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An Intro To Mimosa Pudica

“Nature itself is the best Physician.”

-Hippocrates

 

If you stopped the average person on the street and asked them, “What is Mimosa Pudica?” you might get a blank stare in return. Mimosa Pudica has been used in herbal medicine for thousands of years. Yet only recently has Mimosa Pudica come to the forefront of functional wellness strategies. Expanding research is revealing an ever-increasing list of its unique properties. The health benefits experienced by those who use it have made Mimosa Pudica a front-runner in restoring and maintaining optimum health.

What Is Mimosa Pudica?

 

Mimosa Pudica goes by many names. The “sleepy plant” and “false death plant” type monikers are all due to its bizarre ability to rapidly fold up and droop when touched. Researchers think the Mimosa Pudica plant developed this as a defense mechanism to not get eaten by animals. The leaves typically unfold and perk up a few minutes after folding. This curious feature makes it common in greenhouses as a fascinating novelty. Scientists are enamored with studying the mechanisms of this “smart” plant. The Mimosa Pudica plant can distinguish between sensations. It can swiftly shut its leaves when it senses a threat. But it can “teach” itself to remain open when it rains. (1) They also close when they sense darkness and reopen with light.

How long Mimosa Pudica leaves stay folded (referred to as ‘hiding time’) is a decision that each plant makes individually. Light and environmental factors play a role in if the Mimosa Pudica plant feels safe to let its leaves out. Scientists have studied their behavior extensively and even describe the individual plants as having personalities. (2) Researchers believe that its decision making has to do with its past. Has light or nutrients been scarce in the past? How long has it taken for a predator to no longer be a threat? They learn and gather these bits of information from previous experience. The stimulus to make the plant close is systemic. But the Mimosa Pudica plant is so highly sensitive that the decision to open is localized to each leaf! For example, a damaged leaf can stay in hiding longer while the healthy leaves open. It is, however, in the best interests of the plant to open sooner rather than later since while in hiding, photosynthesis is reduced by 40%. The plants can even respond to each other if one is stimulated to close, it may signal another to do the same. This hiding mechanism uses up a massive amount of energy for the plant. Learning when it is vital to fold enhances this adaptation of the Mimosa Pudica plant even further.

Even though the Mimosa Pudica has developed this fantastic folding response to avoid getting eaten, it still has a few enemies it can’t avoid. The Mimosa webworm and the Spider mite encase the tender Mimosa Pudica leaves in webs. These webs prevent the leaves from folding properly and hinder photosynthesis.

Where Does Mimosa Pudica Grow?

Mimosa Pudica grows in most warm climates including India, South Asia, Australia, and parts of The Americas. Mimosa Pudica cannot live in colder climates because it is sensitive to frost. It has grown so well in some areas, countries like Australia have declared it to be a weed needing to be controlled. The Mimosa Pudica plant is an annual or perennial part of the Legume family of plants. It is not tolerant to shade. High temperatures are what stimulates Mimosa Pudica seed to end its dormancy and begin to germinate. (3) The soil temperature needs to be around 80 F/27 C for 10-15 days. It can thrive in low nutrient soils and has adapted to harsh growing conditions where water is minimal. Mimosa Pudica will not compete with other plants for nutrients and can be found in eroded areas where other plants are not growing. A component in Mimosa Pudica called Mimosine helps the plant to overcome selenium deficient soil. (4)

The Mimosa Pudica plant is very proliferative! They can flower all year round and produce an estimated 675 seeds per year. They are both wind and bee-pollinated.

Mimosa Pudica Plant vs Mimosa Pudica Seed: What’s The Difference?

Analysis of the entire Mimosa Pudica plant has revealed powerful antioxidant properties in every part of it. The leaves have the most, and the stems have the least. (5) All parts of the plant had flavonoids and phenolics which scavenge for free radicals. This reduces oxidative stress in our tissues and slows the aging process and can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Besides potent antioxidant activity, Mimosa Pudica has other health benefits like:

  • Antibacterial
  • Liver protective properties 
  • Anti-cancer
  • Antidiabetic properties   

Mimosa Pudica extracts can potentially counteract histamine. A study revealed that it may inhibit your mast cells from degranulation (the cells that release histamine) by 74% in the lungs. (6) Mimosa Pudica may be very useful to treat your asthma and allergies because of its antihistamine properties. People in India were mixing Mimosa Pudica with honey and using it for this very purpose long before the science caught up with herbal tradition. (7) It also has wound healing properties and has been applied topically or taken internally for hundreds of years.

 

The more the leaves and seeds are studied, the more amazing benefits seem to emerge. The leaves were analyzed for their antiviral activity and were found to inhibit the mumps virus completely. (8) Mimosa Pudica can have a positive influence on GABA receptors and reduce anxiety. (9) Mimosa Pudica has proven to have powerful antiparasitic activity. It can inactivate Strongyloides larvae in less than an hour. (10) Even though the leaves, stem, and seeds have potential health benefits, the seeds have some unique qualities not found in the leaves.

What Is Mimosa Pudica Seed?

Although the leaves captivate people and scientists alike, it is organic Mimosa Pudica seed that is becoming a prominent part of functional wellness protocols. So why does Mimosa Pudica seed matter? This unique seed is fat soluble and creates mucilage when taken orally. It absorbs water and becomes an almost glue-like substance. This creates a gut scrubbing like action that pulls out toxins, biofilm, parasites, and bacteria. The ‘glue’ is made up of D-glucuronic acid and D-xylose, both of which have significant health benefits to us.

