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Gouania lupuloides - (L.)Urb.

Common Name Chew Stick
Family Rhamnaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Dry, moist, or wet thickets or forest, most often in second-growth thickets, ascending from sea level to elevations of around 1,500 metres[331 ].
Range Central America - Panama to Mexico, and the Caribbean.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full sun
Gouania lupuloides Chew Stick

Gouania lupuloides Chew Stick
Dick Culbert - wikimedia.org


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Gouania lupuloides or commonly known as Chew Stick is a shrub with arching branches of up to 12 m long. It can be found in Central America particularly in Panama to Mexico, and the Caribbean. The stems are bitter and aromatic and have been used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer. Also, it is often chewed to clean the teeth and harden the gums. In Yucatan, root decoction is used as a gargle for sores in the mouth and throat. Stem infusion is used for gonorrhea and dropsy.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Gouania lupuloides is a CLIMBER growing to 10 m (32ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Banisteria lupuloides L. Gouania domingensis L. Gouania glabra Jacq. Lupulus lupuloides (L.) Kuntze


Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Stem
Edible Uses: Drink

The aromatic, bitter stems have been used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer[301 , 331 ]. They are used to add flavour and body to a range of drinks including soda, ginger beer, root beer and root tonics[301 ]. This is a very agreeable bitter. It is used as a substitute for hops in ginger beer, and cool drinks[346 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Bitter  Mouthwash

A decoction of the root is used in Yucatan as a gargle for sores in the mouth and throat[331 ]. An infusion (of the stem?) has been employed in the treatment of gonorrhoea and dropsy, and as a light grateful bitter, in cases of debility, to restore the tone of the stomach[346 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses


Other Uses: The stems of this and other species probably contain saponin, and when they are chewed large quantities of lather are produced. The stems are often chewed to clean the teeth and harden the gums[46 , 331 ]. A piece of a branch, about as thick as the little finger, is softened by chewing, and then rubbed against the teeth. In this manner a tooth-brush, and, with it, a powder are obtained, equal, if not superior, to any in use in Europe[346 ]. When powdered, the stem forms an excellent dentifrice; its aromatic bitter producing a healthy state of the gums, and the mucilage it contains working up by the brush into a kind of soap-like froth[346 ].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

A tropical plant. The flowers are much frequented by bees[331 ].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chaw-stick, Chewstick,

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

United States; Mexico; Belize; Guatemala; Honduras; El Salvador; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; Panama; Colombia; Bahamas; Cuba; Haiti; Dominican Republic; Jamaica; Puerto Rico; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.; Antigua and Barbuda; Barbados; Dominica; Grenada; Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Guadeloupe; Martinique; Montserrat; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Saint Bathélemy; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); French Guiana; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Ecuador; Peru; Bolivia, Plurinational State of; Argentina, Central America, Guiana, Lesser Antilles*, Mexico, North America, South America, Virgin Islands, West Indies*,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Gouania lupuloides  
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