Mesquite tree, producer of resin and traditional medicine – El Heraldo de Chihuahua

Mesquite is not only a timber tree, the use of this plant has been extended in herbal medicine as well as in industry through the extraction of resin, which can be used in the extraction and encapsulation of fragrance oils and in the paint industry.

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Native to arid and semi-arid zones, it adapts to the most extreme climatic conditions and regions where water is scarce; in Mexico it is characteristic of the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila, and other uses of mesquite are in medicine and industry.

“The ecological importance of mesquite is undeniable; on the one hand, it plays an important role in the environment as a plant that fixes nitrogen, enriches the soil around it, encourages the growth of shrubs associated with it and therefore prevents soil erosion; it also acts as a nurse plant for many species of birds and rodents”.

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mesquite gum; alternative for industrial use

Mesquite has a protective mechanism, through the production and secretion of gum, that varies depending on the type of mesquite. Because it is exposed to extreme conditions and damages caused by the climate itself, mesquite uses resin as an astringent mechanism to prevent the entry of pathogens, as well as to protect the fibers that make up its structure.

The industrial uses that can be given to rubber are in the production of varnishes, fire starters, encapsulators of fragrance oils, and as a mounting base, among many other uses.

Starches, pectins and exudates, such as gum arabic and mesquite gum, are substances of plant origin that are widely used in the food, pharmaceutical, textile, cosmetic and wine industries. The functional properties of rubbers or hydrocolloids determine their specific application in industry.

The criteria used to study the functional properties are its ability to encapsulate aromas, flavors, pesticides, drugs (encapsulating properties); its ability to bind water and fat molecules (emulsifying properties); its effect on rheology and texture; ability to form a gel and influence on crystallization.

Likewise, in some regions of the states of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila, mesquite gum is used for food purposes, in the production of chewing gum, sweets and water preparations.

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Mesquite in the municipality of Jiménez

On the edge of the thermal aquifer Ojo de Dolores, in the municipality of Jiménez, there is a giant mesquite, which is full of solidified, black resin from the middle of the stem to the bottom.

As for the medicinal use of this plant, the skin or bark of the stem of the tree is used in the preparation of infusions against dysentery, as well as to relieve viruses that cause influenza. In addition, mesquite is used to prepare balms for muscle relaxation or in concentrates with alcohol, in combination with medicinal plants such as marijuana, which expand the spectrum of action.

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Other uses for which there is no scientific evidence are mesquite infusions in the fight against cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Likewise, also for culinary use, with the use of its fruit, an oblong pod with a red shell.

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