Flower of Caper - Capparis Spinosa (Capparaceae)

Medicinal Use of Caper – Capparis Spinosa (Capparaceae)


Shrub growing to 3 ft (1 m), with spiny trailing stems, fleshy oval leaves, green buds, large white flowers, and red berries in autumn.

Habitat & Cultivation

Native to the Mediterranean region, caper thrives in open areas, often growing on stony terrain. The buds are harvested before the flowers open and are pickled for culinary use.

Parts Used

Root bark, bark, flower buds.


Contains phenolic compounds.

History & Folklore

Though much favored as a piquant food by the ancient Greeks, capers were said to disagree with the stomach. They remain a popular condiment to this day.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

The unopened flower buds are laxative and, if prepared correctly with vinegar, are thought to ease stomach pain. The bark is bitter and diuretic and can be taken immediately before meals to increase the appetite. The root bark is purifying and stops internal bleeding. It is used to treat skin conditions,

capillary weakness, and easy bruising, and is also used in cosmetic preparations. A decoction of the plant is used to treat yeast and vaginal infections such as candidiasis.

Related Species

A decoction of the North American C. cynophallophora is taken to encourage the onset of menstruation, and is used as a gargle for throat infections.