Sensitive plant – proven benefits, uses

sensitive-plant-benefits-usesThe scientific name of the Sensitive plant is Mimosa pudica Linn. It is also known as Bashful mimosa, Humble plant, Shame plant, Tickle-Me plant, and Touch-me-not.

Other names include

BENGALI: Laajak, Lajjavathi.
CHINESE: Pa chou cao, Zhi xiu cao, Hu he cao, Han xiu cao.
DANISH: Almindelig mimose.
DUTCH: Kruidje-roer-me-niet.
FINNISH: Tuntokasvi.
FRENCH: Mimeuse commune, Mimeuse pudique, Sensitive.
GERMAN: Gemeine Mimose, Sinnpflanze.
HINDI: Chuimui, Lajaalu, Lajjavanthi, Lajouni.
SANSKRIT: Khadiraka, Lajjalu, Namaskaar, Namaskaari, Raktapaadi, Samangaa, Shamipatra.
SPANISH: Dormidera, Sensitiva, Vergonzosa.
TAMIL: Tottalavaadi.
TELUGU: Attaapatti.

Sensitive plant  is a diffusely spreading, half-woody herb, with branched stems up to 1 meter long, sparingly prickly with numerous deflexed, bristly hairs. The leaves are very sensitive, both pinnae and leaflets, folding when touched. Pinnae are usually 4, digitately arranged at the end of each petiole, and 4 to 9 centimeters long. The leaflets are narrowly oblong, inequilateral, 1 to 1.5 centimeters long, sessile, sparingly bristly, with pointed tips. Heads are long-peduncled, solitary or 2 to 3 in each axil, about 1 centimeter in diameter. Pods are flat, slightly recurved, 1 to 2 centimeters long, with 3 to 5 one-sided joints that fall away on maturity. Florets are red in the upper part with pink to lavender filaments.


– Seed contains a toxic alkaloid, mimosine, a non-protein alpha-amino acid, known to cause hair loss and depressed growth in mammals (an unlikely event in humans as this will require unusually large doses).

– Roots yield flavonoids, phytosterol, alkaloids, amino acids, tannins, glycoside, fatty acids.

– Leaf extract have yielded an adrenaline-like substance.

– Seeds contain a mucilage composed of d-xylose and d-glucoronic acid, yielding 17% greenish yellow fatty oil.

– Plant contains (1) tubulin with an ability to bind colchicene with its sulfhydryl groups. (2) crocetin dimethyl ester.

– Plant yields turgorine.

– Leaves and stems reported to contain the alkaloid mimosine; leaves yield mucilage; the roots yield tannins.

– Proximate composition showed a moisture content of 9.67% ±0.15, protein 8.37% ± 0.15, fat 1.43% ±0.01, ash 3.57% ±0.06, crude fiber 3.30%, carbohydrate 73.7%. Vitamin analysis yielded ascorbic acid 13.5 mg/100g, thiamine 0.60, riboflavin 1.10, and niacin 0.40.

– Methanolic extract of leaves yielded terpenoids, flavonoids, glycosides, alkaloids, quinines, phenols, tannins, saponins, and coumarins.

Medicinal properties of touch me not plant

– Considered expectorant, anti asthmatic. analgesic, antispasmodic, alterant, sedative and antidepressant.

– Roots are bitter, astringent, acrid, alexipharmic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, constipating, cooling, diuretic, emetic, febrifuge, resolvent, vulnerary.

– Leaves are bitter, sudorific, tonic.

– Emetic effect attributed to mimosine.

– Studies have suggested antibacterial, antivenom, antifertility, antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and aphrodisiac properties.

Leaflet movement physiology

• The leaflets fold together in the early evening and reopens at sunrise. It is called bashful or sensitive because the leaflets fold together on touching, warming and shaking. The phenomenon is called seismonastic movement due to a rapid change in turgor pressure and changes in membrane permeability in the pulvini cells in the leaf regions with rapid movement of calcium ions. At night, the leaves also fold and bend, termed nyctonastic movements (reaction to absence of light).

• When the leaflets fold together on touching, they reopen in about 10 minutes.

