Basella alba is a wildly cultivated, vegetable which is a climbing herbaceous vine, several metres in length. This succulent has fleshy leaves and green or purple stems which are used for medicinal purposes. It is also called Ceylon spinach, Malabar spinach and Indian spinach. In India, it is called pasalai keerai in Tamil and poi in hindi. The plant is known for its anti-fungal, anti-convulsant, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and androgenic activities and for the treatment of anemia.
The leaves are low in calories but etremely nutritious. The chemical composition of the leaf extract include: proteins, fat, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, vitamin B9 (folic acid), riboflavin, niacin, thiamine and minerals such as calcium, magnesium and iron.
Medicinal Uses of Basella alba in Traditional Medicine
Traditionally the Basella alba has been used in many cultures for a variety of medicinal purposes. The leaves of B. alba are used in ayurveda to induce sound sleep by applying it on the head for about half an hour before bathing. In Ayurveda, it is also used for hemorrhages, skin diseases, sexual weakness, ulcers and as laxative in children and pregnant women. The leaves and stem of Basella alba has been used in ayurveda for anticancer treatments such as melanoma, leukemia and oral cancer.
Leaves of B. alba is used for the treatment of hypertension by Nigerians in Lagos, and malaria in Cameroonian folk medicine. The leaf juice is used in Nepal to treat dysentery, catarrh and applied externally to treat boils. The stem and leaf has been used in Bangladesh for acne and freckle treatment. The Bede community of Bangladesh, who since ancient times have always practiced their own traditional medicinal system, eat the stems, leaves and seeds of B. alba to keep healthy, to prevent anemia and to increase body strength.
Basella alba Health Benefits for Boosting Testosterone
Several studies have been made on animals to determine the effectiveness of Basella alba on boosting testosterone. The belief is that, the effectiveness of Basella alba on testosterone levels is because of its ability to stimulate androgen production and also to help increase the amount of free testosterone in the body. Free testosterone helps increase muscle mass, sexual drive and stamina.
Health Benefits of Basella alba
Some of the health benefits of Basella alba are
- It is an astringent and the cooked roots are used in the treatment of diarrhea.
- The leaf juice is a demulcent, used in cases of dysentery.
- Basella mucilage has been used in Thai traditional medicine as topical application for irritant, bruise and ringworm.
- Stem and leaves are used as mild laxative, diuretic and antipyretic.
- Root and leaves has been used for the removal of after birth,
stomach pains and increase milk production.
- Basella alba is administered orally for the treatment of anal prolapsed or hernia.
- Leaves are used in constipation, poultice for sores, urticaria and gonorrhea.
- It is also used in poultice local swellings and intestinal complaints.
Basella alba Home Remedies
- A paste of the root is applied to swellings and is also used as a rubefacient.
- The sap is applied to acne eruptions to reduce inflammation.
- A decoction of the leaves is used for its mild laxative effects.
- Pulped leaves can be applied to boils and ulcers to hasten suppuration.
- Sugared juice of leaves is useful for catarrhal afflictions.
- Leaf-juice mixed with butter, is soothing and cooling when applied to burns and scalds.
- The paste of root of red B. alba along with rice washed water cab be taken in the morning on an empty stomach for one month, to cure irregular periods.