Biophytum helenae

Scientific Name:Biophytum helenae   
Vernacular Name: Nyiramabumba
Family name : Nyiramabumba
Geographic Distribution:Clearings in montane rainforest, ruderal places, fallows, 1600- 2600 m.

Botanical Description

Annual herb, stems erect, simple, up to 10-15 cm tall. Leaves alternate, fascicles, or almost whorled at apex of stem, paripinnate, up to 2-15 cm long, with 5-21 pairs of leaflets, leafleats subsessile, the apical one usually the largest, obliquely  ovate, rounded at apex, truncate at the base. Inflorescence a 3-10 flowered umbellate axillary raceme. Flower pinkish-purple, petal spatulate, up to 1 cm long. Fruit an obovoide capsule up to 0.2 cm in diameter.


Medicinal Use

The plant is used with small child with fever. Pound the whole plant, including the roots,add cold water and wash the child with the preparation three times a day. The juice from crushed leaves treat eye diseases. A traditional healer in the Western of Rwanda named Nsanzubuhoro uses macerations from Biophycum helenae whole plant in the treatment of psychotic diseases.


Other Use

The plant is sensitive to touch, and the leaflets are closing  together upwards.

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