Side Effects of Mimosa Pudica

Mimosa pudica, also known as the sensitive plant or touch-me-not, is a creeping annual or perennial herb that is native to South and Central America. The plant is best known for its unique folding leaves that quickly close up when touched. Mimosa pudica has traditionally been used in various herbal medicine systems for a wide range of conditions. Today, mimosa pudica supplements and extracts are gaining popularity as an herbal remedy for various health issues. However, like with any medicinal herb, mimosa pudica may also have potential side effects.

Mimosa Pudica

Mimosa pudica is a small, creeping or trailing herb that can grow up to 1.5 meters in length. The plant has branching stems with thorns and leaves that are finely pinnate with 10-26 leaflets. The leaflets are green and inconspicuous, while the petioles (leaf stalks) are pinkish-red. The most distinctive feature of the sensitive plant is how its leaves will rapidly fold inward and droop when touched or shaken, re-opening minutes later. This unique folding response protects the plant from predators.

The flowers of mimosa pudica are globular, fluffy pink or lavender pom poms made up of many small individual flowers. The plant produces seed pods that contain 3-6 brown seeds. Mimosa pudica propagates easily both through seeds and creeping stems that root at nodes. The sensitive plant thrives in tropical environments and moist soil in full sun to partial shade. All parts of the mimosa pudica plant, including leaves, stems, roots and seeds, have been used medicinally for centuries.

Traditional Medicinal Uses

In traditional Ayurvedic medicine, mimosa pudica has been used for a variety of health purposes, including:

  • Treating dysentery and diarrhea
  • Healing wounds
  • Reducing swelling and inflammation
  • Alleviating jaundice
  • Calming muscle spasms and convulsions
  • Inducing sweating as a cleansing therapy
  • Soothing neurological disorders like epilepsy and insomnia

The Chanca Piedra stone breaker formula used in South America traditionally contains mimosa pudica and is used to treat kidney stones and gallstones as well as urinary tract infections.

In Brazilian herbal medicine, a mimosa pudica tea is used for its antivenom activity for snake bites. The Mayans drank a decoction of the roots as an emetic and purgative. Many other indigenous peoples have used preparations of the plant for a wide range of health issues.

Modern Research on Health Benefits

In recent years, scientists have been studying the chemical constituents and pharmacological activities of mimosa pudica in the lab. Research indicates the plant has a number of beneficial properties and medicinal actions:

  • Antioxidant – High in phenols and flavonoids that neutralize free radicals and prevent oxidative cellular damage. The antioxidants may help protect against chronic diseases.
  • Anti-inflammatory – Mimosa pudica extracts have demonstrated anti-inflammatory abilities comparable to common anti-inflammatory drugs. The compounds may inhibit inflammatory messaging molecules like TNF-alpha and IL-6.
  • Antimicrobial – Shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties against various human pathogens. May help fight urinary tract infections, dysentery and skin infections.
  • Kidney protective – Appears to help dissolve kidney stones and shows protective effects on the kidneys, such as reducing scarring and preventing toxicity.
  • Neuroprotective – Compounds like mimosine and mimonoside have antiepileptic and sedative activities. May help treat seizures, anxiety, insomnia and neurological disorders.
  • Analgesic – Relieves pain in part by inhibiting inflammatory compounds like prostaglandins. Also shown to have local anesthetic abilities.
  • Hepatoprotective – Protects the liver from damage and toxicity. May help treat jaundice and support liver health.
  • Antivenom – Neutralizes snake and scorpion venom. Also acts as an antihistamine to reduce allergic reactions and anaphylaxis.
  • Anti-fertility – Traditionally used as a contraceptive. Appears to have antispermatogenic and abortifacient effects. Should be avoided when pregnant.
  • Wound healing – Accelerates wound closure and stimulates collagen synthesis. Also has antibacterial properties to prevent infection.

Whilemimosa pudica shows much promise in the lab, human clinical trials are still limited. More research is needed to confirm many of its proposed benefits and understand optimal dosing.

