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7.05.2012

A Haitian Treasure: Fey Lougawou (Wonder of the World Plant)

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In Haiti, there is a plant called fey lougawou (Kalanchoe pinnata), which is celebrated for its curing capabilities.  This plant is known as Miracle Leaf, Life Plant and Wonder of the World in English. This succulent plant is native to Madagascar, but has become naturalized in Asia the Pacific and all over the Caribbean, especially in Haiti. It has an amazing ability to replicate over and over again. This plant can literally grow ANYWHERE, meaning wherever you put the plant in addition to just the tiniest bit of soil, a new plant will begin to grow by itself without water in just a few days! People are usually able to identify this plant based on miniature platelets which form on the margins of its leaves.  Fey lougawou is not only a Haitian treasure, but a world treasure too. It's one of the "up and coming" healing plants in the U.S actually. A recent study in February 2012 showed that this amazing plant is a rich source of T-Cell suppressive flavanoids, meaning it has serious anti-cancer properties. Wow!
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In Haiti, fey lougawou is known for treating everything! Let's move past the fact that lougawou means "monster" in Creole since I have no idea how that happened... This plant is most popular for treating headaches, sinuses, colds, and most of all hypertension (high blood pressure)!  Seeing as this plant has the ability replicate by itself, fey lougawou is readily available in Haiti. Fey lougawou is most commonly consumed as a leaf infusion or tea, but it can also be applied topically to cure muscle aches! In Haiti, some combine the crushed leaves with lard to form a paste, that can supposedly cure different types of body aches.  My mother actually did this recently and said it worked pretty well.  Another option is to heat the leaves, then place a heat pad or a hot water bottle on top to release its healing properties, then put everything on the aching body part. Amazing.

We Haitians need to get moving and start harvesting and exporting this plant, which grows so abundantly in our own backyard....

Until then, you can purchase this plant, most commonly sold as "Miracle Leaf" in the U.S at a variety of health food stores.  We have never bought it because we have our own fey lougawou plant at home! (In case you haven't realized by now, we have lots and lots of plants in my home! My mom has that green thumb)! Pictured below is our "baby" fey lougawou plant, planted about 2 months ago.  The mother plant is massive and is enjoying the sun outside...
My Fey Lougawou Plant
Main Constituents:
  • bryophillin A and C- anticarcinogenic
  • beta-carotene
Some Benefits:
  • anti-bacterial, anti-rheumatic, anti-hypertensive
  • used to treat upper respiratory infections
  • can cure a variety of body aches
  • According to Ayurveda, it can cure hemorrhoids, wounds cuts, ulcers, etc.
Some Uses:
  • most known for reducing high blood pressure
  • to eliminate cataracts and styes, boil some of the leaves in water and squeeze the juice in affected areas
  • to eliminate headaches and body aches, heat leaves and place on forehead
  • for a relaxing foot soak, place a few leaves in a basin filled with hot water, adding essential oils for an extra oomph!

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The "Haitian Treasures" series explores the magnificent benefits and uses of Haiti's natural resources, which I call "Haitian Treasures" because they are truly national gems.  Naïka in Balance is the premiere source for information on healing herbs used by Haitians. In this series, I explore the tie between Haiti's natural resources and natural, traditional, and holistic healing.

Learn about other Haitian Treasures explored on this blog here!

The two most popular Haitian Treasures on this blog are:

Castor oil/l'huile palma christi
Wonder of the world plant/fey lougawou


Naika, the writer of this blog, has a doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine and a Masters of Science in Acupuncture as of June 2017. Please do not take the information presented on this blog, as medical advice, without consulting your certified health care practitioner. Knowledge is power and your health is your wealth!