• Seismonastic Movement / Actin Cystoskeleton: Study showed fragmentation of actin filaments occurring during bending was involved in the regulation of movement. The effect of phosphatase inhibitors on the actin cytoskeleton affects dynamic reorganization of actin filaments and causes the seismonastic movement.

Parts utilized

Whole plant, leaves, roots.


– In the Philippines, roots used as diuretic; also used for dysentery and dysmenorrhea.

– Entire plant in decoction used as alterant and antiasthmatic.

– Root considered aphrodisiac, and used for bladder gravel and similar urinary complaints.

– Decoction or infusion of leaves used in asthma; expectorant.

– Used for hypertension, menorrhagia, glandular swelling, sore throat and hoarseness.

– Powdered seeds applied to wounds and sores.

– Bruised leaves applied to bruises.

– Decoction of leaves used for diabetes.

– Powdered roots and leaves taken with milk for piles and fistula.

– Juice applied externally to fistulous sores.

– Poultice of leaves for glandular swellings.

– Leaves and roots used for piles and fistula.

– Used as antifertility agent in some parts of India.

– 1:1 ethanol water extract used for pain relief.

– Seeds used a coffee substitute

– In China, used for treatment of anxiety and depression.

– In Ayurveda, used as antiasthmatic, aphrodisiac, analgesic and antidepressant; also used in diseases associated with corrupted bile and blood, bilious fever, piles, jaundice, leprosy, ulcers, and small pox.

– In India, used for birth control.

– In Ayurveda, root is used as vulnerary, and for the treatment of leprosy, dysentery, vaginal and uterine complaints, inflammation, asthma, fatigue, and blood diseases. In the Unani system, decoction of root is used as a gargle to reduce toothache. (52)

– In the Antiles, Guiana, and La Reunion, roots used vomitive.

– In Indo-China, seeds used as emetic.

– In Mexico, used to alleviate depression.

– In Punjab and Cashmere, seeds used for sore throat.

– In Concan, paste of leaves applied to hydrocoeles and glandular swellings.

– Infusion of leaves used for dysentery; also as bitter tonic.

– Roots used for leucoderma, vaginopathy, metropathy, ulcers, dysentery, inflammations, jaundice, asthma, small pox, strangury, fevers.

– Leaves used for hydrocoele, hemorrhoids, fistula, scrofula, conjunctivitis, wounds and hemorrhages.

– Whole plants used for bladder calculi; externally, for edema, rheumatism, myalgia and uterine tumors.

– Whole plant, crushed, used for itching and scabies.

– In Malaysia, root decoction drunk as tonic; pounded leaves applied as poultice on body swellings. (48)

Scientific proven health and beauty benefits of sensitive plant


Study showed antimicrobial activity against Aspergillus fumigatus, Citrobacter divergens and Klebsiella pneumonia.


Ethanolic extracts activity against B. subtilis, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, A. flavus and T. rubrum. The antimicrobial activity was attributed to the presence of active constituents like alkaloids or tannins.


Study showed intraperitoneal use of Mimosa pudica decoction protected mice against pentylentetrazol and strychnine-induced seizures.

• Plant extracts showed the plant to be a moderate diuretic, depressed duodenal contractions (similar to atropine), promoted nerve regeneration and reduce menorrhagia.

• Also shown to have antidepressant activity.

Antifertility Studies:

Studies on the root extract of M. pudica showed antifertility effect with prolongation of the estrous cycle and disturbance of the secretion of gonadotropin hormones in albino mice.

Antitoxin / Sea Snake Venom:

A study in India screened several herbal plants for antivenin activity against common sea snake venom Enhydrina schistosa, the most toxic among the common sea snakes. The investigation showed antivenom activity in the alcoholic extract of Mimosa pudica, Mucuna pruriens, and Andrographis paniculata.


Study on the aqueous extract of dried roots of Mimosa pudica showed significant inhibitory effect on Naja naja and Bangarus caerulus venoms.

Antitoxin / Venom Neutralizing:

Of 17 plants screened, only M pudica showed 100% ability in neutralizing venom lethality. Study showed the potential use of M pudica as an antivenom agent of plant origin against five poisonous snake venoms found in Malaysia.

