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Buddha Belly Plant Medicinal Uses, Growing And Care

One of the interesting plant is Jatropha podagrica, it used in traditional medicine. But generally this plant used as an ornamental plant, because it shape and beautiful. Jatropha podagrica Hook is an upright plant, known as Buddha belly plant or Bottleplant shrub. Buddha belly plant medicinal uses to treat rheumatic conditions, itch and parasitic skin diseases.

Buddha Belly Plant Medicinal Uses

According to traditional medicine, this plant can relieve pain (analgesic), anti-inflammatory, eliminating swelling. It can also be used to get rid of toxins and to treat fever. The plant is native to tropical America, then developed as an ornamental plant in various countries.

The trunk features enlarged like a bottle, vasculum-shaped containing sap. Buddha belly plant has a red coral flower that can bloom throughout the year. According to studies, plant sap includes seeds containing toxins. Its looks interesting to be decorative, because the flowers can invite butterflies.

Buddha belly plant can grow up 0.5 to 1.5 meters tall. The sap of this plant is white, single stem and very few branches. The characteristic of leaves between 20 to 30 cm, the shape is oval, pointed or rounded tip. Buddha belly plant has flowers in long-stemmed panicles, there are female and male flowers. It has fruits with elliptical shape extends 1.5 cm long and has seeds.

Buddhist belly plant cultivation is very adaptable to the environment. These plants can grow on less fertile soils, but have good irrigation. Make sure the water is not stagnant and the soil pH is optimally between 5 to 6.5. Buddhist belly plant is able to produce fruits in little rainfall, and can grow for decades.

Buddha Belly Plant Medicinal Uses

The benefits of buddha belly plant have been widely recognized in traditional medicine. Buddha belly plant believed to cure fever, swelling, and insect or snake bites. The concoction is very simple, just boiling 10 grams of fresh leaves. Then squeeze the leaves to get the juice and drunk it. The decoction is use to treat the outer skin.

Jatropha is an ornamental plant naturalised in many tropical areas. The roots, stems, leaves seeds and fruits of the plant have been widely used in traditional folk medicine in many parts of West Africa. The seeds have been used as a purgative, antihelminthic and abortifacient as well as for treating ascites, gout, paralysis and skin diseases.  The seed oil of the plant has been used as an ingredient in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, itch and parasitic skin diseases. And in the treatment of fever, jaundice and gonorrhoea, as a diuretic agent, and a mouth-wash.   

The leaf has been used as a haemostatic agent and the bark as a fish poison. Buddha belly plant medicinal uses in certain African countries people are accustomed to chewing these seeds when in need of a laxative. The seeds have been found to be highly effective against Strongyloides papillosus infection in goats. It has also been suggested that buddha belly seeds could be a useful chemotherapeutic agent provided that it is active at a non-lethal dose. This may be because of it's reported anti-helminthic activity.

Read also:

In study found a high mortality rate in mice feed 50% Buddha belly plant. The important symptoms of poisoning included diarrhea, inability to keep normal posture, depression and lateral recumbency. The degree of the pathological changes observed in the small intestines, liver, heart, kidneys, and lungs was related to the level in the diet. The most marked pathological changes were catarrhal enteritis, erosions of the intestinal mucosa, congestion and haemorrhages in small intestines, heart and lungs  and fatty changes in the liver and kidneys.


  • Jatropha podagrica. Publish by Inchem.
  • Preliminary observations on the anthelmintic activity of Jatropha curcas against strongyloides and Haemonchus infections in goats and sheep. Publish by Topical Animal Health Production, Ahmed & Adam, 1979. 
  • Jatropha podagrica, image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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