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Common Name: Garden balsam,Rose Balsam .It is called kamantigue in the Philippines.In Bengal it is called Dopati
Habitat : Native to India, southeast Asia and Myanmar.Waste places in and around villages.
It is an annual plant growing to 20–75 cm tall, with a thick, but soft stem. The leaves are spirally-arranged, 2.5–9 cm long and 1–2.5 cm broad, with a deeply toothed margin. The flowers are red, pink, purple, or white, and 2.5–5 cm diameter; they are pollinated by bees and other insects, and also by nectar-feeding birds.
It is frost tender. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.
Height: 0.5 to 2.5 feet
Spread: 0.5 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: May – To frost
Bloom Color: Pink, rose, red, purple, white and bicolor.
The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool site. Another report says that this species requires warm, moist conditions. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade. Plants are not frost hardy, but can be grown outdoors in Britain by sowing the seed in a greenhouse and planting out after the last expected frosts. A polymorphic species, there are several named forms selected for their ornamental value. This plant has seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. The capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun.
Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Edible Parts: Leaves; Seed.
Leaves and young shoots – cooked. Seed – raw or cooked. They are difficult to collect in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch.
The plant is cathartic, diuretic and emetic. It is used in the treatment of pains in the joints. The leaf juice is used as a treatment against warts. The flowers are cooling, mucilaginous and tonic. They are useful when applied to burns and scalds. The juice of the flowers is used to treat snakebites. The flowers, and their alcoholic extract, possess marked antibiotic activity against some pathogenic fungi and bacteria. The seed is expectorant and has been used in the treatment of cancer. The powdered seeds are given to women during labour in order to provide strength.
Different parts of the plant are used to treat disease and skin afflctions; the leaves, seeds, and stems are also edible if cooked. Juice from balsam leaves treats warts and also snakebite, while the flower can be applied to burns to cool the skin.
A dye is obtained from the flowers and leaves. The prepared juice has been used for dyeing finger and toenails red. The seed contains 27% of a viscous oil, though the report does not mention if this oil is utilised for any purpose.Many times it is grown in garden for beautification.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.