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Mimosa Pudica

  • By Leisha Naja
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Mimosa Pudica

“Touch me not” as I will react, retract. I am sensitive. I am shy. I am humble. And, I have little tiny claws that will sting you. Talking about stings, I am snake bite venom, contain the “God molecule”, will alleviate your depression and anxiety, balance your sexual energy, and then put you to sleep. And, oh, look, I have mystical pink pom pom flowers that cheerlead life. I am considered a toxic weed but I will clean your soil. I maybe a small little plant, but I come with a powerhouse of teachings. And, so beautiful to look at and so mysterious to touch.       

Mimosa Pudica, the humble sensitive plant, seems to hold a very pertinent lesson for us in today’s world. It speaks volumes in it’s tender smallness and yet arcs a lesson for us human’s that we just do not understand it all and perhaps cannot with our mind, alone.  Humility will spawn electrical looking pink circles (pom poms) perhaps a symbol for power in the plant world (cats claw also has the same flowers) 

I recently came across this plant in a local garden with my (almost) 2 year old grand-daughter, Kaya. She made me sit..  She gently touched the leaves beaming with delight as they retracted. "You do it”  she exclaimed!   WOW!  Crazy, she said. Of course I laughed and felt the same intrigue she did. I collected a root cutting and seeds.

Mimosa Pudica, you are a perfect plant for today’s world affairs. And, as plant signatures and names of plants often give away their uses, you whisper a wisdom well beyond your size. Her leaves are fine acacia like. She spreads in waste areas. Her flowers, well, they are pink pom poms!  And, touch her and she’ll react. Poof!

The name Pudica in latin means shy, bashful or shrinking. Well, when you touch the leaves she responds by closing each leaf nodule in a sequential folding. It is the coolest thing ever and it leaves the observer in a sorta pleasant glee. It is also known as the “sensitive” plant. My, with a name like that I think all empaths should meet this plant as it insinuates we have a psychological treasure in this plant that crosses thresholds to eclectic understanding/wisdom. Any plant with this name must be a friend of all empaths. I wonder if it is a medicine for the empaths, especially the shy sensitive ones?

In the Amazon the plant is known as Chami Chami, which means pure, bright, beautiful, fresh, everything's gonna be alright sorta thing. It is made into a tea for treating sleep disorders. I suppose things are alright in dream world. Women soak the leaves in the juice pressed from the roots and smear the resulting juice between their breasts and on the soles of their feet. They claim that this gives them "increased sexual power”. Considering this, it is no wonder that it is also use as snake bite venom. A water extract of the roots has shown significant neutralizing effects on the lethality of the venom of the cobra.   

In Quechuan, it is know as Punyo-Sisa (Sisa I found out is  slang for “yes”) and its’ leaves are placed in the pillows of elders and children, again, as a sedative and sleeping agent. In Brazil, the plant is called Jurema and is used as an ingredient in the initiatory drink of ceremony. It is claimed to contains 5-Methoxy-N,N-dimethyltryptamine (5-MeO-DMT; also known as ‘5-MeO-DMT) which is the same compound found in’ ‘Toad’ medicine (Bufo-alvarius toad venom). While DMT is the Spirit Molecule, 5-MeO-DMT is considered ‘The God Molecule’. Psychoactive, snakes and toads, oh my!   

In the Philippines, Mimosa pudica is regarded as an aphrodisiac for frigid women and men. For women, they pick and boil the leaves. Apparently, just as the leaves fold together when picked, they open up again when boiled and the opened leaf is a symbol for the vagina when it is open for sexual activity.  

In India, the leaves are chewed and the resulting mush is spread into the fresh wounds to stop bleeding. In Nicaragua it is used for stomach aches, 'cleaning the womb', to stop menstruation and for gonorrhea. In Mexico is it know as: "Dormilona" and translated means "Sleepy head”. The root is used as a temporary birth control... Mimosa is known by a lot of names.

And, finally, Mimosa pudica has shown to produce an antidepressant-like profile similar to two tricyclic antidepressants:  clomipramine and desipramine  - Depression and anxiety are among the world's greatest public health problems. Perhaps this is the connection to the sensitive empaths?

It seems this little shy, bashful, sensitive, pure, bright, beautiful fresh smiling plant is traditionally a very important herb having many important pharmacological activities... analgesic, antidiarrhoeal, anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antimicrobial, hepatoprotective activity, antiasthmatic, anti-ulcer, antioxidant properties with emphasis on antidepressant and anxiolytic activity and it contains the “God Molecule”. WHEW! 

But, the good news doesn’t stop! From a gardening point of view, this shy plant is a nitrogen fixer, which is a vital element for plant growth and reproduction. It has also been tested in phyto-remediation of arsenic polluted soils. Mimosa pudica significantly extracted and bioaccumulated the pollutant out of the soil and into its leaves. It will also extract heavy metals such as copper, lead, tin, and zinc from polluted soils. This allows for the soil to gradually return to less toxic compositions.   

Although this little plant is loaded with medicine for human and nature alike, what intrigues me the most lies in the concept that plants don’t have brains, however, this little plant has a learning and memory capacity. A study done with droplets of water dropping on the plant showed that over time, it learned the water did not harm and therefore it stopped retracting its’ leaves. And, this memory stayed (was not forgotten). (link) Somehow the plant also transferred this “information” to other plants who did not have the experience so neighbours understood too. My question is isn’t memory and learning a cognitive process and intelligence can be described as the ability to solve problems? So, this plant has movement, learning abilities and the ability to communicate. It is theorized this retraction of the leaves is a transfer of minerals... a flash capacity... a charge of minerals. That intrigues me even more! The electrical universe has a lot to reveal to us humans!

There is still a mystery surrounding where and how our human memories are stored. Could it be the same kind of machinery or energy that the Mimosa is utilizing? Is it an invisible electric energy with intelligence? And, as the “lesson” (being water isn’t harmful) was transferred to other plants, is it possible that there is an disembodied intelligence and the presence of a spirit we have yet to fully comprehend?

I agree that humans are special in regards to the fact as we are able to discern and debate.about intelligence. But it’s the quantity, not the quality of intelligence that sets us apart. We do exist on a continuum with the Mimosa, the radish, and the bacterium. 

This little shy plant shares with us that intelligence is a property of life, I believe there is plant intelligence. It’s not like animal intelligence. It is not like artificial intelligence. In fact, I feel like it’s more like a hive or swarm mentality in that each cell or individual part of the plant contributes to the overall intelligence. I believe it is electrical and magnetic. Which is why you can so easily clone plants; the part that was separated has its own “mind” after separation and can grow into a new identical plant. I meet Mimosa Pudica and the mystery just proves to be more amazing.

For one little plant with tiny little pink pom poms to create such a stir as to the questions of what is intelligence and cognitive ability, is it possible that the sensitive mimosa is the perfect plant for empaths? Perhaps the most troublesome and troubling query for all humans is in the “thinking” about life  and what is “consciousness.” We tend to define consciousness as an inward awareness of oneself experiencing reality—“the feeling of what happens”. If so, then we can (probably) safely conclude that plants don’t possess it. But if we define the term “consciousness” simply as the state of being awake and aware of one’s environment—“online,” as the neuroscientists say—then Mimosa Pudica may qualify as conscious beings. And, that changes everything.

We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.

Welcome to my garden Shy Sensitive Plant!

 

About the author:

Leisha has dedicated over 30 years to the gardens and herbal medicines. Her love of plants and their magical offerings has inspired her to create a conservation project in the mountains of southern Ecuador - Magical Forest

 

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