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25 species in one genus are found in warm regions of America. The fruits are covered with bristles or spines, often barbed.

[Summary yet to be added]

[syn. Ratanhia]

25 species are found from the Southern United States to Chile.

Krameria argentea Mart.
Brazilian Rhatany, Para


Krameria triandra Ruiz & Pav.
Peruvian Rhatany

Wren (1975) notes that a preparation of the root is useful as an application to spongy and bleeding gums. Stuart (1979) refers to perhaps the same traditional use of Krameria triandra in Peru as a preserver / fixative for teeth (see also Potentilla erecta (L.) Raeusch., fam. Rosaceae). Tincture of Krameria produced cheilitis and stomatitis (Zakon et al. 1947). A preparation containing Krameria caused dermatitis of the anogenital skin. Positive patch test reactions to the preparation were observed. Sensitisation to Krameria was produced experimentally in 86% of 37 individuals (Grolnick 1938a, 1938b). Mibelli (1929) and Lewith & Langecker (1930) refer to other cases of dermatitis.

One of 12 patients contact sensitive to balsam of Peru (from Myroxylon balsamum Harms, fam. Leguminosae) showed a positive patch test reaction to the tincture (Hjorth 1961).


  • Grolnick, M. (1938a) Studies in contact dermatitis. III. Active sensitization with Krameria in man. J. Invest. Dermat. 1: 179.
  • Grolnick, M. (1938b) Dermatitis due to haemorrhoidal ointment containing krameria and oil of cade. J. Am. Med. Ass. 110: 951.
  • Hjorth N (1961) Eczematous Allergy to Balsams, Allied Perfumes and Favouring Agents. With special reference to balsam of Peru. Copenhagen: Munksgaard [WorldCat] [url]
  • Lewith, R. and Langecker, H. (1930) Uber einen Fall von Ratanhia-dermatitis (Idiosynkrasie gegen Ratanhiagerbsaure). Derm. Wschr. 90: 477, cited by Touton (1932).
  • Mibelli, A. (1929) Sull'impiego dell'estratto di ratania in dermatol. Arch. Ital. Dermat. 4: 281, cited by Touton 1932.
  • Stuart M (1979) Reference section. In: Stuart M (Ed.) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism, pp. 141-283. London: Orbis Publishing [WorldCat] [url]
  • Touton K (1932) Hauterkrankungen durch phanerogamische Pflanzen und ihre Produkte (Toxicodermia et Allergodermia phytogenes) [Skin Diseases Caused by Phanerogamic Plants and their Products (Toxicodermia et Allergodermia phytogenes)]. In: Jadassohn J (Ed.) Handbuch der Haut- und Geschlechtskrankheiten. Band IV, Teil I. Angeborene Anomalien. Lichtdermatosen. Pflanzengifte. Thermische Schädigungen. Einfluss Innerer Störungen auf die Haut [Handbook of Skin and Venereal Diseases. Volume IV, Part I. Congenital abnormalities. Photodermatoses. Plant toxins. Thermal injuries. Influence of internal disorders on the skin], pp. 487-697. Berlin: Julius Springer [doi] [WorldCat] [url] [url-2]
  • Wren RC (1975) Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. (Re-edited and enlarged by Wren RW). Bradford, Devon: Health Science Press [WorldCat] [doi] [url] [url-2]

Richard J. Schmidt

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