The leaf-of-fortune plant or holy leaf – whose scientific name is Kalanchoe pinnata – can reach up to 1.5 m in height. It has a light colored stem and the others in reddish tones, its flowers are tubular and hermaphrodite, between reddish yellow or pale green.
Popularly it can also be known as grass of the coast, flowers of fortune, thick leaf, leaf of the coast, leaf of life, for everything, always alive, plant of love, green love, skirt, wheel of fortune, white corirama, coirama, coirama brava, among other popular names.
It belongs to the Crassulaceae family and has been gaining space for having medicinal properties that can benefit the organism. In this article you will learn everything about this plant and how it is used for its properties.
Active principles and properties
In its composition it is possible to find the following active principles: mineral salts, mucilages, tannins, glycosides, alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, triterpenes, lipids and gastric acids. The main properties of the leaf-of-fortuna plant are: anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, antimicrobial and emollients.
Flavonoids are considered the main anti-inflammatory agents and the fortune-leaf is essentially composed of these substances. However, it also has fatty acids in its composition, substances with an immunosuppressive function. For this reason, they can lower the body’s immunity.
In addition, the plant also has a bactericidal, anti-tumor and even anti-ophidic properties. Thus, it was found that the extract of this plant was able to inhibit the action of an enzyme present in the venom of the jararaca snake.
The holy sheet also manages to lower blood pressure and serves as a mild sedative. Thus, it improves the quality of sleep and also prevents seizures.
Some studies indicate that the leaf extract is also anthelmintic, being effective in the treatment of human parasites and also to prevent anaphylactic shock in cases of severe allergies.
It also has active healing ingredients, which can help with recovery from surgical procedures and open wounds. Furthermore, it also helps to lessen the sensation of pain. ( 1 )
Finally, the plant still manages to lower blood glucose levels and act as an antifungal. It can also be effective in treating leishmaniasis and is a natural diuretic. ( 2 )
Benefits and indications
The benefits arising from the consumption of the leaf-of-fortune plant are many, including relief from whooping cough, bronchitis, asthma and various respiratory tract infections.
As for external use, this plant can be used to treat burns, dermatoses, bruises, cuts, dermatitis and boils. Acnes, pimples, itching for no apparent reason, corns and chicken pox can also be treated with this plant.
But it also works against heartburn, gastritis, ulcers and stomach or abdominal discomfort. Other problems related to the digestive system such as dysentery, diarrhea , nausea, constipation , flatulence and gas can be treated with this natural medicine.
It can also treat headaches, migraines, cramps and menstrual disorders. Fortune leaf is also indicated to balance diabetes, eliminate or reduce kidney stones and inflammation in general. Fever, internal bruises and broken bones are other indications of this plant.
However, the benefits don’t stop there. That’s because toothaches and earaches, eye infections and conjunctivitis , lymphatic disorders and arthritis are also alleviated with the use of this home remedy. In addition to lymphomas, urethritis, kidney failure or kidney stones, athlete’s foot, intermittent coughs, tuberculosis, flu and colds, nervousness, anxiety and depression.
According to the pharmaceutical specialist in medicinal plants, Adriana Pereira Freire Junqueira, the infusion of fresh leaves can help treat urinary infections and also relieve cough. However, in the latter case, the most suitable is the consumption of syrup.
Other studies indicate that the juice extracted from the herb leaves has hepatoprotective properties. Therefore, it is rich in substances that protect the liver from disease and injury. However, it is noteworthy that this type of use is already observed in some regions of India.
This is because the juice of the holy leaf is indicated for the treatment of jaundice, a health problem that interferes with the work of the liver, causing the blood to be filled with a substance responsible for giving the skin and mucous membranes a yellow color. ( 3 )
Is Fortune Leaf tea indicated to treat gastritis?
Yes, according to the pharmacist this is the most common use of the herb. The enzymes present act efficiently in the protection of the stomach mucosa, in addition to the plant having anti-inflammatory and healing capabilities. For all that, she is able to prevent and treat cases of gastritis and ulcers.
This is due to the fact that the holy leaf is also rich in an enzyme that acts to protect several physiological actions. Especially in the gastric tract, where it increases the production of protective mucus while inhibiting the action of stomach acid. ( 1 )
One study indicated that the consumption of juice made from fresh leaves helped to reduce gastric lesions caused by alcohol and some types of medication. In addition, the plant helped to reduce the swelling that is caused by lesions in the region. ( 4 )
And for those who want to lose weight?
