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Presented by: UT El Paso / Austin Cooperative Pharmacy Program & Paso del Norte Health Foundation

Trumpet Flower


Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD.

Scientific Name:

Tecoma stans

Botanical Family:

Bignoniaceae

Other Common Name:

Yellow bells, Yellow cedar, Yellow Elder (White, 2003).

Common names in Spanish:

Tronadora, Trompeta, Hierba de San Pedro, Tecoma xóchitl, Candox (Náhuatl)

Where is it found?

Trumpet flower is an ornamental shrub or small tree native to Mexico and other parts of Latin America, but is now found growing throughout India, as well.

In Mexico, the plant is used as principally as a treatment for Type 2 Diabetes (Argueta, 2014; Kameshwaran et al., 2012).

Parts of the plant used:

Mainly the leaves and flowers, although sometimes the root is also used medicinally.

How is it used?

Hot water is poured on the leaves and flowers and taken as an infusion (tea), while the roots and stems are boiled in water (decoction).

What is it used for?

In Mexico, it is mainly used internally as a folk remedy for Type 2 Diabetes, although the leaves and flowers are also used to treat colds, fever, jaundice, headache, and kidney problems (Argueta, 2014; Alarcón-Aguilar and Román-Ramos, 2006). The leaves contain the alkaloids known as “tecomine” and “tecostamine”, which have been found to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels when given intravenously to laboratory animals.

Another compound present in the leaves, known as anthranilic acid, also lowers blood sugar levels (Kameshwaran et al., 2012). The flowers are used to prepare a tea to relieve menstrual cramps, as well as an emmenaogue to promote menstruation. The decoction made from the roots is taken as a tea to promote urination, as well as an antidote for scorpion and snake venoms, although this has not been proven scientifically (Argueta, 2014). Externally, the leaves and flowers are made into a poultice or wash to treat skin infections (Quattrocchi, 2012).

The plant possesses powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial activity due to its content of natural chemicals called flavonoids.

With regard to these compounds, Raju et al. (2011) found that an extract made from trumpet flower could be useful in protecting the kidneys from the toxic side effects of an antibiotic known as gentamicin.
Additionally, Jacobo-Salcedo, et al. (2011) found that this plant has important antimicrobial action against certain multi-drug resistant pathogenic (disease-causing) bacteria.

Safety / Precautions

  • Do not use in any form during pregnancy or lactation
  • Avoid use in small children
  • Teas made from the plant may interact with prescription anti-diabetic medications.
  • Do not take concurrently with any oral anti-diabetic medications, as hypoglycemia (very low blood sugar levels) may occur.

References:

Alarcon-Aguilar F, Roman-Ramos R. Antidiabetic Plants in Mexico and Central America.
Chapter 9. In: Soumyanath A (Editor) Traditional Medicines for Modern Times: Antidiabetic
Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2006; pp. 179-191.

Argueta, A. (Editor). Plantas Medicinales de Uso Tradicional en la Ciudad de México.
Mexico City: UNAM; 2014; pp. 122-123.

Jacobo-Salcedo M del R, Alonso-Castro AJ, Salazar-Olivo LA, Carranza-Alvarez C, González-
Espíndola LA, Domínguez F, Maciel-Torres SP, García-Lujan C, González-Martínez Mdel R,
Gómez-Sánchez M, Estrada-Castillón E, Zapata-Bustos R, Medellin-Milán P, García-Carrancá
A. Antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects of Mexican medicinal plants. Nat Prod Commun. 2011
6(12):1925-8.

Kameshwaran S, Suresh V, Arunachalam G, Frank PR, Manikandan V. Evaluation of
antinociceptive and anti-inflammatory potential of flower extract Tecoma stans. Indian J
Pharmacol. 2012; 44(4):543-4. doi: 10.4103/0253-7613.99352.

Quattrocchi, U. World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants (3 vols.).
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012; p. 515.

Raju S, Kavimani S, Maheshwara Rao VU, Reddy KS, Kumar GV. Floral extract of Tecoma
stans: a potent inhibitor of gentamicin-induced nephrotoxicity in vivo.
Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2011; 4(9):680-5. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(11)60173-9.

White R. Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Names of North America Including Mexico.
Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2003; p. 193.