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 medicinalproperties 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 hasalways been the favourite of geneticists as the sudden change in colour and pattern ofits flowers throw light on genes and mutations. The Four O Clock plant, originally a native of the Andes mountains in South America, wasintroduced 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 andthe root of the plant are used in herbal medicines. The seeds of Mirabilis jalapa areavoided as they are considered to be poisonous. Herbal preparations obtained from theFour O Clock plant are contraindicated for pregnant women, as certain alkaloids presentin 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. ---------------- Home remedies ---------------- 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.