Two new C-glycosylflavones from Mimosa pudica:

Two new C-glycosylflavones were isolated from the whole plant of Mimosa pudica, and their structures were determined as 6,7,3?,4?-tetrahydroxyl-8-C-[?-l-rhamnopyranosyl-(1 ? 2)]-?-d-glucopyranosyl flavone (1), 5,7,3?,4?-tetrahydroxy-8-C[?-d-apiose-(1 ? 4)]-?-d-glycopyranosyl flavone (2).


Study isolated Fonsecaea from the thorns of M pudica and suggests it could be a natural source of infection for the fungus Fonsecaea pedrosoi.

Seed Mucilage / Sustained-Release Excipient:

Study showed the dissolution profile from formulation containing mucilage to drug in the proportion of 1:40 was found to be similar to the commercial sustained-release formulation of diclofenac.


Study suggests that M pudica produces antidepressant effect in rats with a profile similar to two tricyclic antidepressants.

Mimosine / Anti-Malarial:

Mimosine found to be an iron chelator acting on malarial bugs by preventing the replication of cells.


Mimosine also causes apoptosis and studied for treating ovarian cancer and other highly vascularized tumors.


The Anthelmintic effect of Makahiya (Mimosa pudica) leaves Extract in Native Chicken (Gallus domesticus) naturally infected with Gastro-intestinal Parasites (Thesis)

Anti-Hepatotoxic / Antioxidant:

Study showed the co-administration of Mimosa pudica aqueous extract significantly lowered the level of lipid peroxidation in alcohol-fed mice.


Mimosa pudica is one of eight medicinal plants in an Ayurvedic herbal formulation, Ilogen-Excel, showing antihyperglycemic effect in STZ-induced diabetic rats.


(1) Study showed Mimosa pudica extract possess nerve-regenerative potential in rats with sciatic nerve injury.

(2) In rats with experimentally injured sciatic nerves, nerve regeneration was 30-40% higher in rats treated with M. pudica extract than the hydrocortisone treated group.

Antidiabetic Activity:

In a study of alloxan-induced diabetic rats, the ethanolic extract of Mimosa pudica showed significant decrease of blood glucose level compared with Metformin as standard drug.

Antioxidant / Antibacterial:

Comparative antioxidant, antibacterial and general toxicity studies on extracts of two Bangladeshi medicinal plants, M pudica and M rubicau, showed both exhibited prominent antioxidant property. While M. rubicaulis did not show any antibacterial activity, M pudica displayed considerable bacteriostatic activity against all six bacterial strains tested – B cereus, B subtilis, E coli, ampicillin-resistant E coli, S aureus and P aeruginosa.

Antinociceptive / Toxicity Studies:

In an acute toxicity study, a single dose of aqueous extract of 2000 mg KBW showed no clinical signs of toxicity or mortality. Study also showed dose-dependent central and peripheral analgesic property.

Hypolipidemic / Leaves:

Study screened a chloroform extract for hypolipidemic activity in hyperlipidemia induced by an atherogenic diet in Wistar albino rats. Results showed significant hypolipidemic effect with lowering of the serum levels of biochemical parameters (lowering of TC, triglycerides, LDL,VLDL) with a significant rise in HDL, similar to standard drug atorvastatin. The extract showed significant protection of the atherogenic index against hyperlipidemia. Biologically active phytoconstituents such as flavonoids, glycosides, and alkaloids may be responsible for the hypolipidemic effect.

Tannins / Antivenom:

Study showed tannins obtained from M. pudica was better than tannic acid in neutralizing the lethality of N. kaouthia venom in vitro. Results suggest M. pudica has a potential for treating N. Kaouthia snakebites.

Wound Healing:

(1) Study of the methanolic extract exhibited good wound healing activity, an effect attributable to phenol constituents.

(2) Study of shoot and root extracts showed good wound healing activity when compared to standard drug Gentamicin.

(3) In an incision wound model, topical application of chloroform and methanolic root extracts showed wound-healing activity with a significant rise in breaking strength, dry weight, and hydroxyproline content of the granulation tissue.

