Scientific Name(s): Albizia julibrissin Duraz z.
Common Name(s): Mimosa, Powder-puff tree, Silk tree

Clinical Overview
In vitro studies document anticancer activity of the various julibrosides against numerous cancer cell lines. The herb is often marketed for relieving anxiety, depression, and stress.

The herb is available from commercial manufacturers, and the most common dosage forms are liquids and capsules. Manufacturers suggest 3 to 6 mL of 1:2 mimosa liquid extract daily or 1 capsule 3 times daily with meals. However, capsule formulations are proprietary herbal blends and are available in several strengths. Powders, teas, and tinctures are also available.


  • Avoid use with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to any mimosa constituents.
  • Pregnancy/Lactation - Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions  None well documented.

Adverse Reactions  Research reveals limited information regarding adverse reactions with the use of mimosa.

Toxicology - Clinical studies are limited.

Mimosa is native to Iran, China, and Japan, and is also found in northern, southern, and western United States.1, 2, 3, 4 There are approximately 150 species in the genus Albizia, and 17 species are found in southern China.2, 3 Mimosa is a small umbrella-shaped tree growing less than 15 m in height with a broad crown of level or arching branches.2, 5, 6 The bark is dark green to grey in color and may have vertical stripes. The bipinnately compound leaves are 20 to 45 cm long and divided into 4 to 12 pairs of pinnae, each with 10 to 30 pairs of leaflets.2, 7 Mimosa begins to flower in May to early June and through July.4 Ivory, pink, or reddish sweetly scented flowers occur in inflorescences and are a rich nectar source for honeybees, bumblebees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.2, 6 Three to 9 fruits often mature within the inflorescences, and oval-shaped seeds can be seen from June to February.2, 6 Mimosa are used in gardens for ornamental purposes, in sandy areas to prevent erosion, and along roadways.2, 4, 5, 6

The stem bark has been used as a sedative for hundreds of years as recorded in the Pharmacopeia of the People's Republic of China2, 8, 9 and as an anti-inflammatory agent for swelling and pain in the lungs and to treat skin ulcers, wounds, bruises, abscesses, boils, hemorrhoids, and fractures, as well as to remove carbuncles. The dried stem bark is used as a tonic in China and Japan.10 Indigenous people living in the southern mountainous region of Korea prepare the root as an infusion for bone diseases.11 In India, a chloroform and methanol seed extract has been used to treat bronchitis, asthma, leprosy, and glands infected by tuberculous.12 A bark extract to treat insomnia, diuresis, asthenia, and confusion has been used in Asia.2 The plant's flowers have been used to treat symptoms associated with palpitations, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.2, 13
The seed oil is a source of food for livestock and wildlife. The proteolytic enzymes in the seeds may also reduce bitterness in some cheeses. Mimosa may be used commercially as a promising seed oil crop for making soap, hair shampoo, and ultraviolet protectors in cosmetics, and in nutritional products due to its high level of polyunsaturated fatty acids.2

Numerous studies on the phytochemistry of the stem bark, flowers, and seed oil of mimosa have been documented. Most of the studies focus on the various julibrosides, which are triterpenoid saponins that inhibit the growth of several cancer cell lines.8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 One study also reviewed structural and cytotoxic activity among julibrosides and their prosapogenins.10
Radical scavenging activity was associated with phenolic glycosides albribrissinosides A and B, hyperoside, quercitrin and quercetin.21, 22 The free fatty acid content of mimosa seed oil (2.54%) is greater than that of soybean oil (0.86%). The oil and moisture content of the seeds are 10.5% and 1.56%. The primary fatty acids in the seed oil are linoleic acid (58.58%), palmitic acid (13.86%), and oleic acid (10.47%). The saponification value of the oil indicates utility in industrial applications, such as liquid soap and shampoo.2 This plant species also contains deterrent chemical constituents against caterpillars.23

Uses and Pharmacology
In vitro studies document the anticancer activity of the various julibrosides against numerous cancer cell lines.8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20

In vitro and animal data Antitumor activity is associated with julibrosides J1, J2, and J3 against breast, prostate, and uterine cervical carcinoma cells.8 Julibrosides J8 and J13 from an ethanol stem bark extract showed cytotoxic activity against hepatocarcinoma cells at 100 mcg/mL.14 Cytotoxic activity is also documented for julibroside J21 against hepatocarcinoma cells.17