According to Adriana Junqueira, this plant can influence the weight loss process. However, this is due to the potent active principles present in the juice, which can interfere with the action of other types of medication.
Therefore, for those who want to lose weight she recommends options such as green tea , cinnamon, white and even hibiscus . Also according to the specialist, these are safer options, as they do not interfere with other treatments.
But of course, just the consumption of these teas does not bring any miraculous results for weight loss . Therefore, it is important to combine this with a healthy diet and physical activity.
Characteristics of the fortune-telling
The holy leaf is a succulent plant, so it can accumulate water in its internal tissues. Native to the island of Madagascar, it ends up being unpopular in Brazil. Despite this, it has been used for centuries in traditional medicine in countries in Asia and the Americas, mainly by native and riverside populations. ( 5 )
According to the specialist in medicinal plants, the fortune-leaf is used more often as an ornamental plant. However, it has great medicinal power and can be used to treat various diseases, as we have seen before.
In fact, Kalanchoe pinnata is on the National List of Medicinal Plants of Interest to the Unified Health System (RENISUS) to be studied due to its medicinal potential.
The specimens usually measure between 30 centimeters to 1.5 meters in height. The leaves are hairless and generally measure between 6 and 8 centimeters in length. The shapes range from ellipse to oval and they are usually tight.
Another striking feature of the herb is that the leaves grow on opposite branches and in the shape of a cross. New shoots can grow through roots, branches and even leaves. The flowers are usually purple or green, and drooping, while the seeds are small and soft.
Even though it is native to the Madagascar region, the holy leaf can be found in many parts of the world. Being part of traditional medicine in several regions, including Brazil. ( 2 )
As it is a succulent, the most common form of use is the juice made from the leaves of the plant. But it can be ingested or applied to the skin as a poultice, as Junqueira explains.
How to prepare?
In the case of gastritis, the juice of the fortune leaf should be consumed. To prepare it, place 1 tablespoon of fresh leaves in a blender, along with 300 ml of filtered water. After it is well beaten, strain and drink the equivalent of 1 cup. Repeat the procedure, drinking the fortune leaf juice twice a day, preferably between meals.
In the case of external ailments, such as bruises and wounds, simply heat the plant leaf and use it as a poultice, placing it on the affected area.
For those who want to use the herb to treat a cough, it is recommended to mash a tablespoon of fresh leaves and mix the juice with a cup of warm milk. This drink is also very effective in treating flu.
Another way to use it is as tea. According to Junqueira, the infusion must be made with a tablespoon of leaves, which must be fresh, and a cup of boiling water. Mix everything together and let it sit for a few minutes, but drink it still hot. The infusion must also be taken up to twice a day and is effective in treating urinary infections.
Where to find?
Fortune leaf specimens are widely used as ornamental plants in gardens and public squares. Hence, they are easily found in these places. Like any succulent, it is possible to plant it through a leaf or the new plants that usually come out of the stem.
In addition, the herb is also found in ornamental plant stores and even on the internet.
Main care with the plant
If you want to grow the holy leaf at home, you need to know some details. First, this plant is native to hot climates and has become well used to the Brazilian climate. In some places it is considered an invasive species due to its fast and easy growth.
In addition, it survives in dry and sunny areas. But like all succulent, watering must be done with care, only when the soil is dry to the touch. This is because plants of this type tend to store water in their leaves and over-watering can kill them. ( 2 )
As it is considered a uterine stimulant, the consumption of the leaf-of-fortune plant is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women. That’s because, during pregnancy, the herb’s active ingredients stimulate uterine contraction and can cause miscarriage.
For the specialist in medicinal plants, Folha Santa can also enhance the action of barbiturates, drugs used to treat depression, severe anxiety and epilepsy. Likewise, it can also boost cardiotonic glycosides, which are drugs used to treat heart problems.
For these reasons, if you experience any of these problems, it is important to consult your doctor before consuming any product made from the Holy Leaf.
Another point alerted by Junqueira is the plant’s immunosuppressive action. Thus, this natural product can end up lowering the body’s defenses and making it more susceptible to disease.
Therefore, it must be used for a maximum period of 30 days. After that, it is important to take a break of another 30 days before returning to use.