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Peperomia Pellucida: This Tiny Thing Helps You from Healthcare to Home Cleanliness

Priyanka Menon
Priyanka Menon

Peperomia pellucida is a plant that always evokes nostalgia and is like taking a trip down the memory lane.  One can easily say that there are very few such plants that bring back so many childhood memories. It might remind the elderly of their school days, of the frantic runs to school through small alleys with slate, pencil, and this plant stem in hand.

They narrate instances when they would pick up its thick stick, rubs it in their hand, blow it and tap it on their forehead and chin just for fun. It could also be said that the elderly, in their time, have probably learned the early lessons in the trade and exchange system from this plant Peperomia pellucida.

There was a time when they gave the plant away in exchange for some candy and pencils. Not only has the ink lost its glory, but time has erased it from the human mind. It can be found in any moist soil, both in urban and rural areas. This small herbaceous plant looks very beautiful and is a treat for the eyes.  The plant can be used not only to clean dirty slate but also as a food substance, as a painkiller, and as an ornamental plant. Many people are not aware that this plant also has medicinal values.

The plant is known all over Kerala by various names such as water hyacinth, betel leaf green, mirror green, ink green, maka green, kolumashi, and water drinker. The scientific name of this plant is "Peperomia pellucida". This plant is also known in foreign countries as Silver Bush, Pepper Elder Plant, and Shining Bush Plant. This plant is found not only in Asia but also in North America. The climate in India, especially in Kerala, is favorable for its growth. The plant is characterized by its flat roots and heart-shaped leaves. This plant is found abundantly in tropical and subtropical regions. The plant grows to a height of 15 cm to 45 cm. It has a very short life span of only one year. The stalks are very thin as they contain a lot of water. Therefore, the stalks break very quickly. The seeds can be seen as spots on the rising stalk. These seeds smell like crushed green mustard seeds.

We can understand the principle of absorption of water by a plant very well by observing this plant. When its stem is dipped in ink, it can be seen that the stem absorbs the color of that ink. It is kept at homes as an ornamental plant nowadays. It is very beneficial to place it inside the house as it can purify the air. Apart from giving a beautiful look to space, it also purifies the air inside. In Kerala, a very tasty and healthy food delicacy is prepared using its leaf and stalk. It is also an excellent pain killer. The leaves and stalks of this plant can be squeezed and applied on the forehead to relieve headaches. This plant has is also known to bring about an improvement in kidney diseases. As a cleaning agent, the phytol component contained in it is useful in removing any dirt inside the house. The most practical method is to remove the roots of the plant and use it as a poultice. Drinking the juice made out of its leaf and stalk in the summers reduces body heat and can keep us refreshed. It is also a popular ingredient in products sold in the beauty industry. It is very useful in treating skin disorders like acne too.  

It can be used as a face pack. It is used as a medicine for cough in the Amazon region and Guyana. It is widely used in the Philippines to reduce uric acid levels in the body. It is also used to lower cholesterol in the people of North-eastern Brazil. The significance of this plant can be clearly understood from the above facts. The price of this plant in the global market may come as a shock to the Malayali’s. It is high time we understand the importance of this plant and bring back its glory….

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