Cabeza de Angel

Cabeza de Angel

Calliandra anomala (Kunth) Macbride; (Bean family, Leguminosae)

Cultivation and Propagation

Cabeza de Angel, originating from Mexico and Guatemala can be cultivated outside in California and the South of the USA, while it has to be propagated in a greenhouse in the North. The shrub has featherlike deep red flowers and can be found in California as ornamental plant. For optimal growth good garden soil should be used and the plant needs much sun and plenty of water. If the plantlets are propagated in a greenhouse at first, you should wait after blooming and prune the plant before setting out doors for the summer.

The best way to propagate Cabeza de Angel is by seeds, which should be nicked and soaked before germination will take place. Additionally, the propagation by cuttings is also possible. After taking the cuttings with a heel they should be planted in sand and require bottom heat.


To harvest the exuding resin of Cabeza de Angel you have to make an incision that has to be shallow, narrow and not too deep to avoid lasting damage of the plant. The best time to make that incision is the early morning and the exuding resin will be collected over several days, before dried and processed to a powder, which will be snuffed.


After taking the resins of Cabeza de Angel a soporific and hypnotic effect. Additionally, in the traditional medicine it is taken against diarrhea, tugors, fever, and malaria.

Side effects

No side effects are known after the consumption of Cabeza de Angels.

Active agent

The active compounds in Cabeza de Angel are the so-called saponines, firstly isolated from branches of Calliandra anomala (Kunth) Macbr in 1993-1994. They are called calliandra saponines. In 1996 six other saponines were isolated, containing a N-acetyl glucosamine at position 3 of the genin, and one ort wo monoterpene glycosides at the sugar chain.


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