Bioactive Compounds

Mimosa pudica contains a variety of beneficial plant compounds that contribute to its medicinal properties, such as:

  • Alkaloids – Mimosa pudica contains unique alkaloids like mimosine, mimosine methylimine, tyraminopyridine, N-methyltryptamine and hordenine. These alkaloids are thought to be responsible for the plant’s sedative and psychoactive effects.
  • Tannins – Abundant tannins give mimosa pudica an astringent action. Tannins likely contribute to its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antivenom and wound healing abilities.
  • Saponins – These soap-like, foaming glycosides have surfactant, antimicrobial and hemolytic activities. Saponins may help treat urinary tract infections.
  • Flavonoids – Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin provide many protective health benefits and support the immune system.
  • Phenolic acids – Gallic acid, syringic acid, vanillic acid and other phenols enhance the antioxidant capacity of mimosa pudica.
  • Terpenes and sterols – Contribute additional anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial actions.

The synergistic combination of these natural compounds give mimosa pudica leaves, roots and stems their therapeutic potency.

Potential Side Effects of Mimosa Pudica

While mimosa pudica has many proposed wellness benefits, it does come with some potential side effects to be aware of:

Digestive Upset

Mimosa pudica has astringent and drying qualities thanks to its abundant tannins. For some people, ingesting mimosa pudica may cause mild digestive upset such as nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea or constipation. Starting with small doses and taking it with food can help minimize GI disturbances. Those with digestive sensitivities should use caution.

Drowsiness

The alkaloids in mimosa pudica have demonstrated sedative effects in research. Use of mimosa supplements may cause drowsiness, fatigue or impaired concentration in some individuals. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery when first using mimosa until you understand its effects.

Pregnancy Risks

Mimosa pudica has contraceptive, abortifacient and antispermatogenic effects according to animal research. For this reason, pregnant women or those trying to conceive should avoid using mimosa pudica.

Blood Thinning Interactions

Due to its astringent tannins, mimosa pudica may have anti-platelet effects and interact with blood thinning medications like warfarin or aspirin. Those on anticoagulant drugs should consult their doctor before using mimosa supplements.

Low Blood Pressure

Compounds in mimosa pudica act as vasodilators to relax blood vessels. This may exacerbate issues with hypotension or low blood pressure in some individuals. Use cautiously if you have this condition.

Hypoglycemia

Mimosa pudica has been found to reduce blood sugar in animal studies. People with diabetes on blood sugar lowering medication could experience additive effects and hypoglycemia. Monitor blood glucose closely when combining mimosa with diabetes medications.

Hallucinogenic Effects

The alkaloids present in mimosa pudica leaves, especially N-methyltryptamine, do have psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties. While rare with typical doses used in supplements, some individuals may experience mind-altering side effects.

Skin Irritation

The tiny thorns on mimosa pudica stems and leaves can cause skin irritation through micro-abrasions for sensitive individuals. Wearing gloves when handling the plant can prevent skin irritation. Contact dermatitis may also occur for those with allergies.

Toxicity at High Doses

While mimosa pudica is considered safe at normal supplemental doses, toxicity can occur if extremely high doses of the raw plant are ingested. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or even paralysis and death have occurred in isolated poisoning incidents. Always follow dosage guidelines.

To minimize risks, start with low doses of high quality supplements from a reputable manufacturer. Avoid excessive intake and consult your doctor before using if pregnant, nursing, on medications, or have a medical condition.

Recommended Dosage

There are currently no standardized dosing guidelines for mimosa pudica supplements. Most supplements contain 250-500 mg of mimosa pudica powder in capsules or tablets. The common dosage recommendations are:

  • Capsules – Take 1-2 capsules (250-500 mg) once or twice per day, or as directed by your healthcare provider.
  • Powder – Mix 250-500 mg (about 1/4 teaspoon) into water, juices, smoothies or teas and drink once or twice daily.
  • Tincture – Use 30-60 drops (1-2 mL) one to three times per day.
  • Tea – Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of dried mimosa pudica leaves and steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink 1-2 cups per day.

