Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects

Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis) Overview

Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis) other name : Aspilia , Wild Sunflower

Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis) is native to the eastern regions of Africa, but now aspilia grows naturally all over tropical Africa.

Aspilia (Aspilia Mossambicensis), also known as wild sunflower, is a perennially growing partially-wood or shrub-like plant that belongs to the Compositae family. The plant bears coarse, lanceolate and creased akin to accordion leaves that are covered with small, supple hairs known as trichomes. Aspilia has somewhat rigid branches and usually grows up to a height of 1.5 meter in height. Aspilia has a tendency to clamber on top of other vegetation in the vicinity.

Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) flower

Aspilia is a shrubbery having a solitary or several stems that rise from a squat rootstock having several fibrous roots that are inflexible branched out. The color of the base of the stems of this herb usually varies from red to purple. The branches of aspilia have a rough surface that is covered with small hairs, and at times they are also glandular. Leaves of this plant emerge directly from the stem without any stalk (sessile) or accompany a petiole, which is about 1 cm in length. The leaves are oval, lance-shaped or intently elliptic and grow up to 2.5 cm to 20 cm in length and 1 cm to 8.5 cm in width.

The florets of aspilia are arranged in the form of ray and their color varies from cream, yellow to orange. While each ray is anything between 7 mm to 18.5 mm in length and about 6.5 mm in width, they do not have any style. The tube is around 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm in length. The disc of the florets has a creamy, yellow or orange hue, occasionally having purple lines about 5.5 mm to 9.0 mm that come down from the lobes. The lower portion of the tube and lobe is minutely pubescent, while the anther attachments have a yellowish hue. The plant produces achenes (petite, dry, firm, single-seeded fruits that do not open up even when ripe), which are intently obovoid or sub-cylindrical measuring about 2.5 mm to 5.5 mm in length. These fruits are either covered with small hairs or devoid of them (glabrous).

Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) Health Benefits

Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) picture

Contemporary research recognized aspilia primarily owing to the use of the plant by wild chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains National Park and the Gombe National Park in Tanzania. It has been found that the chimpanzees swallow the aspilia leaves as a whole and subsequently excrete them in one piece. Interestingly enough, the defecated leaves do not show any noticeable indication of the fact that they have passed through the digestive tract of any animal. 

The study also suggested that the small supple hair on the surface of aspilia leaves is known to possess a ‘Velcro effect', which relates to appending to as well as getting rid of worms as they pass through the intestine. This action of aspilia leaves is augmented owing to the discharge of chemical substances that are likely to slow down the ability of the parasites to stick to the walls of the intestine.

Chemical analysis of aspilia has shown that the plant is not only a potent anti-parasitic, but, at the same time, an effectual antibiotic. In effect, scientists have detected hints of thiarubrine A, reddish oil that eliminates parasites, bacteria, fungi and viruses, in the root of the plant. 

Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Aspilia (Aspilia mossambicensis) plant

In addition, the herb is also known to eliminate cancerous cells in hard or unyielding tumours, for instance those present in the breasts and lungs. People in Africa use this plant for therapeutic reasons to cure a number of ailments, such as sciatica, lumbago (recurring pain in the lumbar region), malaria, scurvy, tuberculosis, rheumatism and even the sexually transmitted disease (STD) gonorrhea.

Traditional healers have employed aspilia for treating a number of health conditions, including abdominal pains, skin disorders, and respiratory ailments and well as injuries. The herb is also a minor medication for treating aching eyes, sore gums and lumbago. 

Apart from these therapeutic uses of aspilia, roots of this plant are also used in the form of a snuff - a medication believed to be used by chimpanzees. The leaves of this herb are used to feed animals to heal their ulcers.