Bryophyllum Pinnatum, also known as the Air Plant, Life Plant, Miracle Leaf, and Goethe plant is a succulent plant native to Madagascar, which is a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in temperate regions of Asia, the Pacific and the Caribbean. It is distinctive for the profusion of miniature plantlets that form on the margins of its leaves, a trait it has in common with the other members of the genus Bryophyllum.
Panfuti is an erect, more or less branched, smooth, succulent herb, 0.4 to 1.4 meters in height. Leaves are simple or pinnately compound, with the leaflets elliptic, usually about 10 centimetres long, thick, succulent, and scalloped margins. Plantlets grow along the notches of the leaf margins which can develop while still attached to the plant or when detached, a fascinating characteristic that earns its name. Flowers are cylindric, and pendulous in a large, terminal panicle. The calyx is tubular, cylindric, inflated, brownish or purplish, 3.5 to 4 centimetres long. Corolla is tubular, about 5 centimetres long, inflated at the base, and then constricted, the exserted parts being reddish or purplish and the lobes tapering to a point. The fruit is a follicle with many seeds.
- In open settled areas, thickets, dry second-growth forests, sometimes planted, and locally abundant.
- Prehistoric introduction from tropical Asia or Malaya.
- Also cultivated, flowering from December to March.
- Phytochemical screenings have yielded alkaloids, triterpenes, glycosides, flavonoids, steroids, bufadienolides, lipids, and organic acids.
- Yields arachidic acid, astragalin, behenic acid, beta amyrin, benzenoids, bersaldegenin, beta-sitosterol, bryophollenone, bryophollone, bryophyllin, caffeic acid, ferulic acid, quercetin, steroids, and taraxerol.
- Phytochemical evaluation of leaf extract yielded bryophyllum A, B and C, a potent cytotoxic bufadienolide orthoacetate.
- Bufadienolide has been reported to be poisonous with digitalis-toxicity type cardiac effects (slowing of heart rate, heart blocks and potentially fatal ventricular arrhythmias.
- Bryophillin A, a bufadienolide compound, has shown anti-tumour promoting activity.
- Leaves yield malic acid.
- Leaves are considered astringent, antiseptic, hemostatic, refrigerant, emollient, counterirritant, mucilaginous, vulnerary, depurative, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and tonic.
- Pharmacologic studies have shown pharmacologic properties: immunomodulatory, CNS depressant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti anaphylactic, antileishmanial, anti tumorous, antiulcer, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, febrifuge, gastroprotective, immunosuppressive, insecticidal, sedative, a muscle relaxant.
- Entire plant. May be collected year-round; preferably used fresh.
- Leaves are used as astringent, antiseptic, and counterirritant against poisonous insect bites.
- Pounded fresh material is applied as a poultice for a variety of conditions: Sprains, eczema, infections, burns, carbuncle and erysipelas.
- Leaves, made pliable by holding over the fire, are applied to wounds, bruises, and boils; also, used as poultice or power in bad ulcers.
- The juice is mixed with lard and used for diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and phthisis.
- Pounded leaves are applied as poultices to the soles of the feet to stop haemorrhages.
- Leaves are used as topicals in dislocation, ecchymoses, and callosities.
- Leaves, pounded and mixed with salt, used as plaster and applied to the stomach to relieve enuresis
- For boils, the whole leaf is pressed by hand, to and fro, until it becomes moist with the leaf extract. A small opening is made in the middle of the leaf which is then placed on the boil with a hole over the pointing of the abscess.
- For asthma, leaves of leaves are placed in hot water for 15 minutes, then the juice is squeezed out of the leaves, and drunk.
- Juice of leaves used in bilious diarrhoea and lithiasis.
- In Ayurveda, useful in vitiated conditions of vata and pitta, cuts, wounds, HEMORRHOIDS, menorrhagia, boils, sloughing ulcers, burns and scalds, diarrhoea, dysentery, headaches, vomiting, bronchitis.
- In Puerto Rico, leaf juice used as diuretic.
- Leaves are rubbed or tied on the head for headaches.
- Leaf decoction usually is taken to lower blood pressure.
- Leaf juice is used for earache and ophthalmia.
- In Sierre Leon, cough medicine is made from the roots.
- In Brazil leaves, heated over a fire and mixed with OIL, are used as emollient and refrigerant for facial swelling associated with neuralgia or tooth trouble. Also, used for asthma and bronchitis.
- In Jamaica, leaves are used for coughs and colds. Sometimes, it is mixed with salt or honey, for headaches, colds, bronchial affections, and hypertension. Heated leaves are used for swellings and abscesses.
- In Africa, used for earaches, EYE PROBLEMS, and as a diuretic.
- In China used for rheumatoid arthritis, bruises, burns and ulcers.
- In Nigeria, the plant is considered sedative, wound-healing, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and cough suppressant. Leaf juice is used to treat boils and skin ulcers. The plant is used for intestinal parasites, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
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