Many of us can swear by the medicinal properties of herbs. After all, most medications can be traced back to medicinal plants, especially the ones that were used and relied on decades ago before the drug industry was created.
The kalanchoe genus is one of these plants. They’re also known as katakataka, which means puzzling or curiously strange in Filipino. As we delve deeper into its benefits, this definition will make sense to you!
Many studies were conducted to test the extract of kalanchoe on various illnesses, and it didn’t disappoint. That said, we’ve chosen 12 remarkable kalanchoe benefits to go over in-depth. We guarantee you’ll be fascinated by them all!
Is the Kalanchoe Plant Poisonous?
It can be confusing to see headlines about kalanchoe’s toxicity and others about its benefits. That’s why we wanted to tackle this question before going deeper into its medical properties.
Generally speaking, all members of the kalanchoe family are toxic, but their toxicity effect is limited to pets. If pets consume it, they can develop poisoning symptoms, but it doesn’t affect humans.
Sheep and cattle poisoning is common in Australia and South Africa where this plant is grown, in fact. With that in mind, in a home that has cats or dogs, for example, a kalanchoe succulent should always be kept out of reach.
If your troublemaker decides to eat a little bit, the symptoms may at first be fairly mild, such as:
- Excessive drooling
- Pain in the abdomen
Nonetheless, if consumed in large quantities, it can cause cardiac arrest, followed by death.
12 Surprising Kalanchoe Benefits on Your Health
Kalanchoe is a plant that serves as a fully stocked pharmacy! It has several medicinal benefits that aid in the treatment of various diseases.
The following are 12 of the most surprising health benefits of kalanchoe leaves:
1 – Gastroprotective Properties
Kalanchoe plant leaves were traditionally used to treat gastric disorders. For example, it was used to treat inflammation, gastric ulcer (also known as a peptic ulcer), and gastritis.
While taking medications can have adverse side effects, scientists discovered that kalanchoe was an effective alternative.
To break it down, what causes ulcer complications is ulcer penetration through the muscular layers of the stomach. Then, this results in acute lesions in the gastric mucosa.
According to research, quercetin is a major compound found in kalanchoe leaves. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antihistamine properties.
These properties work to protect the gastric mucosa from the indomethacin injury caused by penetration, in addition to maintaining the stomach’s defense system and mucosal structure.
As a result, this helps soothe the pain associated with an ulcer, aids in curing it, and healing wounds caused by its complications.
2 – Relieves Headache
The extract of Katakataka’s leaves is one of the most natural and effective migraine treatments.
You can warm its leaf and place it on your forehead for 10 minutes. Alternatively, after heating it, extract its juice and rub it instead. In either case, it’ll help to relieve the pain.
This is one of Africa’s oldest headache remedies, and as they say, old is gold!
3 – Anti-Asthmatic Characteristics
This magical plant has also been shown to treat certain respiratory conditions. Kalanchoe leaf juice exhibited anti-asthmatic, antihistamine, and anti-allergic activity.
This makes it an excellent treatment for chronic cough as well as a fantastic sedative for asthma and palpitation.
In this case, you can boil the leaves to extract the juice, which you can then drink. Another option is to combine the juice with salt and honey, which is an ideal cough remedy.
4 – Wound Healing
Kalanchoe is one of the most traditional ways of healing wounds in Ethiopia. Thanks to research, we now understand why!
Researchers discovered that the major flavonoid found in this plant’s leaves, quercetin, is an essential component in wound healing.
Interestingly, when the plant’s extract was applied to wounds, it produced seamless re-epithelialization and denser collagen fibers.
To put it simply, re-epithelialization is the process of forming and finalizing new epithelium on the skin for effective wound closure.
5 – Muscle Relaxant
Katakataka leaves contain antioxidants that help in reducing muscle soreness. Moreover, its anti-inflammatory properties play a key role in the muscle recovery process. In general, body aches and muscle distress are caused by inflammation.
Thus, kalanchoe leaves are used to treat joint pain, backache, sprains, and other ailments. Simply heat its leaves and apply them to the affected area, repeating until the pain is gone.
6 – Anti-Depressant Effects
The kalanchoe plant has long been known to have central nervous system (CNS) depressant properties. Since 1921, it has been used to treat CNS disorders like depression and psychosis.
The extract of its leaves works to raise the levels of Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a major neurotransmitter in the CNS.
You could say that many of our mood disorders, such as anxiety and schizophrenia, can be attributed to GABA. So naturally, depression begins to kick in when GABA levels are low.
7 – Relieve Foot Soreness
Warming the plant’s leaves and soaking them in hot water is an excellent treatment for foot soreness.
You can rest your feet there for a couple of hours and it’ll work its magic to ease the fatigue. It’ll also work on eliminating any fungal infections that may be present.
8 – Alleviate Toothache
Another illness that Ethiopians rely heavily on medicinal plants to treat is toothaches.
To understand their scientific functions, 130 medical plants used in Ethiopia to treat toothache were studied. Katakataka was, of course, included in this list.
To explain, a toothache is a type of pain that originates from your teeth or an adjacent structure, such as your gums. We can have diseases like periodontitis, gingivitis, and occlusal dysfunction while complaining of a major symptom; toothache.
To treat such conditions, you’ll need something that inhibits oral pathogens, reduces inflammation, and restricts histamine release.
