If there is one herb that we should all get to know and use it in our daily lives for it’s many health benefits and uses, it is kuppaimeni. Kuppaimeni is the Tamil name for the herb. Kuppaimeni’ s botanical name is Acalypha Indica and it belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae and genus Acalypha. It is called “Indian Nettle” in English, Indian Acalypha, Kuppameni in Malayalam, Kuppigida in Kannada, Kuppikhokli in Hindi, Haritamanjari in Sanskrit, Kuppi Chettu in Telugu, Khajoti in Marathi, Herbechate in French, Kuppameniya in Sinhalese and Mukhtajhuri in Bengali. The reason it is called “Kuppaimeni | குப்பைமேனி” in Tamil is
because it is a plant that grows everywhere like weed and needs no maintenance at all. It is also called ” பூனை வணங்கி | பூனை மயக்கி” in Tamil because the plants have a strong effect on cats.
Description & Distribution:
Kuppaimeni plants are found commonly in countries like India, Africa, Pakistan, etc. Here in India, you can find this plant growing in abundance along road sides and in waste lands.
Kuppaimeni Chemical Composition:
Kuppaimeni is rich in alkaloids, catachols, flavonoids, phenolic compounds, saponins and steroids. Some of the bioactive compounds found in kuppaimeni that are responsible for many of it’s amazing medicinal uses are 9-Tricosene, Phytol, MOME inositol, Dihydroactinidiolide, Loliolide, Docosanol, 1-Eicosanal, 1-Triacontanol, Octocosanal, Tricosane, etc. Out of these compounds phytol, dihydroactinidiolide and loliolide are the main compounds found in large amounts in the order given.
Kuppaimeni Medicinal Uses:
1. Anti Inflammatory Properties:
Kuppaimeni has amazing anti inflammatory properties. When applied externally, it can reduce inflammation very effectively. We usually apply kuppaimeni poultice on wounds and it reduces the inflammation so quickly.
2. Analgesic Properties:
Kuppaimeni also reduces pain very effectively. Here in our village, we apply the paste of the plant as a poultice on wounds, it helps reduce inflammation and pain. You can read the study that proves it here.
3. Anthelmintic Properties:
Traditionally, kuppaimeni leaf juice or the decoction of the juice is taken to get rid of intestinal worms. This medicinal use has been proven through research too.
4. Antibacterial Properties:
Kuppaimeni has both amazing anti bacterial and anti fungal properties making it one of the best ingredients to use for skin care. We make kuppaimeni oil at home for treating many skin problems like acne, eczema, etc.
5. Anti Venom Properties:
Another amazing medicinal use of kuppaimeni is it’s anti venom properties. The leaf extract inhibits Rusell Vipers venom very effectively.
6. Wound Healing Properties:
Kuppaimeni has been traditionally used to treat wounds. Since it grows in abundance everywhere, we just pound the leaves and apply it as a poultice over the wounds and it helps in fast wound healing.
7. Anti Ulcer Properties:
Kuppaimeni extract have amazing anti ulcer properties too. Consuming kuppaimeni extract has proven to reduce ulceration, gastric secretion and acidity significantly.
8. Anti Diabetic Properties:
Kuppaimeni has been proven to lower blood sugar levels closely and greatly prevents sugar spikes. So it is great for diabetic patients.
9. Larvicidal & Ovicidal Properties:
The leaf extract has been proven to be effective against malaria causing mosquito Anopheles Stephensi. The leaf extract can be used as an effective mosquito repellent spray. You can read the study that proves it here.
10. Antioxidant Properties:
Kuppaimeni has amazing antioxidant properties, consuming kuppaimeni extract scavenges free radicals whic is the main reason for premature ageing.