Julibrosides J1 and J9 from an ethanol stem bark extract showed cytotoxic activity against epidermoid carcinoma cell lines.16 Julibroside J28 showed antitumor activity against prostate, hepatocarcinoma, and uterine cervical carcinoma cells24; with inhibitory rates of 80.47%, 70.26%, and 58.53%.18

Julibroside J8 also inhibited growth of a human gastric cancer cell line and may induce apoptosis in uterine cervical carcinoma cells through the caspase pathway, which is involved in programmed cell death.25 Solid tumor growth was suppressed in mice treated with julibroside J8. The rate of inhibition for 0.5, 1.5, and 3 mg/kg of julibroside J8 treatment was 16.7%, 35.2%, and 67.5%.26 The anticancer activity may involve inhibition of growth, migration, and tube formation in the human dermal microvascular endothelial cell line.26 Another study in mice documents anticancer activity of mimosa's polysaccharides on sarcoma 180 solid form cancer cells.27 HaBC18, an active substance isolated from mimosa dried stem bark powder, induced apoptotic DNA fragmentation of human acute leukemia Jurkat T cells through mitochondria-dependent activation of the caspase cascade.28

Other pharmacologic activity

The roots of mimosa inhibit the growth of streptomycetes.29 Mimosa also inhibits the growth of oral streptococci.30 Activity against Bacillus megaterium, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella typhi, and Staphylococcus aureus has been documented.31

A mimosa ethanol bark extract ranging from 5 to 20 mg/kg exhibited anti-inflammatory activity on ear edema in mice in a dose-dependent manner.32

A dried methanolic stem bark extract displayed radical scavenging activity possibly attributable to its glycoside flavonoids.21, 22 An ethyl ether pod extract exhibited greater antioxidant activity compared with an extract made with petroleum ether.31 Mimosa foliage, flower, and whole-plant water extracts were tested for inhibition of low-density lipoprotein oxidation.33 The foliage water extracts possessed the highest inhibition, which was standardized at 2.5 mcM of flavonoids.

Anxiety and insomnia
Mimosa is often marketed for relieving anxiety, depression, and stress. A pharmacoepidemiologic study in 2002 found that mimosa was the third most commonly prescribed Chinese herbal medicine for treating insomnia.34 A study in rats pretreated with mimosa documented anxiolytic-like effects potentially mediated by changes in the serotonergic nervous system, especially 5-hydroxytryptamine 1A receptors.13, 35 Another study in chronically stressed rats found that mimosa alleviated growth inhibition caused by stress and regulated levels of monoamine brain neurotransmitters.36

The herb is available from commercial manufacturers, and the most common dosage forms are liquids and capsules. Manufacturers suggest 3 to 6 mL of 1:2 mimosa liquid extract daily or 1 capsule 3 times daily with meals. However, capsule formulations are proprietary herbal blends and available in several strengths. Powders, teas, and tinctures are also available.

Use caution in patients taking mimosa with anticancer, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and antibacterial medications because information on potential drug-herb interactions is limited.

Adverse Reactions - Research reveals limited information regarding adverse reactions with the use of mimosa.

Toxicology - Clinical studies are limited.