Hepatoprotective / Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Toxicity:

Study evaluated the hepatoprotective effect of a methanolic extract of leaves of M. pudica in carbon tetrachloride induced liver damage in wistar albino rats. Results showed significant hepatoprotective effect with lowering of biochemical parameters and confirming histopathological changes. Results were comparable to standard hepatoprotective drug Silymarin. Effects may be due to active phytoconstituents flavonoids, glycosides, and alkaloids.

The oral administration of crude powder of Mimosa pudica showed hepatoprotective activity of M. pudica on experimentally induced carbon tetrachloride hepatotoxic rats.


Evaluation in rats of extracts of M. pudica for anti-ulcer activity in ulcer models — aspirin, alcohol, and pyloric ligation — showed the alcoholic extract to significantly decrease the volume of gastric acid secretion, PH, free acidity and ulcer index.

Homeophathic Mother Tinctures:

Study showed significant differences in samples of mother tinctures. Alcohol content influenced the viscosity of tinctures.

Antioxidant Activity:

Study evaluated the total flavonoid (TF) and total phenolic (TP) contents of ethanol extracts of whole plant, stem, leaf, and seed. Results showed the leaf extract with the highest amount of TF and TP, Results suggested Mp could be a potential rice source of natural antioxidants.


Study evaluated the in vitro antioxidant effect of an ethanolic extract of Mimosa pudica against free radical damage by different assay methods (DPPH, NO, ABTS, and H2O2). Results showed potent activity on Nitric Oxide and DPPH, compared to ascorbic acid and rutin as standards.


Study evaluated nootropic effects in both acute and chronic models of amnesia induced by scopolamine and AlCl3. Results confirmed nootropic (cognition enhancement) activity of EEMP, attributed to flavonoids and its antioxidant property.

Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory:

Study evaluated an ethanolic extract for analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Results showed potent antinociceptive action confirming the extract’s central activity. In a carrageenin-induced paw edema model, results clearly demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity.

Antitumor / Glycosylflavones:

Six glycosylflavones isolated from Mimosa pudica were evaluated for antitumor activity. Results showed inhibition on the proliferation of three tumor cells studies, viz. MCF-7, JAR, and N-2 A.

Cytotoxicity / Antioxidant:

Various extracts of different plant parts (aerial parts and root) were screened for in vitro cytotoxicity, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities. The methanolic crude extract of aerial parts showed moderate antioxidant activity. The petroleum ether and methanol crude extract showed potential cytotoxic activities by brine shrimp lethality assay. All crude extracts showed poor or no activity against test organisms.

Mimosine Extraction:

Mimosine, β-[N-(3-hydroxypyridone-4)]-α-aminopropionic acid, occurs in the shoots and stem of Mimosa pudica L. Study describes the extraction of mimosine using leaves, branches, and stems of sensitive plants aged about 4 months. Mimosine solution extracted by 70% ethanol solvent was condensed by releasing ethanol to make drinks. The product contains a variety of amino acids and minerals.

Hypolipidemic / Butter Induced Hyperlipidemia:

Study evaluated the hypolipidemic activity of M. pudica extract n high fat diet induced models of hyperlipidemia in rats. An ethanol extract showed significant hypolipidemic effects with decrease in TC, LDL, Triglycerides, and VLDL, and increase in HDL comparable to standard drug Lovastatin.

Anti-Asthmatic / Roots:

Study evaluated the antiasthmatic activity of aqueous extract of Mimosa pudica on in vitro and in vivo animal models. Results showed anti-asthmatic activity which could to attributed to bronchodilating, antihistaminic (H1-antagonist), mast cell stabilizing properties, suggesting potential in prophylaxis and management of asthma.

Adaptogenic / Nootropic:

Study evaluated the adaptogenic activity of an ethanolic extract of Mimosa pudica in chronic Alzheimer’s model. Results showed significant improvement in memory, observed from test models, viz. morris water maze, radial arm maze. For adaptogenic testing, using Forced swim test, the EEMP showed significant reduction in swimming endurance time. Results suggest the EE at dose of 500 mg/kbw p.o. produces potential changes in chronic Alzheimer’s model and stress.

