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What Are the Medical Uses of Tradescantia Zebrina?

Tradescantia zebrina, with its striking leaves, isn't just a pretty houseplant—it's a medicinal marvel. Used traditionally to soothe cuts and respiratory issues, its antioxidant properties are now catching modern science's eye. Imagine a natural remedy, growing in your living room, with secrets yet to be fully unlocked. What potential healing powers could this plant hold for you? Explore its possibilities with us.
Britt Archer
Britt Archer

Tradescantia zebrina is a native trailing plant of Mexico that has been used medicinally in an herbal tea in Jamaica to treat the common cold. The plant, also known as Wandering Jew, is used additionally to treat problems of the uterus, high blood pressure and tuberculosis. Sometimes Tradescantia zebrina is used in a mixture with other types of herbs to treat amenorrhea and to strengthen the blood. Matali, a Mexican beverage made with lemon and Tradescantia zebrina, is another medicinal remedy. The mixture is brought to a boil and steeped for a few minutes, just as one would make a cup of black tea. The beverage is sweetened and consumed cold as a tonic for improved health.

Anyone who handles Tradescantia zebrina either medicinally or in the garden should be aware that it can cause itching and other allergic reactions in susceptible people. Known also as Zebrina pendula for its trailing habit, the plant makes a lovely showing in window boxes and hanging baskets, both outdoors and indoors. Gardeners can also plant it as a groundcover, but some people who use the plant this way take extra care to keep it restricted in its own container because the Wandering Jew, as its name implies, likes to wander and escape its boundaries.

Tradescantia zebrina is used in herbal tea in Jamaica to cure the common cold.
Tradescantia zebrina is used in herbal tea in Jamaica to cure the common cold.

The plant has a habit of dropping pieces of its colorful leafy stems, outdoors or indoors, and these fallen pieces can take root in virtually any type of soil. Gardeners who enjoy making cuttings of their plants to give as gifts to friends or to expand their own plant collection like the plant’s ability to propagate easily in soil or water, although this tendency makes other people consider the Wandering Jew invasive in a garden and a bit messy in the home. The Tradescantia zebrina, despite this problem, is still valued by many for its tenacity and looks.

The common cold usually lasts one to two weeks.
The common cold usually lasts one to two weeks.

Tradescantia zebrina is valued for its foliage, although under ideal conditions it does produce tiny flowers. Depending on the variety, the flowers can be either pink or white. The leaves are about 2 inches (5.08 centimeters) long, dark green and silver with purple edging, and purple undersides. Wandering Jew, also known as Creeping Jenny, Red Water Grass and inch plant, is a succulent that grows well in shade with a few mistings of water per day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Tradescantia zebrina?

People with tuberculosis, which commonly affects the lungs and causes night sweats and fever, may benefit from using Tradescantia zebrina.
People with tuberculosis, which commonly affects the lungs and causes night sweats and fever, may benefit from using Tradescantia zebrina.

The plant species Tradescantia zebrina belongs to the family Commelinaceae and is native to Mexico and Central America. It is a perennial plant with a 30 cm maximum height and 30 cm maximum width. It has tiny, purple blooms and leaves with stripes of purple, green, and white. It also goes by the moniker "Wandering Jew."

What are the medicinal properties of Tradescantia zebrina?

For millennia, people have used Tradescantia zebrina for medicinal purposes. It is renowned for its antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been used to treat infections, wounds, and skin diseases in conventional medicine. On top of all those, it is also said to have anti-nausea, anti-fever, and pain-relieving qualities. Its potential for treating cancer has been the focus of recent research.

Which parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes?

Tradescantia zebrina is a plant whose leaves, stems, and flowers are all utilized as medicines. The dried, ground-up leaves and stems are used to make medicines, ointments, and beverages. The blossoms may be used dried or fresh, and they are often turned into an extract or infusion.

How is Tradescantia zebrina used for medicinal purposes?

Tradescantia zebrina can be used in various forms. The leaves and stems can be steeped in hot water to create a tea or added to other liquid preparations like tinctures or extracts. The flowers can be turned into an infusion or extract, or they can be dried and incorporated into other preparations.

Are there any possible side effects of using Tradescantia zebrina for medicinal purposes?

Similar to any herbal remedy, there may be potential side effects when using Tradescantia zebrina medicinally. Some individuals may encounter nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. It is also crucial to note that Tradescantia zebrina may interact with specific medications, so it is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using it. Generally, taking small doses of Tradescantia zebrina is considered safe.

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Discussion Comments

anon961690

How do I make the herbal tea?

anon297053

Why is the Zebrina called "Wandering Jew?"

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    • Tradescantia zebrina is used in herbal tea in Jamaica to cure the common cold.
      By: memo_frame
      Tradescantia zebrina is used in herbal tea in Jamaica to cure the common cold.
    • The common cold usually lasts one to two weeks.
      By: svetamart
      The common cold usually lasts one to two weeks.
    • People with tuberculosis, which commonly affects the lungs and causes night sweats and fever, may benefit from using Tradescantia zebrina.
      By: michaeljung
      People with tuberculosis, which commonly affects the lungs and causes night sweats and fever, may benefit from using Tradescantia zebrina.