Herbs & People: Biden Pilosa – A Valuable Herbal Medicine

Bidens pilosa is a member of the Asteraceae – formerly called Compositae – family. It is a highly valuable medicinal plant across the globe and has been used since ancient times especially in China and in Africa to treat and manage a number of illnesses and conditions.

Bidens pilosa is commonly found growing along roadsides, railroad tracks, vacant lots, and other places where the ground has been disturbed, including the shores of rivers or ponds.

It is an erect annual plant which grows to an average height of 60cm, although it can reach 2m in favorable conditions. The leaves are opposite and divided into three to five lance-shaped segments with serrated edges. Flowers are mostly yellow but can have white elements, ray florets, which can be present for periods of the flower’s development. The seeds are black or dark brown

All parts of Bidens pilosa plant, the aerial parts – the leaves, flowers, seeds, and stems – and/or the roots, fresh or dried, are used as ingredients in traditional medicines.

It is frequently prepared as a dry powder, decoction, maceration or tincture. In order to reap the plant’s health benefits. The leaves may be eaten raw like green vegetables or boiled and prepared with other dishes such as cabbage to create a tasty and healthy meal that is loaded with a number of health benefits.

For centuries, the Bidens pilosa has been used as a valuable herbal medicine by a number of communities for various conditions such as foot and mouth diseases, angina, diabetes, menstral disorders, hepatitis, laryngitis, hemorrhoids, as a gargle for mouth blisters, for internal and external inflammations, tooth-ache, digestive disorders, headaches, sores, lacerations, sore throat, cuts, swellings, hypertension, and jaundice.

The roots, leaves and seeds of Bidens pilosa have been known to possess anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, antimicrobial and antidysenteric properties. It also serves as a diuretic and contains antimalarial properties, making extracts from the plant a treatment for malaria in certain communities. Due to the plant’s antiseptic properties, plant extract may also be used as a natural mouthwash to combat odor causing germs along with sore gums and mouth.

The herb is also beneficial in treating joint discomfort, swellings, colic, and stomach ailments, along with the cold and flu. The sap from crushed leaves of Bidens pilosa is used to speed up clotting of blood in fresh wounds; a leaf decoction is used for treating earache; sap from the plant is put in the ear to treat ear infection. The plant is also used in many parts of the world to make herbal tea which is taken as a general beverage or as a treatment for worms and flatulence.

Many communities in Africa use Bidens pilosa as a treatment of opportunistic infections arising as a result of HIV/AIDS infections. Bidens pilosa is a natural antibiotic that successfully treats antibiotic resistant bacteria. This is due to the fact that it is made up of hundreds of complex compounds that bacteria can’t develop resistance to.

Bidens increases the efficiency of the kidneys to excrete uric acid from the blood, decreasing the likelihood of a gout attack. It also acts as a tonic and preventive in gastritis and ulcers, diarrhea and ulcerative colitis

Bidens pilosa possesses antidiabetic properties. It lowers glucose levels, increases insulin sensitivity, and stimulates the release of insulin from the pancreas.

– Richard Komakech

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