Monday, 20 September 2010

Mirabilis jalapa or clavillia: Broad spectrum properties of four o’ clock plant


By Syed Akbar

Mirabilis jalapa or clavillia is a broad spectrum herbal plant, whose medicinal properties range from fighting fungi to bacteria. Since the flowers of Mirabilis jalapa 
open at around 4 pm, it is popularly called Four O’ Clock plant. Mirabilis jalapa has always been the favourite of geneticists as the sudden change in colour and pattern of its flowers throw light on genes and mutations.
The Four O Clock plant, originally a native of the Andes mountains in South America, was introduced to India about 400 years ago. Since then it has become a part of the 
traditional Indian systems of medicine, particularly Unani and Ayurveda. The leaves and the root of the plant are used in herbal medicines. The seeds of Mirabilis jalapa are avoided as they are considered to be poisonous. Herbal preparations obtained from the Four O Clock plant are contraindicated for pregnant women, as certain alkaloids present in the plant may lead to miscarriage.
Several scientific studies carried out on the efficacy of Mirabilis jalapa show that the 
plant extracts fight fungal and bacterial infections on the skin, besides treating 
problems like dysentery, diarrhoea and stomach pain. It has anti cancer properties too.
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Home remedies
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Herbal extracts obtained from the leaves of Mirabilis jalapa can be applied externally to 
treat skin problems caused by fungi or bacteria. Ayurveda and Unani doctors recommend it 
for viral infections too. It is especially good for Candida and yeast infections. Take a 
few fresh leaves of the plant, wash them and grind them in a mixer. The paste thus 
obtained can be used for skin infections, externally.
The root of Mirabilis jalapa can be consumed as a general body toner and to keep the 
stomach and the bowel system in good condition. Dry the root under sun. Powder it and 
keep it aside in a clean and dry bottle. Take a tablespoon of this powder and mix it with 
the atta (wheat flour) while preparing rotis or parathas.
Clavillia powder is available in the market and it may be used as indicated by the 
manufacturer to fight problems like stomach ache or bower discomfiture. It aids digestion.
Infusion obtained from the leaves and root of Mirabilis jalapa may be used to fight 
parasites.
Externally, the leaves can be applied on the wounds for natural healing.


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