When using mimosa for a specific health condition, talk to your doctor to determine the optimal dosage for your needs. Start at the lowest dose and gradually increase over several weeks as tolerated.

Mimosa Pudica Supplements

Mimosa pudica supplements are available in various forms:

Powder

The dried leaves and stems are simply ground into a fine greenish-brown powder. This powder can be encapsulated, added to liquids or pressed into tablets. Be sure the powder is made from the whole herb rather than an extract to access the full spectrum of compounds.

Capsules

Powdered mimosa is commonly put into capsules or tablets for easier dosing convenience. The recommended capsule dosage is generally 250-500 mg taken once or twice per day. Vegans should verify the capsules are plant-based and not gelatin.

Liquid Extracts

Alcohol and water are used to extract the medicinal compounds from the mimosa plant to make tinctures, fluid extracts or essences. Avoid products with artificial flavorings or excessive alcohol. The standard dose is 30-60 drops.

Tea

The dried leaves can simply be steeped in hot water for 5-10 minutes to make a light pink tea. You can also find premade tea bags containing mimosa pudica leaves. Sip 1-2 cups per day for therapeutic effects. Add lemon, honey or milk thistle for flavor.

When purchasing supplements, always choose products from reputable manufacturers who ethically wild-harvest or organically grow their mimosa pudica. This helps ensure a high quality, pure product.

Is Mimosa Pudica Safe?

When used appropriately, mimosa pudica is generally considered safe for most people. The common side effects like digestive upset are usually mild. Clinical toxicity is very rare. However, the following precautions are advised:

  • Avoid use if pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive due to uterine stimulant effects.
  • Don’t combine with blood thinning or diabetes medications due to potential interactions.
  • Start with smaller doses to assess tolerance, especially if you have a sensitive stomach.
  • Monitor for drowsiness or hypoglycemia when first using mimosa supplements.
  • Don’t exceed recommended dosages – toxicity can occur with extremely high amounts.
  • Select high quality supplements from reputable manufacturers.

Also note that while touching the sensitive plant is harmless for most, some people may experience skin redness and itching from the microscopic thorns. Handling the plant with gloves is recommended for sensitive individuals.

Overall, mimosa pudica is considered safe in typical supplemental doses. But due to limited human research, it’s best to exercise some caution and consult your doctor before using mimosa pudica supplements for any health condition.

Mimosa Pudica Health Benefits

Let’s take a closer look at some of the main proposed wellness benefits of mimosa pudica supplements and how they might be useful therapeutically.

Kidney Stone Treatment

Several lines of evidence suggest mimosa pudica may help treat kidney stones and prevent their recurrence. In Ayurveda, it has been used for centuries to dissolve bladder and kidney stones.

Modern research indicates the plant has anti-urolithiatic and diuretic actions. The herb appears to help break down and pass kidney stones while soothing inflammation. This traditional kidney stone remedy may be helpful alongside conventional treatment.

Anxiety and Depression Relief

In animal studies, mimosa pudica extract has demonstrated significant anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects. Researchers believe compounds like mimosine and mimonoside contribute to mimosa’s stress-relieving qualities through interactions with neurotransmitters and serotonin.

A daily mimosa supplement may help provide natural relief for anxious feelings, worry, depression and insomnia without sedative side effects. More clinical studies are underway for confirmation.

Skin Health

Applied topically, mimosa pudica paste or powder may help treat various inflammatory skin conditions thanks to its anti-inflammatory tannins and alkaloids. The extract shows antimicrobial activity against bacteria and fungi like Candida that can colonize the skin.

Mimosa also appears to promote faster wound closure and collagen formation based on animal research. Further studies may support its use for wounds, eczema, acne, psoriasis and fungal infections.

Diabetes Aid

Mimosa pudica has been studied for its anti-diabetic effects. Animal research indicates the plant can help regulate blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity. This is thought to be due to the alkaloids and tannins modulating carbohydrate metabolism pathways.

Supplementing with mimosa pudica may help manage diabetes symptoms. But dosage should be monitored carefully due to its blood sugar lowering effects.

