Mukkutti or Biophytumsensitivum is a small plant that belongs to the Oxalidaceae family. Through this commentary, Dr. Rajesh B helps us understand more about the medicinal and ayurvedic properties of this herb.
Mukkutti is commonly known as the Little Tree Plant. This plant is found in the wetlands of Nepal, South India and other parts of Asia. In some areas, this plant grows in the shape of a tiny coconut tree and is therefore also called ‘NilamTengu’. This little herb is widely used in Nepal and India for its medicinal properties.
Scientific Name: Biophytum Sensitivum
Habitat: Perennial herb
Native to Nepal, India, Tropical Asia and Tropical Africa
Growing Ease: Requires a little extra care
Temperature: 60-85°F, 16-29°C
Soil: Loose moist soil rich in humus
Humidity: Medium humidity
Lighting Needs: Grows best in bright indirect light
Climate: Tropical, Subtropical
English: Sikerpud, Better Stud, Little Tree Plant
Sanskrit – Alambusha, Jalapushpa, Peethapushpa, Samanga, Krithanjali
Hindi – Lajalu, Lajjalu, Lakhshana, Laksmana, Alm Bhusha, Zarer
Tamil – Nilaccurunki, Tintanali
Kannada: Hara Muni, Jalapushpa
Marathi: Jharera, Lajwanti
Tamil: Nilaccurunki, Tintaanaalee , Nilam Tengu
Telugu: Attapatti, Chumi, Jala Puspa, Pulicenta
Malayalam: Mukkutti, Nilam Thengu
The Little Tree Plant grows up to a maximum of 20 cm and possesses an unbranched woody and erect stem.
The Little Tree Plant has pinnate leaves with each having around 8 to 17 pairs. Each leaflet is up to 1.5 cm long and can reach a maximum length of 5cm. The pair at the end of the leaf is generally the largest.
The flowers are many and crowded at the apices of the numerous peduncles. The colours of these flowers are generally yellow, white or orange with a red streak in the center of each of the five petals. The sepals are subulate-lanceolate, striate, and about 7 mm long.
Fruits are ellipsoid capsules which are shorter than the persistent calyx.
Biophytum sensitivium Linn has the following medicinal properties.
- Immunomodulatory actions
- Anti-diabetic properties
- Chemoprotective abilities
- Antioxidant defense mechanism
- Cardioprotective properties
- Wound healing action
- Anti-metastatic qualities
- Anti-inflammatory qualities
- Antitumor activities
- Controls Angiogenesis
- Induction of apoptosis or cell death
The above properties of this herb have been put to use since time immemorial in various Ayurvedic and folklore preparations in the sub-continent. The flowers of this herb are included in the Dasha Pushpam – Ten holy flowers which are used in temples for offerings. Mukkutti is also used in Ganapathy homa and hence the protection of this multi-dimensional holy herb was made possible by linking to the ritual proceedings.
Medicinal uses of Mukkutti
Mukkutti has been used in traditional folk medicine to treat numerous diseases. These include:
- Mukkutti is used as a tonic and stimulant
- It is used for chest complaints, convulsions, cramps, and inflammatory tumors.
- A decoction made with the herb’s ashes and mixed in lime juice is given as a cure for stomach ache.
- The leaves and roots of this plant are styptic and are therefore used to treat various bleeding diseases.
- Consuming a decoction made by adding a well-grinded leaf in buttermilk is a good treatment for individuals suffering from dysentery.
- It offers a natural cure for treating hemorrhoids. An omelet prepared using duck egg, coconut, mukutti leaves, and coconut oil is very effective in stopping the bleeding.
- A decoction made from the leaves of Mukkutti is given to control diabetes,asthma, and phthisis.
Apart from these uses, Mukkutti is also used to treat Arthralgia, Arthritis, Back Pain, Bone Spur, Bursitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Cervical Spondylosis, Degenerative Joint Disease, degenerative Neck Disease, Fibromyalgia, Leg Cramps, Leg pains, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Sprains, Stiff Neck, Tendonitis and Tennis Elbow in Ayurveda.
Mukkutti and Varicocele
Mukkutti herb is very useful in treating Varicocele. For an effective remedy, 30gms of the whole plant needs to be boiled in 300ml of water for 40 minutes. The liquid should then be strained, cooled and consumed twice daily for 180 to 240 days to gain complete relief from this ailment. A paste made with Lingzhi mushroom (Ganoderma) mixed with water and applied externally over the scrotum for thirty minutes can help relieve the pain and swelling brought about by varicocele. The extracts of Mukkutti are now available in capsule form and two 500mg capsules can be taken twice daily after food for 90- 180 days.
Mukkutti for Women’s health
Mukkutti is also used for treating menorrhagia (heavy bleeding) that has become a common occurrence among women. To treat menorrhagia, three whole plants are taken, crushed and mixed with goat’s milk to form a paste. This should be then taken on an empty stomach in the early morning to gain relief. Mukkutti is also an important element in traditional post-partum care in Kerala. It is used to contract the uterus and clean the internal environment safely. Mukkutti mixed with rice bran is given to new mothers to get rid of abdominal colic.
Thus, Mukkutti is a very common plant in the Indian subcontinent and its medicinal values are wellknown to older generations. The presence of folklore medical knowledge helps to treat various diseases safely without the need for hospitalization thus saving our time and money. Unfortunately,the knowledge is vanishing day-by-day and this could have been done intentionally. It is, therefore, a necessity to preserve the heritage of a culture in its totality to ensure the healthy wellbeing during the golden age for the coming generations. Ayurveda and its heritage should be preserved to give comfort to ailing generations and offer a side-effects free medical aid in this world of iatrogenic diseases.
Dr. Rajesh B
Dr. Rajesh B is the co-founder and chief consultant of ayurvedaforall.com. He is a graduate from Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda College (affiliated to University of Calicut), Kerala, India.
He also holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Yoga Therapy from Annamalai University and a Masters degree in Business Administration from Mahatma Gandhi University.
In addition to his Ayurvedic practice, he is the chief editor of ayurveda-amai.org, the online portal of Ayurveda Medical Association of India and also serves as the State Committee member of Ayurveda Medical Association of India
Dr.Rajesh is a regular speaker at Ayurveda related conferences and has visited Germany to propagate Ayurveda.