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The Magic of Mimosa Pudica “Touch-Me-Not plant”

When I was a child, my mother had an amazing plant that reacted to touch by closing its leaves right before my eyes. When further pestered, the stems would collapse into the plant itself! She called it a Touch-Me-Not and I couldn’t help myself but touch it every chance I got!

About a year ago, a dear friend of mine inquired about this plant, so I started one for her from seed. The beautiful little plant is now ready for her forever home and, as always, the timing couldn’t be more perfect! I chatted with her this evening and realized a blog post on this beauty’s folklore and qualities was needed, so here we are. 

This peculiar plant has many names across the United States: sensitiva, vergonzosa, nometoques, moriviví, dormidera, adormidera . It has many names common names as well: touch-me-not, shameplant, zombie plant, or shy plant.

I later learned that this plant is originally from Central and South America, and its scientific name is Mimosa pudica. Now it is considered a weed and it can be found in any tropical region of the globe. Nonetheless, according to wikipedia, in the UK it has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit, a long-established annual award for plants by the British Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The touch-me-not plant is a mysterious plant, not only because of its drooping reaction when touched but also because it is abundant in so many nutrients and remains a subject that deserves further exploration.

For example, it is thought to help in the treatment of many issues like piles, dysentery, sinus, insomnia, diarrhea, alopecia and a poultice has also been applied to cure wounds for ages.

The plant is also thought to have antibacterial, antivenom, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, anticonvulsant, anti-fertility and anti-asthmatic properties. It is also known to have emetic, sedative and tonic properties. All these properties make the touch-me-not plant a helpful and promising medicinal herbal candidate.***

Another property of the Mimosa pudica that I found very interesting, was a story told by a woman from Colombia, where they call it “Dormidera”. It is believed that in the countryside, the leaves of the Dormidera or mimosa are used as a remedy to cure a broken heart and other love-related sufferings. Here is how it works:

Early in the morning following a full moon, calm your spirit and center your energy. Focus on the plant and it’s many gifts. With a humble and grateful heart ask for permission to collect some leaves from the plant.

Using a clean knife or pair of scissors, gently cut a few leaves off the plant by the stem, and put them on a clean cotton cloth, to preserve the purity of the plant.

Make sure that your spirit is positive while you do this, and declare your intention of cleaning the spirit from any negative energy, and your desire to release the sorrow and suffering from your broken heart.

Take a piece of white cloth, and place the fresh leaves on it. Fold the cloth by the four corners to carefully cover the leaves, and put them under your pillow. Keep them there for nine days and nine nights. During this time, your spirit is releasing heartache and negativity through your dreams, which the mimosa leaves will be capturing and putting to sleep.

In the morning after the ninth night, bring the cloth with the leaves full of your sleeping sorrows to a stream of fresh water or a small river, and gently release the leaves on the stream. They will carry away the pain, sorrows and suffering, which will dissolve in the fresh, clean water, bringing a bright beginning of love and light for you.

There is a risk involved in this ritual that I must tell you about: the person you love, the one who broke your heart, will likely dream about you as well for the duration of this ritual, and may want to reconnect…so proceed with this knowledge.

Stories, traditions and magical rituals like this one need to be passed from generation to generation, as they contain ancestral knowledge about the medicinal and spiritual properties of native plants so as not to get lost…

For those who have the good fortune to have access to the beauty and grace of Mimosa pedicab, you can collect your own leaves and even pass some on to any heart-broken friends who would like to complete the ritual!

***as with any plant, do not use or ingest without proper guidance. Seek out the advice of an herbalist before processing any plant. Also, never attempt to self medicate without the advice of a physician. This information is not meant to replace professional medical advice 

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