Pain Relief

Through its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesic terpenoids, mimosa shows promise for natural pain relief. The plant compounds appear to inhibit inflammatory factors like TNF-alpha, IL-6, COX-2 and prostaglandins which reduce discomfort.

Mimosa pudica supplements may aid various types of pain such as headaches, muscle aches, arthritis, fibromyalgia or nerve pain. More human studies on mimosa’s pain relieving benefits are still needed.

Liver Support

Mimosa has traditionally been used to treat jaundice and other liver disorders. Preliminary research indicates the herb exhibits hepatoprotective abilities. Mimosa helps reduce liver enzyme levels and prevent toxin-induced liver damage in animal studies.

Supplementing with mimosa pudica may help detoxify and rejuvenate the liver. Combining it with milk thistle shows particular promise for liver health.

Antimicrobial Properties

Extracts of mimosa pudica leaves, stems and roots demonstrate broad spectrum antimicrobial activities against many disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi. The plant shows efficacy against common pathogens like E. coli, staph, candida and herpes.

Supplementing with mimosa may bolster immune defenses and help prevent or treat various infections, particularly urinary tract and digestive infections. Its antimicrobial benefits could also support skin and wound healing.

Neuroprotective Effects

Mimosa pudica has a history of use for treating seizures, insomnia, anxiety, psychosis and other neurological disorders. Alkaloids like mimosine appear to interact with neurotransmitters and neural pathways that reduce excitability.

The plant also exhibits antioxidant abilities that protect the brain and nerves from damage. Through these mechanisms, mimosa supplements may aid various neurological and mental health conditions.

Anti-Venom Activity

Traditionally, mimosa pudica was used to help neutralize snake venom and scorpion stings. Modern research confirms the plant has anti-venom abilities. Mimosa appears to bind to venom toxins and inhibit them from interacting with receptors.

The herb also contains compounds that reduce allergic responses and anaphylactic shock. While not a replacement for urgent care, mimosa may help counteract venom when hospital treatment isn’t readily accessible.

Mimosa Pudica FAQ

Let’s review some common questions regarding the safety, benefits and proper use of mimosa pudica supplements:

Is Mimosa Pudica Harmful?

When used appropriately, mimosa pudica is generally considered safe for most people and not harmful. Side effects are usually mild like occasional digestive upset or drowsiness. Clinical toxicity is very rare at normal supplemental doses. However, avoid use if pregnant or nursing.

What Are the Side Effects of Mimosa Pudica Seed Supplement?

Supplements made from the seeds or seed pods may have stronger effects. Side effects could include more sedation or hallucinations at higher doses. Start with just 1-2 capsules per day and avoid taking it before driving or operating machinery. GI upset may also be more common with the seeds.

What Does Mimosa Pudica Do to Your Body?

Mimosa pudica has widespread effects in the body thanks to its unique mix of alkaloids, tannins, flavonoids and sterols. It demonstrates antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective activities. Mimosa may also regulate neurotransmitters that reduce anxiety and pain perception.

What Not to Take With Mimosa Pudica?

Avoid combining mimosa with prescription blood thinners or diabetes medications due to potential interactions. The sedative effects may also be enhanced by other herbs or medications with sleep-inducing properties. Don’t use mimosa with alcohol or sedatives.

How Much Mimosa Pudica Should I Take Daily?

There are no standardized dosing guidelines, but most supplements provide 250-500 mg of mimosa leaf powder per capsule or tablet. The general recommendation is 1-2 capsules per day, or one cup of tea. Start with a low dose and increase slowly over several weeks to assess your tolerance.

Conclusion

Mimosa pudica is a fascinating medicinal plant that shows promise for treating a wide range of inflammatory conditions, infections, kidney issues, neurological disorders and more. However, human research is still in the early stages. While side effects are usually mild, take precautions and discuss using mimosa supplements with your doctor, especially if pregnant or on medications. More clinical studies are underway which will shed light on mimosa’s therapeutic potential and safety profile.