Chandelier Bush: Would You Use This Traditional Remedy?

Chandelier bush is a common remedy for coughs and colds in Trinidad and Tobago.

The leaves are often crushed and squeezed or brewed to make the remedy.

Both versions taste terrible but they can be mixed with lemon juice to improve the taste.

Note, this is not medical advice. Please see the disclaimer page for more.

What is Chandelier Bush?

Chandelier belongs to the mint and sage family. But, unlike those herbs, it is a fairly tall plant.

The leaves are large and hummingbirds love the orange flowers.

Chandelier plant: young plant with chori bhagi next to it
Chandelier flowers

Chandelier’s botanical name is Leonotis nepetifolia.

It is sometimes called:

  • Christmas candlestick
  • lion’s ear
  • klip dagga
  • cordão-de-frade
  • shandilay

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.

Is chandelier good for you?

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

Extracts of the leaves were found to be both antibacterial and anti-Candida. In fact, in a 2015 study, researchers proved chandelier could damage the membranes of microbes, essentially killing them.

This 2019 study reaffirmed chandelier’s antimicrobial effects and related them to the flavonoids present in the leaf extracts.

A 2016 study went on to discuss the scientifically proven benefits of chandelier along with its traditional uses. The proven benefits showed the plant is likely:

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

As for folk medicine, the study explained 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 Saharah dust, it’ll only work for a couple days.

Besides shandilay, I also enjoy cocoa tea, ginger tea, fevergrass tea, soursop tea and tulsi tea.

Pin this:

chandelier bush tea pinterest pin

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 ten to fifteen minutes before straining, sweetening and serving. Fair warning, the tea tastes terrible without a sweetener.

You can also brew a few leaves for five minutes and leave to steep for another five minutes. Here’s a quick video on it.

How to Make Chandelier Bush Tea (Shandilay Bush Tea) video


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!

Here’s the extract:

Making chandelier juice

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