Are these characteristics familiar to you? We’re sure they are!
Kalanchoe plant extract intervenes once again to safeguard your oral health.
9 – Leishmaniasis Treatment
Leishmaniasis is a widespread parasitic disease in tropical countries and southern Europe. It’s typically transmitted to humans through the bite of infected sand flies.
Its symptoms aren’t something we would wish on anyone. They manifest as sores on the skin, weight loss, enlarged spleen and liver, weeks or months of fever, and so on.
Quercitrin exhibited antiparasitic activity, making kalanchoe leaves an effective leishmaniasis treatment. It was put to the test by being administered to a patient with this condition for 14 days.
The results showed that affected areas stopped growing abnormally, and gradually started going back to their usual state. Besides, no side effects were observed during treatment.
10 – Healing Eye Styes
This tiny bump at the end of our eyelids can be extremely irritating! The treatment we’re most familiar with is to compress it with a warm cloth.
How about giving that remedy a twist?
Warming the kalanchoe leaf and applying it to the stye for a single minute can be your shortcut to quick treatment! You can repeat this three times a day until it disappears.
Again, the leaves of this plant have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Both will go hand in hand to help soothe the irritation and eliminate the stye.
11 – Skincare
Kalanchoe extract is loved in the cosmetics industry due to its diverse properties, as it’s used in products for:
The extract helps in reducing wrinkles and fine lines as its components stimulate the surfacing of dense collagen fibers.
It subsequently gives the skin a much smoother appearance while retaining its elasticity.
Kalanchoe has the ideal combination for both preventing and soothing sunburns. It’s high in antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and all of these together form a potent barrier against ultraviolet rays.
If the damage has already been done, the anti-inflammatory properties will take over to soothe the pain. Additionally, it can prevent sunburn from getting worse or progressing to the peeling stage.
Acne is frequently accompanied by skin irritation, which can appear as redness and swelling.
The gracious leaves of katakataka are high in ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which works wonders in treating acne.
Its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial characteristics help to calm irritation and reduce swelling. What’s more, it may aid in reducing the hyperpigmentation caused by acne scars.
12 – Anti-Diabetic
Lastly, we’ll go over the anti-diabetic activities that the plant’s leaves have shown.
Its extract has been shown to lower streptozocin and postprandial diabetes blood glucose levels.
What’s more, it works to promote the secretion of insulin and balance the levels of other compounds associated with diabetes.
All of these properties make kalanchoe useful in diabetes treatment.
Does Kalanchoe Help in Cancer Treatment?
The moment of truth!
The short answer is yes, kalanchoe extract has anti-cancer properties. However, this isn’t a new discovery; this plant has long been used as a cancer treatment by Kerala tribes in India.
The magical extract of kalanchoe contains some bufadienolide compounds that help inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
One of the defining and dangerous characteristics of cancer is the proliferation of cancerous cells. Surprisingly, the kalanchoe compounds work by disrupting the proliferation cycle.
They alter how the chromosomes sync up in the cell during metaphase. In addition to changing the way centrosomes function and resulting in multipolarity.
As a result, the majority of tumor-promoting activities are interrupted. This was demonstrated in a study in which the extract was tested on a lung cancer patient.
The findings show that the compounds found in the plant successfully inhibited tumor growth and induced the cell cycle of proliferation.
What Should You Know Before Using Kalanchoe?
Without a doubt, the katakataka leaf extract is as natural as it gets. However, before taking it orally, there are a few things to consider.
By now, you can see how this extract is rich in a variety of compounds, so it’s only natural that you consult your doctor before taking it if you match any of the following conditions:
- When pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you suffer from a chronic illness or any other medical condition.
- If you’re taking medication that may have an adverse reaction to any of the plant’s components.
- If you are taking antidepressant medication because, as previously mentioned, the plant’s extract affects the CNS.
Learn More About the Kalanchoe Genus
Now it’s time to gain some general knowledge about this amazing genus!
The majority of kalanchoe species are indigenous to tropical Africa and Madagascar. This explains why they were the ones to discover most of the plant’s medicinal properties.
The genus contains approximately 120 succulent species that are members of the Crassulaceae family.
Aside from its therapeutic properties, it’s also popular and adored as an indoor plant. What’s not to love? It has strong, distinctively shaped leaves and can bloom all year with controlled lighting.
One kalanchoe species that stands out with its cheerful flowers and lively blooms is Kalanchoe blossfeldiana, commonly known as Widow’s thrill.
In general, kalanchoe blooms come in stunning hues of red, pink, yellow, and white.
Not to mention how kalanchoes are easy to care for and how resilient they can be. In fact, due to their endurance, a kalanchoe plant symbolizes persistence and eternal love.
Note, however, that growing this plant may take some time due to its relatively slow growth rate. It can take 2-5 years for it to reach its mature size, which ranges from 6-18 inches tall. Though, it’s definitely worth the wait!
Many people, including ourselves, were taken aback by knowing the many kalanchoe benefits. It plays a huge role in treating some of the world’s most serious diseases while simply growing from a pot.
From nourishing your skin to relaxing your back and, finally, treating cancer, this plant’s extract is like a magic potion.
We hope the information shared in this post has helped you discover and learn more about one of nature’s most powerful remedies!
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.