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3. Wang FQ, Wang ET, Liu J, et al.
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5. Irwin AJ, Hamrick JL, Godt MJ, Smouse PE. A multiyear estimate of the effective pollen donor pool for Albizia julibrissin. Heredity. 2003;90(2):187- 194.12634826
6. Pardini EA, Hamrick JL. Hierarchical patterns of paternity within crowns of Albizia julibrissin (Fabaceae). Am J Bot. 2007;94(1):111-118.21642213
7. Chen YB, Lee Y, Satter RL. Chronobiology of aging in Albizzia julibrissin: I. An automated, computerized system for monitoring leaflet movement; the rhythm in constant darkness. Plant Physiol. 1984;76(4):858-860.16663959
8. Zheng L, Zheng J, Zhao Y, Wang B, Wu L, Liang H. Three anti-tumor saponins from Albizia julibrissin. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2006;16(10):2765- 2768.16504508
9. Zheng L, Zheng J, Zhang Q, Wang B, Zhao Y, Wu L. Three new oleanane triterpenoid saponins acetylated with monoterpenoid acid from Albizia julibrissin. Fitoterapia. 2010;81(7):859-863.20562005
10. Ikeda T, Fujiwara S, Araki K, Kinjo J, Nohara T, Miyoshi T. Cytotoxic glycosides from Albizia julibrissin. J Nat Prod. 1997;60(2):102-107.9051910
11. Kim H, Song MJ. Analysis and recordings of orally transmitted knowledge about medicinal plants in the southern mountainous region of Korea. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011;134(3):676-696.21256949
12. Gautam R, Saklani A, Jachak SM. Indian medicinal plants as a source of antimycobacterial agents. J Ethnopharmacol. 2007;110(2):200-234.17276637
13. Samwald M, Dumontier M, Zhao J, Luciano JS, Marshall MS, Cheung K. Integrating findings of traditional medicine with modern pharmaceutical research: the potential role of linked open data. Chin Med. 2010;5:43.21167050
14. Zou K, Tong WY, Liang H, et al. Diastereoisomeric saponins from Albizia julibrissin. Carbohydr Res. 2005;340(7):1329-1334.15854602
15. Cao S, Norris A, Miller JS, et al. Cytotoxic triterpenoid saponins of Albizia gummifera from the Madagascar rain forest. J Nat Prod. 2007;70(3):361- 366.17263578
16. Zou K, Zhao Y, Tu G, Cui J, Jia Z, Zhang R. Two diastereomeric saponins with cytotoxic activity from Albizia julibrissin. Carbohydr Res. 2000;324(3):182- 188.10724532
17. Zou K, Zhao YY, Zhang RY. A cytotoxic saponin from Albizia julibrissin. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006;54(8):1211-1212.16880673
18. Liang H, Tong WY, Zhao YY, Cui JR, Tu GZ. An antitumor compound julibroside J28 from Albizia julibrissin. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2005;15(20):4493- 4495.16112860
19. Tong W, Mi L, Liang H, Zhao Y. Isolation and identification of chemical constituents from Albizia julibrissin Durazz [in Chinese]. Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao. 2003;35(2):180-183.12920839
20. Zou K, Wang B, Zhao YY, Zheng JH, Zhang RY. A new triterpenoid saponin julibroside J24 from the stem bark of Albiza julibrissin [in Chinese]. Beijing Da Xue Xue Bao. 2004;36(1):18-20.14970880
21. Jung MJ, Kang SS, Jung YJ, Choi JS. Phenolic glycosides from the stem bark of Albizzia julibrissin. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2004;52(12):1501- 1503.15577257
22. Lau CS, Carrier DJ, Beitle RR, et al. Identification and quantification of glycoside flavonoids in the energy crop Albizia julibrissin. Bioresour Technol. 2007;98(2):429-435.16481160
23. Lind EM, Parker JD. Novel weapons testing: are invasive plants more chemically defended than native plants? PLoS One. 2010;5(5):e10429.20454658
24. Roy B, Pramanik K, Mukhopadhyay B. Synthesis of a tetra- and a trisaccharide related to an anti-tumor saponin "Julibroside J28" from Albizia julibrissin. Glycoconj J. 2008;25(2):157-166.17701454
25. Zheng L, Zheng J, Wu LJ, Zhao YY. Julibroside J8-induced HeLa cell apoptosis through caspase pathway. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2006;8(5):457-465.16864463
26. Hua H, Feng L, Zhang XP, Zhang LF, Jin J. Anti-angiogenic activity of julibroside J8, a natural product isolated from Albizia julibrissin. Phytomedicine. 2009;16(8):703-711.19423313
27. Moon CK, Lee BG, Lee SH, Kang TL. Effects of antitumor polysaccharides from Albizza julibrissin on immune function. Arch Pharm Res. 1985;8(4):277-282.
28. Won HJ, Han CH, Kim YH, et al. Induction of apoptosis in human acute leukemia Jurkat T cells by Albizzia julibrissin extract is mediated via mitochondria- dependent caspase-3 activation. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;106(3):383-389.16533581
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32. Qiao SY, Yu DH, Guo JF, Zhao YM. Studies on bioassay-guided anti-inflammatory fraction in bark of Albizia julibrissin combined determination with LC- MS-MS [in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2007;32(19):2021-2025.18161296
33. Vaughn K, McClain C, Carrier DJ, et al. Effect of Albizia julibrissin water extracts on low-density lipoprotein oxidization. J Agric Food Chem. 2007;55(12):4704-4709.17497875
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