Kuppaimeni Traditional Uses:
Traditionally kuppaimeni is used to get rid of unwanted hair growth, for treating skin problems like pimples, psoriasis and eczema, to get rid of cough and cold, to treat intestinal worms and also for treating piles. On the first onset of rains, you will find kuppaimeni plants propping up all over the place. Since it is now raining continuously here, the whole farm is filled with kuppaimeni plants | kuppaimeni keerai. Though in some parts of the world, kuppaimeni keerai is consumed regularly as part of the diet, here in our village we normally don’t use it in day to day cooking. We only use it in remedies, especially we use it extensively for treating skin diseases.
Kuppaimeni Side Effects & Toxicity:
Kuppaimeni has been proven to have low toxicity, in one research done on rats, they were given different doses ranging from 100 mg per kg to 500 mg per kg for 30 days and no toxicity was observed. But people who have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency should not consume kuppaimeni as it can lead to hemolysis. Also kuppaimeni has anti fertility properties so if you are planning on pregnancy, don’t internally consume kuppaimeni. You can read the study that supports this claim here.
If you can’t get fresh kuppaimeni plants you can use kuppaimeni powder instead. Kuppaimeni powder is available in all nattu marunthu kadai in Tamil Nadu. You can also order kuppaimeni powder easily through online shops. If you have access to fresh kuppaimeni plants, you can also make your own kuppaimeni powder. To make kuppaimeni powder, sun dry kuppaimeni leaves under hot sun till crisp and then powder in a dry mixer. Sieve to get a fine powder and store it in an airtight bottle….
5 TOP MEDICINAL USES & HEALTH BENEFITS OF KUPPAIMENI:
1. Kuppaimeni Oil For Skin Diseases:
To make kuppaimeni oil, take fresh kuppaimeni leaves, wash and grind it in mixer to a smooth paste. Once it is ground, strain it using a strainer. Now take equal quantity coconut oil and little bit of organic turmeric powder in a pan. Start heating it, it will start sizzling immediately. Once the sizzling sound stops and a nice aroma comes, switch off, cool and strain. Pour this oil in a glass bottle and use it regularly to treat eczema, psoriasis, all minor skin infections, wounds, scrapes and cuts.
2. Kuppaimeni For Permanent Hair Removal:
Kuppaimeni mixed with turmeric powder and korai kizhangu powder is amazing for hair removal. We usually apply this paste all over the face, wait for it to almost dry and then start rubbing in a circular motion. Doing this regularly will stunt facial hair growth and with regular usage the existing facial hair also will fall off. The time it takes to remove facial hair will vary from person to person as it largely depends on how coarse the facial hair is.
3. Kuppaimeni For Wound Healing:
Like I mentioned above kuppaimeni has been proven to be very effective for wound healing. We have kuppaimeni plants growing all over our place. So any time we get hurt, we just collect the leaves and wash it under running water to remove any dirt. Now take the leaves in a mortar and pestle and pound it nicely to get a coarse paste. Apply this paste as a poultice on the affected area and tie it with a thin cloth to secure it. Leave it on for a few hours before removing it.
4. Kuppaimeni For Cold & Cough:
Kuppaimeni decoction when had during cold and cough will greatly help treat it. For the remedy, take a handful of fresh kuppaimeni leaves after washing it well in a pot along with a cup of water. Now boil the liquid till the colour of the water changes and the water reduces in half. Now take 1/4 cup of this liquid to treat cold and cough. This liquid can be also used to get rid of intestinal worms too. But please remember that kuppaimeni has anti fertility properties so if you are trying for a baby please
don’t use this remedy.
5. Kuppaimeni Face Pack For Acne:
Kuppaimeni is one of the best ingredients to use for skin care as it has wonderful anti bacterial properties. It really does wonders to skin, you can use either fresh leaf paste or kuppaimeni powder available in the shops. Both will work really well. For the face pack, take 1 tsp of kuppaimeni powder in a bowl, add in 1/4 tsp of kasturi turmeric powder to it. Now add enough rice water to form a paste and apply it as a face pack. Both kasturi turmeric and kuppaimeni effectively treats acne and rice water is very soothing to apply on inflamed, acne prone skin. If you are suffering from acne, I would highly recommend this pack.