Maka-hiya Weed: Shy But Terrible

I don't know how they pop up from the ground and spread. They just grow without anyone planting them. From childhood, I've known them as Maka-hiya and we marveled at how they were "alive" because when you touched them they folded (a seismonastic reaction) in "shyness" and re-opened when we came back to them later.

Well, scientists would later tell us in our book perusals that maka-hiya weeds (Mimosa Pudica) often opened up again early in the morning and usually folded up at night (nyctonastic reaction). As kids we really thought the weed was so bashful, thus it's Tagalog name, "Maka-hiya." Today, this Philippine herbal is said to be exported to other countries as "live" toys for kids who care for them as household pets. They're amazed at how the plant is alive and responding to their touch.

And only recently did I know that this ordinary thorny weed with a small bluish round flower is really a medicinal herbal plant. It can help heal a lot of ailments, from wounds and sores to asthma and diabetes.

A source said it is considered an expectorant and able to help in treating some lung ailments because of its anti-asthma properties. It is also said to be antispasmodic and an analgesic. Still, some say it has been used as an anti-depressant and a sedative. To some herbal experts, the roots are said to be an effective aphrodisiac.

Here are some of its other uses. Maka-hiya is also for:
  • hypertension 
  • urinary problems 
  • sore throat or swelling 
  • menorrhagia 
  • glandular inflammation 
  • edema 
  • tumors 
  • scabies 
That's among many other ailments. From leaves to stems to roots, Maka-hiya has medicinal herbal uses.

My kids were amazed to see them when I introduced them to the weeds. Kids just love playing with them, believing that the Maka-hiya has sensitive emotions easily hurt or affected. Sometimes they would take care not to "hurt" the plant and thought that it was happy and grateful for their kindness to it.

Well, I think we in the Philippines all believed that once upon a time.

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