Sensitive plant is not too commonly used in Ayurveda today, though it is described in the ancient texts. However, it has been a favorite of Vaidya Mishra's family tradition of Shaka Vansya Ayurveda for the past 5000 years. Vaidya Mishra uses it in many of his products, listed below.
The Sanskrit name of sensitive plant is lajjalu, which literally means "shy all the time." The Latin name is mimosa pudica.
Bhava Prakash describes sensitive plant, which is sometimes called touch-me-not, as having a similar leaf to the tamarind tree (swacchamipatra). It is also described as samanga (beautifully proportioned, with very evenly distributed leaves and stems).
It is also sometime called namaskari (the plant which folds its hands as if in prayer), according to Bhava Prakash. The base stems are red in color (raktapadi) and are sometimes used as a substitute for khadir in Indian pan.
You can see a video of a living sensitive plant reacting to touch here. It closes its leaves immediately when touched.
Vaidya Mishra's family has been using sensitive plant to nourish the nervous tissue for millennia. There is an interesting correlation between form and function here: the nerves are very sensitive tissues in the body, and sensitive plant is the herb which nourishes them.
An example of nerve damage which Ayurveda sometimes treats with sensitive plant is damage to the myelin sheaths in the case of multiple sclerosis. This disease, according to Ayurveda, is most often the result of chronically high levels of amavisha (reactive toxins) in the body.
When these toxins penetrate to the deepest levels of the body, including majja dhatu which governs nervous tissues, they can create ulcers on the nerves destroying the myelin sheaths.
Sensitive plant is often used in the latter stages of Vaidya Mishra's treatment protocols once the causes of amavisha have been addressed and the level of toxicity in the body has been slowly reduced. Sensitive plant is then used to help regenerate the myelin sheaths of the wounded nerves.
This approach to nourishing the nerves has never been tested scientifically, and is based soley on the ancient texts and Vaidya Mishra's 5000 year old tradition. This knowledge is not a substitute for modern medical care. Please consult with your physician before using any herb like sensitive plant, especially in the case of a diagnosed disease.
Bhava Prakash says that sensitive plant is yonirogan vinashayet (able to help problems of the reproductive organs in women). This is especially true for disorders which occur due to low estrogen levels, aging, or lack of sufficient bone marrow.
The bone marrow (majja dhatu) is closely related to nerves in Ayurveda. When the nerves are not getting nourished properly (sometimes due to amavisha in the nervous tissue), certain female disorders can result, including muscular atrophy in the vaginal wall.
By giving nourishment to the nervous tissues, these female disorders can sometimes be reversed. Vaidya Mishra uses sensitive plant in his Kamini Transdermal Cream and Kamini Herbal Memory Nectar for this purpose.
Sensitive plant is good for reducing kapha and pitta. It is cooling (sheetala), bitter (tikta) and astringent (kashaya). These properties help with hemorrhaging due to excess toxins in the blood (raktapitta) and also help to slow diarrhea (atisara).
In this nine minute audio lecture by Vaidya Mishra, you will be able to follow along as he reads the Sanskrit verses from Bhava Prakash. You will learn the Sanskrit words used to describe this plant and will gain an understanding of the basic properties and uses of sensitive plant.
When you download the zip file for this section of the course (and unzip it using a free unzip program like 7-Zip), you will find a PDF file (which can be opened with the free Adobe Reader) and an MP3 file (which can be played on any MP3 player such as iPod or iTunes). You can listen to the audio alone, but for the first time through (at least), we recommend that you follow along with the PDF document to make sure that all of the concepts are clear. The PDF's sometimes contain visual diagrams in addition to the Sanskrit verses. If you learn visually, reading along with the PDF will be helpful.
We also recommend reviewing the PDF, and re-listening to the MP3 file many times, so that you begin to recognize the knowledge and own it. These MP3 files are especially good to put on your MP3 player so you can listen in the car. Just as it is easy to remember songs you hear over and over on the radio, you will find that the knowledge in these lectures will stick to you with no effort when you hear them over and over. You will also find that your understanding of the material deepens each time you hear them.
Sensitive plant is used as a secondary ingredient in the following products.
This product and statements have not been evaluated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are not intended to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All of the information above is intended to be used for educational purposes only and may not be used to replace or compliment medical advice.