Bougainvillea is something that’s hard to miss. Native to tropical regions of the planet, it is commonly used for adorning fences, gates and trellises. Other than for ornamental purposes, bougainvillea is also popularly used medicinally most especially in South America, but rarely in other parts of the world such as Asia.
Potted or not, bougainvillea is very good at climbing, thanks to the help of the thorns that grace its stems. However, it may be necessary to support the stems to keep the plant from drooping. Especially when the conditions are right, bougainvillea can bear flowers throughout the year.
Speaking of flowers, the actual blooms of bougainvillea are tiny white or yellow ones — the paper-like structures around them are actually called bracts, which are modified leaves that are larger and more colorful than the actual flowers themselves. Other than red, bougainvillea bracts may come in pink, purple, white and yellow.
Just about every part of bougainvillea may be used medicinally, from the stems, leaves, bracts to the flowers themselves. The leaves are employed by traditional healers for their anti-inflammatory properties. The flowers and bracts may be steeped in boiling water and consumed as tea that offers health benefits.
According to modern-day investigations, what makes bougainvillea possess certain medicinal properties is the presence of a few substances in the plant. Some of them are alkaloids that offer marked physiological effects on humans. Then there are also enzymes that bring about biochemical reactions. Bougainvillea also has a few amino acids.
Without further ado, here are some of the surprising health benefits of the beautiful bougainvillea:
It Helps Ease Cough
One of the most popular medicinal uses of bougainvillea is for cough relief, most especially in South America. The flowers and bracts are allowed to steep in boiling water for several minutes, and then consumed to promote breathing.
It Also Alleviates Sore Throat
The same tea out of bougainvillea flowers and bracts may also be consumed when you have a sore throat. The healthy drink’s anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties can help you attain immediate relief.
It May be Used for Indigestion
You may consume the said tea when you are having a bout of indigestion. A lot of people in South America who have acid reflux also take bougainvillea tea in order to put their very uncomfortably tummy issue to an end.
It is Superb for Ulcers
Similarly, you may consume tea out of bougainvillea flowers and bracts if you have stomach ulcers. The anti-inflammatory properties of the beverage can help soothe the ulcerations, letting you attain relief from the pain they bring.
It Helps Put Diarrhea to an End
There is another GI benefit of bougainvillea, and that is managing diarrhea. Having diarrhea controlled is vital for the prevention of dehydration, which in itself comes with an assortment of complications.
It May be Beneficial for Diabetics
Another traditional medicinal use of bougainvillea is for controlling diabetes. It is said that bougainvillea leaf extracts help keep the levels of sugar in the blood from spiking, which is highly beneficial for those with diabetes.
It is Also Used for Hepatitis
Especially in South America, bougainvillea is employed for treating hepatitis. Since hepatitis is a very serious disease which is characterized by the inflammation of the liver, it’s important for you to seek the help of a doctor.
It Helps Raise the Blood Pressure
Hypotension or abnormally low blood pressure can be managed with the help of bougainvillea. Definitely, those with hypertension or high blood pressure should stay away from consuming bougainvillea flower and bract tea.
It Alleviates Joint Pain
Last but not the least, poultice out of the various parts of bougainvillea may be placed on painful and swollen joints. That’s because bougainvillea is known to possess anti-inflammatory properties.