Mimosa pudica is a small shrub or creeping plant that is a member of the nitrogen-fixing Fabaceae family. The plant has small pink globe-shaped flowers and pinnately compound leaves. It is native to Brazil, but has become widespread throughout tropical regions and is considered an invasive weed in some areas1.
Mimosa pudicais best known as the “Sensitive” or “Touch-me-not” plant, for the curious characteristic of responding to touch by folding its leaves inward and drooping its stem downward. The leaves will also droop at night and when exposed to rain or excessive heat2. BioPure Healing Products, LLC sells a pure powder that is entirely Mimosa pudicaherb with no binders or fillers.
Mimosa pudica has been used in traditional medicine to treat a wide variety of issues including gastrointestinal problems, gynecological and urinary complaints, inflammation, toothaches, fatigue, depression, asthma, leprosy, blood and skin problems, to arrest bleeding, and speed wound healing3,4.
An aqueous solution of Mimosa pudicaroot extract has been effectively used to inhibit the activity of cobra venom5. It has also been indicated as potentially helpful in treating anxiety and depression6.
The primary interest inMimosa pudica, however, lies in its apparent antiparasitic and antimicrobial properties. It could be useful as an active ingredient in natural, environmentally friendly insecticidesthat could help prevent diseases like encephalitis7.
Aqueous solutions have shown an inhibitory effect on development of the larvae of intestinal roundworms8. Pharmaceutical research is showing that Mimosa pudicacan facilitate the uptake of nanoparticles of certain substances, and aid in the delivery of drugs to cells9. This may be particularly useful in the global fight against malaria.
In addition to Mimosa pudica’s antiparasitic properties, a toxic alkaloid present in the herb, called “Mimosine”, has shown antiproliferative effects on ovarian cancer cells10, suggesting Mimosa pudica’spotential role in fighting some types of cancer. An experiment in 1975 showed that regeneration of damaged nerves was enhanced 30-40% in rats treated with Mimosa pudica11, indicating it may be helpful for victims of spinal cord injury and other types of nerve dysfunction.
1Gandhiraja N, Sriram S, Meenaa V, Kavitha Srilakshmi J, Sasikumar C, and Rajeswari R. Phytochemical Screening and Antimicrobial Activity of the Plant Extracts of Mimosa pudica L. Against Selected Microbes. Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13:618-24, 2009.
5Monimala Mahanta, Ashis Kumar Mukherjee. Neutralisation of lethality, myotoxicity and toxic enzymes of Naja kaouthia venom by Mimosa pudica root extracts. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 75, Issue 1, April 2001, Pages 55-60.
6Ayissi Mbomo R, Gartside S, Ngo Bum E, Njikam N, Okello E, McQuade R. Effect of Mimosa pudica (Linn.) extract on anxiety behaviour and GABAergic regulation of 5-HT neuronal activity in the mouse. J Psychopharmacol. 2011 Mar 22.
7Chinnaperumal Kamaraj, Rahuman Abdul Abdul, Anita Mahapatra, Asokan Bagavan, Gandhi Elango Insecticidal and larvicidal activities of medicinal plant extracts against mosquitoes. Parasitol Res. 2010 Nov107 (6):1337-49.
8 Robinson RD, Williams LA, Lindo JF, Terry SI, Mansingh A. Inactivation of strongyloides stercoralis filariform larvae in vitro by six Jamaican plant extracts and three commercial anthelmintics. West Indian Med J. 1990 Dec:39(4):213-7.
9Marimuthu S, Rahuman AA, Rajakumar G, Santhoshkumar T, Kirthi AV, Jayaseelan C, Bagavan A, Zahir AA, Elango G, Kamaraj C. Evaluation of green synthesized silver nanoparticles against parasites. Parasitol Res. 2011 Jun;108(6):1541-9. Epub 2010 Dec 22.
10 Restivo A, Brard L, Granai CO and Swamy N. Antiproliferative effect of mimosine in ovarian cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 2005 ASCO Annual Meeting Proceedings. Vol 23, No 16S (June 1 Supplement), 2005: 3200.
11 Prasad GC, Khanna RP, Prakash V, & Udupa KN. Effect of Lajjawanti (Mimosa pudica) on Regeneration of Nerve, Jur. Res. Ind. Med.10: 4, 1975 pp.37-44.
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