The three species that we are going to deal with belong to that group and are the following:
- Kalanchoe pinnata (Bryophyllum pinnatum)
Studied by Goethe, the German botanist, Kalanchoe Pinnata it is also known as ¨the Goethe Plant.¨ In Latin America it is also recognised as: bruja, hierba de bruja, prodigiosa, hierba del aire, siempreviva, colombiana, ojaransín, hojerilla.
- Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Bryophyllum daigremontianum)
This species grows many sprouts along the borders of its leaves. The leaves have colouration around the top. It is known by the following names: aranto, madre de miles, Kalanchoe mexicana.
- Kalanchoe gastonis-bonnieri (Bryophyllum gastonis-bonnieri)
This specific species was named after the French botanist Gaston Bonnier and has the biggest leaves of all three species. It is known as: ojaransín, hojerilla, oreja de burro (donkey’s ear).
Note: the names sometimes apply to one or more species and vary from country to country.
Kalanchoes are plants that have a holistic effect on the body and therefor can be used to combat a variety of ailments. Kalanchoe is used as traditional medicine, especially in Latin America, Asia and Africa, to treat the following illnesses:
- Injuries and illnesses related to cellular damage, especially cancer.
- Deep infectious cuts
- Infections and burns
- Abscesses and tumors
- Urinary tract infection (Cólicos renales)
- Mental illnesses: squizofrenia, panic attacks and anxiety.
The plants curative properties embrace more than just the above mentioned as it can heal cellular damage in many different organs of the body.
The leaves, which have a slightly sour taste, are used curatively and can be taken internally or used externally depending on the illness:
- Externally: the coloured leaves in the form of a poultice, compress or plaster; an ointment of the leaf juices with oil or vaseline.
Applied this way the plant is an anti-inflammatory, astringent and coagulant. It will also help heal scars.
- Internally: as raw leaves in salads, fresh juice (add water for larger quantities), infusions.
Doses for internal use: it depends on the size of the leaf; from a large leaf up to 3-4 smaller leaves a day, in weight about 50-100gr a day of the fresh plant. As an infusion, one cup before each meal or 3 times a day.
Contraindications: do not take when pregnant as it can stimulate the uterus and contractions. Do not take consistently for long periods at a time as it can suppress the immune system. Consult your doctor before using if you suffer from heart problems. If abused Kalanchoe can be toxic, up to 5 grams per kilo of body weight is not toxic (350 grams of one leaf for a person of 70 kilos, 4-7 times more than the recommended dose).
Your attitude towards the use of medicinal plants is important. Remember plants are living things as well, each one is made of a physical part but also a subtle energy; there should be respect for the plant that has the power to cure. This is practiced widely in traditional medicine in Latin America; respect for Pacha Mama (Mother Nature). Equally maintaining a positive attitude toward an illness is important to learn from and improve the difficult situation.