D-glucuronic acid is a sugar acid derived from glucose and is used by the body to form proteoglycans and glycoglycerolipids. These two substances are needed for the formation of:

  • Chondroitin sulfate (in cartilage, bones, skin, the aorta, and connective tissue)
  • Keratan sulfate (in bones, cartilage and the cornea)
  • Dermatan sulfate (in the skin, blood vessels, and the heart)
  • Hyaluronic acid (in connective tissue, cartilage, skin, and synovial fluid)

All these building blocks have one thing in common; they are abundant in connective tissue. Organic Mimosa Pudica seed is abundant in D-glucuronic acid which is what lends to its wound healing properties. Healthy connective tissue is vital to good health since it is spread throughout the body. The gut, for example, is full of connective tissue. Not only will Mimosa Pudica help to clean out the gut; it also gives components to help it repair and strengthen the cells lining the gut. Mimosa Pudica seed reduces inflammation allowing for even more healing to result.

D-glucuronic acid is involved in phase II metabolism. This is the process in which our bodies remove drugs and other substances that are not naturally supposed to be present in the body. Organic Mimosa Pudica seed may help with phase II metabolism that occurs primarily in the liver, by being a source of D-glucuronic acid.

It is possible to deplete the body’s stores of D-glucuronic acid when the body is overwhelmed with multiple drugs or foreign substances. (As well as pesticides, insecticides, and chemicals from plastics) When phase II metabolism isn’t being performed fast enough, organ damage can result, especially in the heart, brain, kidneys, and liver. Mimosa Pudica seed can help with this and aid in protecting your organs.

D-xylose in Mimosa Pudica can help you with the formation of chondroitin sulfate found in your tissues, particularly cartilage. Having a good supply of D-xylose to make chondroitin sulfate can aid in healing your damaged areas. Chondroitin sulfate is anti-inflammatory and may help provide more cushioning for your joints.

Mimosa Pudica Is a Heavy Metal Chelator

You might be tempted to think that Organic Mimosa Pudica seed benefits are limited to the gut since upon ingestion it becomes glue-like. It’s important to know that this isn’t true. Mimosa Pudica seed benefits are systemic, and one very important advantage it provides is heavy metal removal. One study revealed that Mimosa Pudica had the highest rate of arsenic removal from contaminated soil. (11) This experiment has been repeated with the same positive results for lead, tin, zinc, and copper. (12) It seems to do the same in our bodies. Cadmium, for example, was effectively removed from the testes. The Mimosa Pudica also proved to aid in healing the tissue that was affected by the cadmium. (13) Heavy metals can have severely detrimental effects on the human body. They increase inflammation and hinder enzymes from doing their jobs. Inorganic heavy metals can settle in our organs and change our DNA methylation which can raise our chances of cancer. Helping to remove heavy metals with Mimosa Pudica can assist in relieving your body from the extra oxidative stress.

Mimosa Pudica May Help With Diabetes and Insulin Signaling

Type II Diabetes has become an epidemic in recent years. This disorder comes with serious consequences. It is a metabolic disorder in which blood sugar levels cannot be regulated effectively. The body cannot produce enough insulin to keep up with demand. The body also is not using the insulin that is produced effectively. Insulin receptors no longer respond to the hormone. These out of control glucose levels create a massive amount of free radical damage. This can lead to blindness, organ failure, heart disease and amputation of limbs.

Mimosa Pudica can significantly reduce blood sugar levels. Studies reveal there may be over a 50% reduction in fasting glucose. (14) A significant decrease in cholesterol was also recorded, something researchers did not expect. Mimosa Pudica even changed the epigenetic expression of adipose genes. This is a benefit that anti-diabetic drugs aim to provide but at the cost of undesirable side effects. Additionally, it helped to protect the pancreas and increased its responsiveness. Mimosa Pudica was also proven to be safe and non-toxic. Anti-diabetic drugs may have side effects and lose their efficacy over long-term use. They also do not necessarily reduce the likelihood of long-term diabetic complications. Mimosa Pudica is also inexpensive compared with anti-diabetic drugs. (15) All these benefits could make Mimosa Pudica a potent herbal supplement to help control type II diabetes.

Mimosa Pudica Is a Powerful Antioxidant And May Inhibit Cancer

Cancer is a dreaded disease. It affects every age group, gender, and socioeconomic background. Cancer treatment research is growing and ongoing. But finding a successful treatment without serious long-term side effects has proven elusive. Scientists are turning to study plant extracts to hopefully obtain a beneficial treatment without side effects.

Mimosa Pudica is a rich source of flavonoids, catechins, and phenols. These potent anti-inflammatory substances proved to be toxic to cancer cells. Mimosa Pudica prevented them from proliferating. It also disrupted the integrity of the cancer cells, decreased their life, and triggered cell death. (16) It induced cell death by fragmenting the cancer cell’s DNA. Yet Mimosa Pudica is safe and health-promoting of non-cancerous cells. In addition to this, Mimosa Pudica seemed to protect the cells of the liver and kidney in the process of its anti-cancer activity. (17)

Just The Beginning

Mimosa Pudica may not be well known by the average person at the moment. However, research is ongoing. The list of potential health benefits it has for you is steadily growing. Gut healing, heavy metal removal, and diabetic and cancer treatment are just scratching the surface. Those are only a few reasons you should pay attention to this amazing gift from nature. Mimosa Pudica will one day be well known and widely used to maximize your health.  

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