Kataka-taka (Bryophyllum pinnatum) is also known as miracle plant/leaf, air plant, cathedral bells, and leaf of life. The word “kataka-taka” means “marvelous” and this plant really deserves its name due to its amazing characteristics.
Kataka-taka can be easily grown and you don’t need to water it every day. Its leaves are fleshy, thick, and simple or compound in pairs on red stems. Plantlets grow along the notches of the leaf margins which can develop when detached or while still attached to the plant. Its flowers are about 5 cm long, bell-shaped, and yellow or green in color.
Pharmacologic studies have shown healing properties: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, CNS depressant, anti-ulcer, sedative, muscle relaxant, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-allergic, anti-anaphylactic, immunosuppressive, insecticidal, antileishmanial, anti-tumor, antiviral, febrifuge, and gastroprotective.
Its leaves are considered to be anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, astringent, hemostatic, counterirritant, mucilaginous, refrigerant, antiseptic, emollient, vulnerary, tonic, and depurative.
The entire plant can be juiced and used as herbal medicine.
- Antiseptic, astringent, and counterirritant against poisonous insect bites.
- Hold the leaves over a fire and apply it over boils, bruises, or wounds. You can also use it as poultice or power in bad ulcers.
- Pounded fresh leaves are applied for conditions like burns, infections, sprains, and eczema.
- Treat rheumatism, boils, headache, diarrhea, and asthma.
For boils, the whole leaf is pressed by hand until it becomes moist with the leaf extract. Make a small opening in the middle of the leaf. Placed it on the boil with the hole over the pointing of the abscess.
For diarrhea and asthma, place leaves in hot water for 15-20 minutes, then drink the juice squeezed out of the leaves.