Suppressive Effects on LPS-Induced Pro-Inflammatory Mediators:

Study isolated fourteen compounds from extract of whole plant. Some compounds were tested for anti-inflammatory effects, viz. ethyl gallate (3), gallic acid (10), caffeic acid (7), L-mimosine (12), jasmonic acid (11), crocin (14) and crocetin (4). The compounds showed anti-inflammatory effects in vivo and in vitro through reduction of LPS-induced pro-inflammatorry mediators.

Pilot Clinical Studies Menorrhagia:

1986 Pilot clinical studies evaluated Mimosa pudica in women with excessive menstrual bleeding. Findings showed promise for further detailed trials in a larger sample size of patients with dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Tolerability of M. pudic was good. Result suggest conventional phase 1 studies with organ function tests, prior to embarking on large scale phase III studies.

Anti-Inflammatory / Leaves:

Study evaluated an ethanolic extract of M. pudica leaves using carrageenan induced paw edema and cotton pellet granuloma testing in albino rats. Results showed significant dose dependent anti-inflammatory effect in acute and chronic phases of inflammation.


Study evaluated the antifungal activity of M. pudica extract against five potentially pathogenic microorganisms: Trichophyton mentagrophyte, T. verrocuson, Microsporum nanum, Aspergillus niger, and A. flavus. Antifungal activity against the isolates increased significantly with concentration. No activity was seen against Aspergillus niger.

ß-Adrenoreceptor Mediated Relaxation of Myometrium:

Study investigated the molecular mechanism of tocolytic activity of methanol extract of M. pudica seeds on isolated uterine strips of pregnant buffaloes. Results showed concentration dependent inhibitory effect on buffalo myometrium, probably through inhibitory ß-receptors. Calcium channels did not seem to regulate the tocolytic effect of the seeds extract.

Antimalarial / Leaves:

Study evaluated the ethanolic extract of leaves of P. niruri and Mimosa pudica for antimalarial activity against Plasmodium berghei infections in mice. The leaf extracts showed significant antiplasmodial activity in all three models of antimalarial evaluation. Phytochemical screening yielded antiplasmodial constituents such as terpenoids, flavonoids, and alkaloids.

Anti-Inflammatory / Free Radical Scavenging:

Study evaluated the in vitro free radical content and anti-inflammatory activity of Mimosa pudica using carrageenan-induced paw edema assay and cotton wool granuloma in rats. Results showed the ethanolic extract of MP possesses potent anti-inflammatory activity possibly due to its free radical scavenging properties. The reference drug was ascorbic acid.

Analgesic / Antiepileptic / / Free Radical Scavenging:

Study of ethyl acetate extract of leaves of Mimosa pudica on rodents showed potent dose dependent analgesic activity by hot plate, tail flick, and acetic acid-induced writhing in rats. Antiepileptic activity was evidenced by significant reduction in the duration of seizures induced by MES and delayed onset of tonic-clonic seizures produced by PTZ and INH. Decreased locomotor activity was assessed through actophotometer, rotarod test, and traction test in mice.

Phytochemical Profiling / Bioactive Compounds:

Study GC-MS study and phytochemical profiling yielded a number of bioactive phytocompounds such as glycerin, phytol, myo-inositol and squalene, all of which possess a wide range of proven therapeutic uses.

Immunomodulatory / Free Radical Scavenging / Flavonoids:

Flavonoid isolated from dried samples of M. pudica exhibited dose dependent enhancement of activity in DPPH and hydroxyl radical scavenging assays. The flavonoids also showed in vitro growth stimulatory effect on isolated normal lymphocytes.


Study evaluated M. pudica for diuretic activity using the lipschitz test. Results showed significant diuretic activity at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kbw by increasing total urine volume and ion concentration of Na, K, and Cl. Furosemide was used as standard drug.

Aphrodisiac / Roots:

Study evaluated M. pudica ethanolic extract of roots for its effect on libido of sexually normal Swiss albino male mice. General libido and potency was compared with standard reference drug sildenafil citrate. Results showed a significant and sustained increase in the aphrodisiac activity of normal male mice, with increased libido and hormone levels of testosterone, without adverse effects.


Tinctures, seeds, extracts in the market.

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