Guidobono RR, Henriques JA (1991) Genotoxicity of plant extracts. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 86(2):67–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Vellosa JCR, Khalil NM, Formenton VAF, Ximenes VF, Fonseca LM, Furlan M, Brunetti IL, Oliveira OMMF (2006) Antioxidant activity of Maytenus ilicifolia root bark. Fitoterapia 77:243–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Vieira RF (1999) Conservation of medicinal and aromatic plants in Brazil. In: Janick J (ed) Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, pp 152–159Google Scholar
  69. Zhu N, Sharapin N, Zhang J (1998) Three glucosides from Maytenus ilicifolia. Phytochemistry 47(2):265–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Larissa Lucena Périco
    • 1
  • Vinícius Peixoto Rodrigues
    • 1
  • Luiz Fernando Rolim de Almeida
    • 2
  • Ana Paula Fortuna-Perez
    • 2
  • Wagner Vilegas
    • 3
  • Clélia Akiko Hiruma-Lima
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PhysiologySão Paulo State University (UNESP), Institute of BiosciencesBotucatuBrazil
  2. 2.Departament of BotanySão Paulo State University (UNESP), Institute of BiosciencesBotucatuBrazil
  3. 3.Coastal Campus of São VicenteSão Paulo State University (UNESP), Institute of BiosciencesSão VicenteBrazil

Personalised recommendations