Herbs & Plants: Mimosa Pudica – The Peculiar Movement Of Its Leaflets

Mimosa plant is a short-lived evergreen shrub, which can be treated as an annual plant. This is an interesting plant due to peculiar movement of its leaflets that are sensitive to touch. Its fern like leaves fold themselves when touched. These leaves open in a very short time after the stimulus is withdrawn. Mimosa belongs to the taxonomic group Magnoliopsida and family Mimosaseae and its scientific name is Mimosa pudica Linn.

It grows up to a height of about 0.5m and spreads up to 0.3m. The stem of mimosa is erect, slender, prickly and well branched. Leaves are bipinnate, fern like and pale green in colour with a tendency to close when touched. Flowers of this plant are axillary in position and lilac pink in colour, usually occurring in globose heads. Calyxes are companulate, and petals are crenate towards the base. Fruits of mimosa are pods, 1.5 to 2.5 cm long, falcate and closely prickly on sutures. The Mimosa pudica plant is of great interest to a number of researchers all over the World because of its numerous health benefits.

All the five parts of the plant, the leaves, flowers, stems, roots, and fruits are used as medicines in the traditional healthcare systems. Different parts of the plant have been in popular use for treating various conditions such as healing wounds, s biliousness, leprosy, dysentery, uterine complaints, inflammations, burning sensation, fatigue, asthma, leucoderma, bronchitis, general weakness, impotence and blood diseases among others.

The root decoction of Mimosa pudica is used in the treatment of toothache, diarrhea, amoebic dysentery and urinary infections. The root powder can be used to stop bleeding and fastens the wound healing process. The decoction from the root is an aphrodisiac, and is also used for bladder gravel and similar urinary complaints. The plant has also been used extensively to cure skin diseases, and other conditions.

Mimosa pudica bark is used to relax the mind, and relieves depression, mental distress, irritability, severe palpitations, and amnesia. It is a mood enhancer and improves body circulation of the blood. In some communities, the juice extract from the leaves and stems of this plant are administered to manage diabetes. The leaves and the roots are dried and powdered and given in recommended dose for diabetes management. The decoction made from the entire plant is used as alterant and antiasthmatic.

Powdered seeds of Mimosa pudica can be applied to treat wounds and sores. Powdered roots and leaves are taken with milk to treat piles and fistula and the juice extract applied externally to relief fistulous sores.

Poultice of leaves of Mimosa pudica is used to treat glandular swellings and for treating wounds. The root extract is used in some communities as treatment for snakebite. This is because the root decoction accordingly is very good in inhibiting the activity of the snake venom.

– Richard Komakech

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