Chandelier Bush (Shandilay): Benefits, Recipe and More

Chandelier bush (sometimes called shadilay) is a common ‘bush’ remedy for coughs and colds in the Caribbean. The leaves are either squeezed or brewed before drinking and, it doesn’t matter which way you choose, the remedy will taste bad. But it works!

If you like learning about ‘bush’ remedies, find more info on chadon beni, lemongrass, holy basil, and more.

chandelier bush and leaves

This is not medical advice. See this disclaimer for more.

What is Chandelier Bush?

Chandelier is a simple plant that belongs to the mint and sage family, though it’s a lot taller than its herb cousins. Its botanical name is Leonotis nepetifolia and it is often called: Christmas candlestick, lion’s ear, klip dagga, cordão-de-frade and shandilay.

The leaves are fairly large with jagged edges and the flowers are beautiful orange. Hummingbirds in my garden love the flowers.

The plant is native to tropical Africa, but also grows in southern India, Latin America and the Caribbean. So with such a limited range, I won’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of chandelier bush.

Chandelier flowers

Benefits of chandelier bush

There are a couple studies that have explored the benefits of shandilay.

It’s antimicrobial

In a 2015 study, researchers proved extracts of the plant could damage the membranes of bacteria and yeasts, essentially killing them. This 2019 study reaffirmed chandelier’s antimicrobial effects and related them to the flavonoids present in the leaf extracts.

Science backed benefits

These 2016 study and 2023 study discuss the scientifically proven benefits and suggest extracts of the plant are likely to be:

  • antibacterial
  • antioxidant
  • anti-tumor
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-diabetic
  • anti-anxiety
  • pain-relieving
  • wound healing
  • tranquilizing

This 2022 animal study, out of Mexico, showed the methanol extract of the plant had antidepressant effects in mice. The extract also improved weight gain and reduced stress hormone levels (corticosterone) in mice exposed to mild stress. While this isn’t a clinical study, it still is interesting to note.

It’s used in folk medicine

As for folk medicine, the plant is used for respiratory problems like coughs, flu, and asthma. It is also used to treat fever, rheumatism, headaches, wounds, womb prolapse, and malaria.   

Personally, I have used chandelier leaves to treat the cough. It works if I’m recovering from the flu. But, if my cough is due to allergies or dust, it’ll only work for a couple days.

How to prepare chandelier bush?

There are two ways to prepare chandelier leaves.

Shandilay Tea

The first is to make tea. Break up three or four leaves and add boiling water to them. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes before straining, sweetening and serving.

Fair warning, the tea tastes terrible without a sweetener. You can also brew a few leaves for 5 minutes and leave to steep for 5 minutes.


The second way to prepare chandelier bush is to crush and squeeze the leaves to extract the juice. I suggest using more than ten leaves here. To crush the leaves, you can use your palms, a mini blender, or a mortar and pestle. You may get a teaspoon or two of juice. To this, add a couple drops of lemon juice and a dash of salt. The lemon juice helps with the taste. But, it still is terrible. It does work though!

Making chandelier juice

Liked this post? Then stop by these traditional remedies for the flu:

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One Comment

  1. Excellent! as I am from the Caribbean and I certainly agree with what was said. I grew up on drinking the tea for my colds which I tried to run away from when my mom came to give it, but it truly works! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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