LAJJALU (Mimosa pudica)
The plant response to touch. This sensitive response of the leaves to touch is aptly called as touch me not plant. The medicinal use of the plant dates back to Caraka and Susruta. There is mention of numerous properties of the plant in various ancient Ayurvedic texts like raktapittabara alleviate bleeding, sophahara reduces edema, yonirogahara – ameliorates vaginal diseases, atisaraghna – anti-diarrhoeal, kusthahara – anti – dermatoses etc. Maharishi Caraka has categorized it as sandhaniya - properties of the plant in various ancient Ayurvedic texts like raktapittabara alleviate bleeding, sophahara reduces edema, yonirogahara – ameliorates vaginal diseases, atisaraghna – anti-diarrhoeal, kusthahara (anti-dermatoses) etc. Maharishsi Caraka has categorized it as sandhaniya – a healing herb and purisa sangrahaniya – gives form to the faeces. It has few synonyms like samanga, samipatra, raktapadi, namaskari etc.
The plant grows widely as a rapidly growing shrub throughout India, in warm and humid regions. A diffuse prickly shrub, 30-120 cm in height. There are long brittle bristles and small thorns on its stem and branches. The sensitive leaves are digitately compound, with 10-20 pairs of leaflets. The flowers are mauve to pink, in globose heads. The fruits, bristly pods, 1-1.5 cm long, flat, consisting of 3-5 seeds. The plant flowers in rainy season and fruiting occurs in winter.
The botanical name of lajjalu is Mumosa pudica and it belongs to Mimosaceae family. Several studies have shown several biochemical substances involved in the contractility of the leaves. An alkaloid, mimosine has been isolated from the plant. The root extract contains 10% tannin, ash, calcium oxalate crystals and mimosine. An adrenaline like substance has been identified in the leaf extract. The mucilage of seeds contains galactose and mannose in ratio of 1:1 (Indian Drugs 1977, 15, 39). A new chemonastic compound-m-LMF 5-isolated and characterized as 4-0 (3, 5- dihydroxybenzoic acid) glucoronide and its structure also confirmed.
Lajjalu is astringent and bitter in taste, pungent in the post digestive effect and has cold potency. It alleviates kapha and pitta doshas. It possesses light and dry attributes. It is anti-diarrhoeal as well as stool-binding. It is used in the diseases like diarrhea, vaginal diseases and raktapitta.
The roots of lajjalu have great medicinal value. The seeds, leaves, roots and the whole plant are used for medicinal purpose. Externally, the paste of roots is applied on piles. The juice of leaves is useful in vaginal diseases, as a topical application. Being styptic and a wound healer, it is extremely beneficial in wounds and ulcers, fistula, scrofula, hydrocele, conjunctivitis etc. The whole plant is used externally for edema, rheumatism and myalgia.
Internally, lajjalu is used in vast range of diseases. It is popular mainly for its styptic property, with which it promptly arrests the bleeding in ailments like hemorrhoids, haemoptysis in tuberculosis, menorrhagia, ulcerative colitis, dysentery and raktapitta. As it promotes the healing (sandhaniya) it is rewarding in the healing of fractures and deep muscular wounds. It arrests the bleeding as well as wards off the edema and boosts the healing process. The seeds have remarkable aphrodisiac property, hence used in sexual debility with great benefit. The decoction of the roots renders excellent results in urinary ailments, especially, vesicular calculi. The powder of the leaves, combined with milk is recommended in bleeding piles. The juice of its leaves is salutary in whooping cough, whereas their decoction is benevolent in diarrhea. The juice of the leaves of lajjalu and mundi is recommended as a panacea for viral hepatitis and cervical adenitis.
- Lajjalu svarasa
- Visagarbha taila etc.