Home Herbal Monograph Sensitive Plant

Found in tropical and sub-tropical parts of India.

Morphology Description (Habit)

M.pudica is a diffuse undershrub, 50-90 cm. high. The stem and rachis are clothed with prickles; the leaves are bipinnate, pinnae 2-4, digitatively arranged, with 10-20 pairs of leaflets; the flowers in pinkish globose heads; the pods, small, flat, straw-coloured, with many bristles; the seeds, 3-5.

Principal Constituents

M.pudica contains a toxic alkaloid, mimosine identical with leucenine from Leucaena glauca (q.v.). The leaves, stems and roots give positive tests for alkaloids, but the total quantity present is small. An adrenaline-like substance has been identified in the extracts of leaves; a perfusion of mimosa ground in Ringer`s solution showed adrenaline action on isolated frog heart. Crocetin dimethyl ester is present in the plant. The roots contain tannin (c. 10%)1.
The seeds of the plant contain a mucilage composed of d -xylose and d -glucuronic acid. They yield 17% of greenish yellow fatty oil 2.
The plant contains tubulin which shows the ability to bind colchicine with its sulfhydryl groups. A new class of phytohormones-turgorines are active in the plant. These periodic leaf movement factors are derivatives of 4-O-(ß-D- glucopyranosyl-6-sulphate) gallic acid3.


It has been observed that in rats with experimental injury of the sciatic nerve, the process of regeneration of the nerve was 30-40 per cent higher in rats treated with M.pudica extract, as compared to hydrocortisone treated group. The extract was given parenterally(1.6mg/100g) every 4th day upto 120 days4.

Clinical Studies

The aqueous extract of the root powder after pilot studies on patients with dysfunctional uterine bleeding (menorrhagia) showed promise 5.


LD50 of 50% ethanol extract was found to be more than 1000mg/kg (intraperitoneally) in albino rats6.


A decoction of the root of the plant is considered useful in gravel and other urinary complaints. A paste of the leaves is applied to glandular swellings; the juice of the leaves is used in dressings for sinus and also as an application for sores and piles 7. The whole plant is crushed and used against itching; it also relieves scabies patches. A decoction of the root is taken to relieve asthma and diarrhea8.

  1. Manske & Holmes, I, 211; Heilbron & Bunbury, III, 175; Webb, Bull, sci. industr. Res Org. Aust., No. 268, 1952, 54; Chem. Abstr., 1950, 44, 2180; 1948, 42, 3812; 1949, 43, 3475; Banerji et. al., Trans. Bose Res. Inst., 1946, 16, 155.
  2. Hulyalkar et. al., J. Indian chem. Soc., 1956, 33, 864; Aggarwal & Karimullah, J. sci. industr. Res., 1945-46, 4, 80.
  3. Chem Abstr, 1992, 116, 250688; 1990, 112, 73778; 1992, 117, 146660.
  4. Prasad, G. C., et. al., J. Res. Ind. Med., 1975, 10(4), 37.
  5. Vaidya, G.H. and Seth, U.K. M. pudica - its medicinal value and pilot clinical use in patients with menorrhagia, Ancient sci. Life, 1986, 5(3), 156-160.
  6. Bhakuni, D.S., et. al., Screening of Indian plants for biological activities. Indian J. Exptl. Biol. 7: 250, 1969.
  7. Kirt. & Basu, II, 915; Nadkarni, I 799.
  8. Kapur, Indian Drugs, 1991, 28, 210; Mohiddin et. al., Int J Pharmacog, 1992, 30, 105; Ganesan, Geobios, 1993, 20, 264.