Balsamina angustifolia Blume
Balsamina balsamina (L.) Huth
Balsamina coccinea DC.
Balsamina cornuta DC.
Balsamina foeminea Gaertn.
Balsamina hortensis Desp.
Balsamina lacca Medik.
Balsamina minutiflora Span.
Balsamina mollis G.Don
Balsamina odorata Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don
Balsamina racemosa Buch.-Ham. ex D.Don
Impatiens eriocarpa Launert
Impatiens giorgii De Wild.
Impatiens stapfiana Gilg
Common Name: Rose Balsam
Rose balsam is an annual to perennial plant with weak, succulent stems, growing around 60cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine, dye etc, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in the tropics and warm temperate zones[
Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content[
]. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant[
]. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet[
E. Asia - China, India, Myanmar.
Waste places in and around villages[
]. Wet, rather open localities or as forest undergrowth, at elevations from sea-level up to 1,250 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Originally from India and Myanmar, the plant is widely naturalized through the tropics, subtropics and warmer areas of the temperate zone.
Succeeds in any reasonably good soil[
]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist well-drained humus rich soil in a cool site[
]. Succeeds in sun or semi-shade[
Plants can flower all year round in warm climates[
]. They have seed capsules that spring open forcibly as the seed ripens to eject the seed a considerable distance. They are a common escape from cultivation, naturalizing in disturbed areas[
]. It is classed as an invasive weed in many parts of the world[
A polymorphic species[
], there are several named forms selected for their ornamental value[
The seed capsules are sensitive to touch even before the seed is ripe, making seed collection difficult but fun[
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 crushed leaves are used as a poultice on wounds and skin inflammations[
]. They are combined with salt and castor oil to make a poultice that is packed around a finger affected by whitlow; the whitlow disappears in a short time[
]. The mix is also used to heal torn finger and toe nails[
The flowers are cooling, mucilaginous and tonic[
]. They are useful, having a cooling effect, 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[
A decoction of the roots is drunk to treat irregular menses[
The roots are sometimes crushed and used to poultice wounds, inflammations of the skin and torn nails[
A dye is obtained from the flowers and leaves[
]. Red flowers are most commonly used[
]. The prepared juice has been used instead of henna (Lawsonia alba) 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[
Seed - sow in situ.
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