Over recent years, the interest in little-known plants, trees, and their fruits has been growing incrementally. Tejocote is undeniably one of a kind, it serves as an ingredient in many traditional dishes but tejocote root also has great benefits for our health.
What Is Tejocote
Crataegus Mexicana is a species of hawthorn known by the common names ‘Tejocote’ and Mexican hawthorn. It is a large shrub or a small tree that grows up to 10 meters, and it produces stone fruit that visually resembles apples.
It originates from Mexico and Guatemala but can be adapted to a variety of soils and climates.
The name ‘Tejocote’ was derived from the word ‘te-xocotl,’ from a Nahuatl language group in Mexico, which means hard and sour fruit.
In Mexico, the fruit is eaten cooked, raw, or canned, and is the main ingredient in the traditional Mexican punch served during Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Tejocote Root Benefits
When working out and eating healthy isn’t bringing the desired results, people tend to turn to weight loss supplements.
And while most of them rarely live up to the expectations, others might effectively help you in getting rid of those extra pounds you’ve gained over the last holiday season.
In recent years, tejocote root gained popularity as a weight-loss supplement. It is said to act as a dilator with fat and muscle tissue, gradually releasing them through waste and transforming fat into energy.
Now, you might be wondering if this is one of those supplements that rarely lives up to the expectations, but, tejocote root contains pectin, which, according to research, helps:
- Metabolite fats
- Keep the appetite at bay
- Regulate blood sugar
- Decrease caloric intake
Tejocote Fruit And Leaves Benefits
Currently, tejocote root doesn’t have much research except on its weight loss effects, but it wouldn’t be fair to leave out the other parts of the hawthorn tree because the root is not the only source of active components.
The leaves and fruit of tejocote also have high contents of secondary metabolites that could potentially bring additional benefits for our health.
Let’s take a look!
Hawthorn has a long history in the treatment and prevention of heart diseases.
And as you may already know, heart diseases cause oxygen deficiency in your body, which leads to dysfunction of your cells, fatigue, chest pain, shortness of breath, and eventually death.
Studies show that tejocote has anti-arrhythmic properties and it protects the muscular tissue of the heart from blood supply shortage, tissue damage, and lower blood pressure.
It may also help regulate other functions such as vascular relaxation and contraction, immune function, and enzymes that control blood clotting.
This could be due to the phenols found in the plant, which have shown anti-inflammatory and glucose and lipid regulating effects, according to research.
To sum it up, tejocote has demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases including heart failure, arrhythmias, and hypertension.
Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory
Tejocote fruit has attracted attention as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent due to the abundance of active compounds such as quercetin, proanthocyanidin, and chlorogenic acid.
Individually, those compounds have demonstrated effective abilities, such as:
- Regulating the impact of inflammation on the immune system.
- Quercetin can efficiently capture free radicals.
- Proanthocyanidin helps protect from oxidative stress and DNA damage.
- Chlorogenic acid reduces inflammation and oxidative stress.
Essentially, those ingredients can relieve the symptoms and assist in the treatment of many conditions such as cancer and heart diseases, to name a few.
Improves Wound Healing
Wound healing is a process that can notably influence the skin barrier and its regeneration.
Of course, wounds heal naturally by themselves, but if you want to reduce the risk of infection and speed up the healing process, there are natural and plant-derived options available for us.
And tejocote fruit is one of them.
In fact, research states that the pharmaceutical industry extracts pectins from the fruit and uses them in the preparation of dressings and bandages that improve wound healing.
It’s no secret that bacteria can cause many health complications and infections that involve uncomfortable symptoms, which can significantly affect the quality of life.
And while we do have access to plenty of medication that will help us resolve those infections, some strains are resistant to antibiotics. And in general, antibiotics are not exactly ideal for your body.
That has prompted scientists and researchers to look into alternative treatment options derived from plant sources, such as hawthorn.
Research indicates that hawthorn fruit extract contains many active ingredients that may reduce the expression of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus.
Sarcopenia is a type of muscle loss that usually occurs due to aging and immobility and leads to a lack of physical strength. People will often experience weakness, which affects all physical activities.
The problem is, less activity also means more muscle loss, which leads to a nasty downward cycle, and it is why the primary treatment for it is exercise.
But that might not be the only option thanks to epicatechins, which are flavonoids found in different fruits, including tejocote.
Research shows that epicatechins can enhance muscle growth and strength, effectively combatting conditions related to muscle loss.
Tejocote Side Effects
Besides its benefits, tejocote root has also been reported to have some serious potential side effects.
Research has shown that when consumed in excess, tejocote root may cause severe cardiotoxicity that can result in active vomiting and diarrhea.
Other possible side effects include:
- Muscle pain and weakness
- Upset stomach
- Respiratory depression
Note: To avoid adverse reactions, always consult a doctor or your healthcare provider before trying a new supplement.
Tejocote is a unique plant, and its root, leaves, and fruit may have some impressive uses and benefits for our health.
However, it is important to keep in mind that due to the lack of research on the specific tejocote root benefits and side effects, you should approach with caution. Trying small amounts first is a good rule of thumb.
So, are you going to try it? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’re looking for another interesting root, check out our article about teasel root.