The sensitive plant is a trailing plant; the stems have numerous thorns generally hairy where they sprout from 4 to 8 small leaves. It has a mauve coloured round headed flowers. The fruit is an oblong linear pod about 2 centimetres long. Sometimes known as sleeping grass, bashful mimosa, touch-me-not, or the humble plant, the sensitive plant is actually native to Brazil, but it is invasive there and is often considered a weed. It is also found in many parts of tropical America and India.
Although it is known by several names, it is often called the sensitive plant because of its ticklish-like nature that happens whenever its leaves are touched. This herb is used in India as a common contraceptive, animal studies show that taking sensitive plant does slow down menstrual cycles and thus reduce the number of births.
A topical paste made from sensitive plant leaves has been known as a haemorrhoid therapy since at least in the 16th century. For those experiencing the misery and agony of haemorrhoids, sensitive plant offers several benefits. If you know anything about the history of shaving, you may have heard of a styptic pencil, which is a small, crayon-like device that is able to stop the bleeding that results from a shaving cut.
In Western medicine, Mimosa root is used for treating insomnia, irritability, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), menorrhagia, haemorrhoids, skin wounds, and diarrhoea. It is a mood enhancer and improves circulation of the blood. Some believe sensitive plant can reduce the onset of baldness.
All parts of the sensitive plant are said to be toxic. Do not use if you are pregnant or nursing. Due to its toxicity, it is best to consult with your physician before using Mimosa. Safety in young children or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known.