Plants are our natural companions. Apart from providing us food and making our environment pleasant, many of them also possess medicinal properties. The therapeutic uses of certain plants are indispensable to health promotion. For instance, turmeric is consumed by 90% of people during a common cold or flu. The use of garlic in cholesterol reduction and ginger ale to prevent vomiting sensation or nausea are all common and undeniable facts. Having known about the common ones, there are certainly new additions like Mimosa pudica or touch-me-not plant which are being recognized for their health benefits. Let’s explore the different benefits this plant can provide us:
What is Mimosa Pudica?
Like aloe vera and tulsi, the most common medicinal plants, Mimosa pudica also grows extensively near our household. Widespread in Asian countries like India, this plant prefers shade for optimal growth. The Mimosa pudica grows short, not more than 100 cm of height and creeps along the ground. The leaves of this plant are dark green colored resembling fern and its flowers are purplish-pink in color.
Heard of touch-me-not plant? It’s nothing but Mimosa pudica. The leaves of this plant close themselves as a defensive response to external stimuli like excessive heat, cold, harsh wind, vibration or touch. The plant can differentiate harmful touch from friendly ones like it doesn’t close when raindrops fall on it. After releasing their pressure, they reopen in a few minutes.
Health Benefits of Mimosa Pudica
Plants contain health-promoting components called phytochemicals. The leaves of this plant contain disease-fighting components (antioxidants) like flavonoids, coumarins, glycosides, quinines, phenolic components, and terpenoids. The root of this plant contains essential oils, while the seeds contain compounds like glucuronic acid and xylose. The seeds of this plant are used in improving gut health.
Whenever there is an injury/wound we see a swelling. Our body puts up this to tackle inflammation that happens within. When the inflammation comes down the wound heals. The leaves of Mimosa pudica bring down inflammation owing to their phenolic components. Hence they are made into a form of a paste and rubbed on external cuts or abrasions to promote healing. Certain insect bites and itchy rashes also heal faster when rubbed with these leaves.
Effective against infections and insect bites
Applying the juice from Mimosa pudica leaf extract along with sesame oil on the infected skin provides relief from infection and inflammation. The root of this plant has essential oils and has been used as an antidote for snake bites and scorpion stings, since ages. The water extracted after soaking the dried root in it for a few hours prevents the spread of snake venom inside the body following a poisonous bite. The leaves also have the potential to inactivate parasites like roundworm which causes intestinal infection and virus-like rubella that cause mumps.
Makes breathing easier for people with asthma
Asthma is a health condition wherein the passage for airflow narrows down due to excess mucus production. This airway blockage eventually causes breathing difficulty, coughing, wheezing and tightness in the chest. You can understand better about the uses of this wonder plant, learn about it here to reduce the effects of asthma. Mimosa pudica plant extract when ingested reduces mucus production thus widening airway passage for easy breathing. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, Mimosa pudica extract inhibits the release of inflammatory chemicals like histamine which are produced more in allergic asthma. This benefit helps in keeping asthma under control.
It’s a remedy for piles
Piles or hemorrhoids refer to a health condition where there is a difficulty in defecating or passing stools. Due to the pressure build-up, the surrounding tissues become inflamed and swollen up. Ingesting a teaspoon of Mimosa pudica’s powdered root extract along with a glass of milk or curd proves beneficial in reducing the inflammation, thus bringing down the pain during defecation or passing stools. Externally the leaves can be applied in a paste form on the affected area for reduction of pain and burning sensation.
Alleviates Joint pain
Joints in our body are places where the bones meet. This place is well cushioned with shock absorbers like cartilages and connective tissues. A breakdown of the cartilage results in joint pain. Joint pain is commonly seen in inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Apart from the anti-inflammatory properties, the glucuronic acid and xylose present in Mimosa pudica actively participate in the formation of connective tissue and cartilage (especially, hyaluronic acid and chondroitin sulfate of cartilage). Thus they reduce the breakdown of cartilage in joints and lessen joint pain. Applying a paste made from the leaf extract on the swollen joint and letting it stay overnight reduces pain and inflammation. Boiling the leaves along with sesame oil and then massaging the same on painful joints also seems beneficial.
Advantageous for your stomach and liver
Mimosa pudica is effective against various stomach ailments like indigestion, diarrhea and intestinal worms. Ingestion of the extract made from the leaves along with honey for 3 to 4 days reduces stomach ache and other related ailments.
Whenever we take medicines, the excess of it has to be removed from our bodies. Our liver takes up this role through a process called detoxification. Certain harmful parasites release toxins inside our body while invading us and these should also be removed through detoxification. Other harmful substances removed through detoxification include environmental pollutants. The glucuronic acid present in Mimosa pudica aids the liver in the detoxification process thus maintaining its prime health.
How and when to consume Mimosa Pudica?
Powdered seeds of Mimosa pudica form a gel when mixed with water. The glucuronic acid and xylose present in the seed are the components of this gel. The Mimosa pudica seed extract is available in ready-to-eat capsule form. Mimosa pudica capsules are gut-friendly. They form a sticky gel inside our digestive tract which engulfs harmful drugs, toxins, and other pollutants. The powdery content of the capsule can also be mixed with oils like avocado oil and ingested as it is fat-soluble. For the best benefit, the seed extract should be consumed on an empty stomach at least 20 minutes before a meal or 2 hours after a meal, something like first thing in the morning or at bedtime.
In a technology-driven world, we befriend gadgets more than anything. Are we moving away from our natural companions, the plants? We shouldn’t, as they are a storehouse of our health and wellness!