This creeping annual or perennial herb goes by several common names, including twelve o'clock, prickle, dormilon, touch-me-not, shameplant, sleeping grass, and prayer plant. It has pinnate leaves that fold up when touched, and fluffy flowers that are lilac in color. It spreads up to 2 feet and grows in the shade.
WHERE IT CAN BE FOUND:
Central America, South America, Caribbean, East Africa, Australia
PROPERTIES AND USE:
Purgative, emetic, antibacterial, antifungal, hemmorhagic, antivenomous, sedative, antidepressant, antispasmodic, analgesic, hypotensive, nervine. Treats anxiety; inflammation; insomnia; skin conditions; urinary tract issues; diarrhea, dysentery, and other gastrointestinal problems; sinusitis; lymphatic infections; asthma and other respiratory conditions; vaginal discomfort; fatigue; diabetes; toothache; arthritis; rheumatism; hemmorhoids; obesity; backache; kidney stones; bruises.
For insomnia, place it on the pillow before sleep. As an antispasmodic, diuretic, relaxant, pain reliever, and sleep inducer, boil 9 branches with leaves in 3 cups water for 5 minutes. Drink V2 cup three to six times daily as needed. For diabetes or obesity, boil a large handful of leaves in 1 gallon water for 30 minutes. Drink throughout the day. To calm babies or induce sleep, place a 1-inch piece of leaf in a bottle milk. It is typical in the Caribbean, and elsewhere in Central America, to place bunches of leaves in a cross formation in a baby's bed. Four crosses are used for babies and children (placed under the pillow), and nine for adults. For kidney stones, boil a handful of chopped root in 1 gallon water for 30 minutes. Take three times per day before meals. For kidney pain, warm a few leaves, and apply them directly to the affected area. For muscle spasms, backache, and nervous irritability or anxiety, dry leaves in an oven set to 100 degrees F until the leaves are dried; the amount of time will vary on humidity levels and altitude. Remove the leaves from their stems, and powder lightly. Smoke as you would tobacco. For bruises, apply the bruised leaves to the affected area. For toothache, gargle with the above infusion, or boil and mash the root as a poultice.