Conventional medicine, it is always said, is the best method to treat human beings. However, practitioners of traditional or alternative medicine would argue that there are specific herbs and/or plants that function competently as well as conventional/modern medicine. “Miracle leaf” is often of these plants that pop up for discussion when discussing the efficacy of plants/herbs against modern medicine.
So, what is a “miracle leaf”, often regarded as nature’s multipurpose gift to humanity for treating numerous ailments and diseases?
“Miracle leaf” is a houseplant renowned for having an abundance of tiny plantlets that grow on the edges of its phylloclades, a characteristic it shares with certain other Bryophyllum species. The leaf is formally known by its binomial name, Kalanchoe pinnata. It is also optionally known as “ cathedral bells”, “air plant” and “life plant”.
“Miracle leaf” is of theCrassulaceaeStonecrop family. It is also a perennial plant, meaning that it lives for more than two years. With its, fleshy cylindrical stems the leafis a kind of plant that is easy to maintain and can grow in several environmental conditions. It is planted and grown throughout tropical and subtropical regions.
The plant grows up to 1-1.5 metres high. The leaves are succulent and greenish. This plant reproduces by leaf buds, meaning that leaves produce at their lateral extremities and when they drop off, they immediately become new plants.
As mentioned earlier, the “miracle leaf” is a houseplant, i.e. it is an ornamental plant that is grown indoors and can be found in places like residences and offices, mainly for decorative purposes. However, it also serves a more important function: it works as a medicinal plant against various ailments and diseases. Let’s get to know more about this function in the next sub-section.
The leaves are used for the treatment of ailments such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, headaches, bug bites, wounds, bruises, abscesses, rheumatism, and body and joint difficulties in West Africa.
Research has also shown that the growth of human cervical cancer cells is slowed down by the leaf extract. The flavonoids shield cells from oxidative harm. Bryophyllin A is one of the bufadienolide compounds contained in the plant which has an anti-cancer effect. It is also used in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine to treat various respiratory issues such as asthma and bronchitis.
The “miracle leaf” is also used to treat gastrointestinal issues like diarrhoea and constipation. The leaf juice is used for the treatment of stomach aches. According to certain theories, the plant has a relaxing effect on the stomach and intestines, which can assist to lessen the symptoms of digestive diseases.
The extract of the Bryophyllum pinnatum compound from the leaf is also used for the treatment of roundworms. The extract of the plant is used for the treatment of antipyretic (fever), while the leaf’s juice is said to be used as an ear drop to heal ear pain.
This plant’s root has shown promise in the treatment of hepatitis and is thought to preserve the liver. Following its usage in folk (traditional medicine) for the treatment of kidney stones and urinary tract infections, a scientific study was conducted to investigate the treatment’s validity. The study endorsed the plant’s ability as a therapeutic for both ailments mentioned. It also aids in bladder cleaning and removes poisonous poisons from the intestines.
Traditional medicine also uses it to treat menstruation issues including dysmenorrhea. The plant is said to have a beneficial impact on the menstrual cycle, which can lessen cramping and pain associated with the menstrual cycle.
The extract is also employed in treating grey hair and nourishing hair. In Nigeria, the “miracle plant” is used in the traditional setting for the removal of the uncoupling of infants.
Although using the “miracle lead” has numerous advantages, it also has downsides. The following negative effects, however, may occur if you take more of it than is considered normal.
The leaf is said to be toxic as it contains bufadienolide cardiac glycosides, which result in cardiac poisoning, especially for grazing animals. This is due to the bufadienolide compounds – bryotoxins A, B and C – contained in the plant.
When administered orally, the “miracle leaf” is not known to be safe. Some people may experience an allergic reaction to miracle fruit.