7.05.2012

A Haitian Treasure: Fey Lougawou (Wonder of the World Plant)

In Haiti, there is a plant called fey lougawou (Kalanchoe pinnata), which is celebrated for its curing capabilities.  This plant is known as Miracle Leaf, Life Plant and Wonder of the World in English. This succulent plant is native to Madagascar, but has become naturalized in Asia the Pacific and all over the Caribbean, especially in Haiti. It has an amazing ability to replicate over and over again. This plant can literally grow ANYWHERE, meaning wherever you put the plant in addition to just the tiniest bit of soil, a new plant will begin to grow by itself without water in just a few days! People are usually able to identify this plant based on miniature platelets which form on the margins of its leaves.  Fey lougawou is not only a Haitian treasure, but a world treasure too. It's one of the "up and coming" healing plants in the U.S actually. A recent study in February 2012 showed that this amazing plant is a rich source of T-Cell suppressive flavanoids, meaning it has serious anti-cancer properties. Wow!
Source
In Haiti, fey lougawou is known for treating everything! Let's move past the fact that lougawou means "monster" in Creole since I have no idea how that happened... This plant is most popular for treating headaches, sinuses, colds, and most of all hypertension (high blood pressure)!  Seeing as this plant has the ability replicate by itself, fey lougawou is readily available in Haiti. Fey lougawou is most commonly consumed as a leaf infusion or tea, but it can also be applied topically to cure muscle aches! In Haiti, some combine the crushed leaves with lard to form a paste, that can supposedly cure different types of body aches.  My mother actually did this recently and said it worked pretty well.  Another option is to heat the leaves, then place a heat pad or a hot water bottle on top to release its healing properties, then put everything on the aching body part. Amazing.


We Haitians need to get moving and start harvesting and exporting this plant, which grows so abundantly in our own backyard....


Until then, you can purchase this plant, most commonly sold as "Miracle Leaf" in the U.S at a variety of health food stores.  We have never bought it because we have our own fey lougawou plant at home! (In case you haven't realized by now, we have lots and lots of plants in my home! My mom has that green thumb)! Pictured below is our "baby" fey lougawou plant, planted about 2 months ago.  The mother plant is massive and is enjoying the sun outside...
My Fey Lougawou Plant
Main Constituents:
  • bryophillin A and C- anticarcinogenic
  • beta-carotene
Some Benefits:
  • anti-bacterial, anti-rheumatic, anti-hypertensive
  • used to treat upper respiratory infections
  • can cure a variety of body aches
  • According to Ayurveda, it can cure hemorrhoids, wounds cuts, ulcers, etc.
Some Uses:
  • most known for reducing high blood pressure
  • to eliminate cataracts and styes, boil some of the leaves in water and squeeze the juice in affected areas
  • to eliminate headaches and body aches, heat leaves and place on forehead
  • for a relaxing foot soak, place a few leaves in a basin filled with hot water, adding essential oils for an extra oomph!

Know your treasures.
The "Haitian Treasures" series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which I call "Haitian Treasures" because they are truly national gems.   Naïka in Balance is the premiere source for information on the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

Learn about other Haitian Treasures explored on this blog here!



*Medical Disclaimer: Though Naïka of Naïka in Balance is in pursuit of a medical degree, she is NOT a licensed health practitioner. 
Naïka believes individuals have the power to make informed health decisions on their own. If you feel that it is necessary to consult your healthcare provider before using any of the remedies mentioned, please do so. Knowledge is power and your health is your wealth.

16 comments:

  1. If I remember well the infusion is also used to help dissolve bladder/kidney stones.

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    1. Great! Thanks for the knowledge. -N

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  2. Great post! My grandmother always has some of this in her kitchen!

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    1. Thanks Sagine! It's good stuff.-N

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  3. This reminds me of Fever Grass that's grown in Jamaica. Aren't Gods gifts amazing?! Why have people forgotten about this stuff??

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    1. Thank for your comment. God truly does gift the world with everything we need! We just over-complicate things!
      N

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  4. That was a great post. I wanted to find the technical name for the plant and have found it here.
    I also would like to comment on why Haitians call it "Fèy Lougawou". They believe that, if you have the plant in your house, the 'Lougawou' [Flying Werewolf] will not come near your house. Thus, they use it as a repellant against the mythical being.

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    1. Hi! Thanks for your insightful comment. I will be sure to add this information to the post.
      N

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    2. Does this plant help varicose veins? And another question: does it do any thing for depression?
      Janet
      Silolady@gmail.com

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    3. Hello Janet,
      I have not heard about it helping for varicose veins, but I have heard that it helps for depression :)

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    4. Hello Mary Ann, yes it helps leg cramps. N.

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  5. Does this plant do anything for ring worm ?

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    1. Hi Margaret! I am not aware of any such uses, sorry. -N

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  6. I understand it works well for inflammation.Just heat the leaf an apply to the infected area

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    1. Thanks for the info Jennifer! This plant is so great.
      -N

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