From Natural WellBeing
Centipeda Minima Herb
Big things also come in small packages and that is true with the Centipeda Minima herb. Also known as the sneezeweed or the sneezewort, it is a small plant that packs in plenty of punch when it comes to the medicinal benefits.
Origin and History
The sneezeweed is characterized by wooly leaves, slender stems and several branches spreading from the root. The rounded heads are without stalks with many of them bearing single, small and yellow flowers on the axils of the leaves.
In the wild, the sneezeweed can be seen in open waste places, and rice paddies usually at low to medium altitudes. It is native from many parts in eastern Asia to China and extending all the way to Malaysia and tropical Australia.
As a medicinal herb, the sneezewort is harvested as an entire plant, which is then rinsed and dried in the sun. Harvesting is usually done from February to July, which corresponds to the plant's flowering season in summer and autumn.
Ancient Uses and Modern Uses
According to the ancient practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine, the sneezewort has spicy and warm properties. Many scientific studies have been conducted with the results being that the properties for which sneezewort was known for in ancient times has basis in fact. Some of the results of these studies point to the following properties of the sneezewort:
• Antibacterial properties courtesy of several sesquiterpene lactones, monoterpenoids and thymol with effective action against bacteria like Bacilus subtilis and Staph aureus, among others.
• Antimicrobial qualities coming from 23 compounds that are effective against microbes like Yersinia enterocolitica, Klebsiella pneumonia and Staph aureus. Experts see potential applications of the sneezeweed extract in public health and safety.
• Anti-allergen properties that have been proven effective in treating allergic rhinitis.
• Anti-inflammatory action in the treatment of acute pleural effusion.
• Anti-protozoal, anti-proliferative and anti-asthma properties have also been observed with the use of the sneezeweed extract.
If you are not familiar with scientific jargon, these properties point to the wide range of applications that sneezeweed can be used. There are many ways of using sneezeweed to cure a wide variety of physical ailments, a few of which are as follows:
• Crush the plant between the fingers to treat fever and Colds as well as to clear the head by promoting sneezes. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners even use it to treat nasal cancer. This is true in the Philippines and India.
• Boil the plant until it becomes a paste and then apply to the cheeks to relieve a toothache.
• Plant infusion is used for the relief of purulent ophthalmia, a disease common in children and characterized by thick, dried and purulent matter that glues the eyes shut.
• Dried or fresh material is used in the treatment of rheumatic lumbar and leg pains, muscle paralysis, and joint pains as well as in the elimination of worms.
Side Effects and Precautions
Although sneezeweed has no known contraindications and side effects, it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional to determine safety in relation to an underlying medical condition. Consultation with an experienced herbalist is also recommended.