What is Eclipta Alba?

C. K. Lanz

Eclipta alba is a plant with small white flowers that is associated with natural and Ayurvedic medicine. The leaf extract is used as a liver and hair tonic and to relieve scorpion stings and snake bites. Skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and athlete’s foot are also treated with the plant. A black dye made from this plant is sometimes used to color hair or in tattooing. More commonly known as false dairy, karisalankanni, or yerba de tago, Eclipta alba grows throughout the world in moist environments.

Leaves of the Eclipta alba can ease scorpion stings.
Leaves of the Eclipta alba can ease scorpion stings.

This bitter-tasting plant grows prolifically in Brazil, China, and Thailand. Eclipta alba is a creeping plant with small green leaves. The roots are slightly gray and cylindrical, and the flowers are tiny and bright white. In the United States, this plant is commonly considered to be invasive or a weed and is found throughout the country with the exception of the Pacific Northwest and the Great Plains.

Eclipta alba is sometimes used to treat mild toothaches.
Eclipta alba is sometimes used to treat mild toothaches.

Practitioners of traditional medicine have used the plant's roots, stems, and leaves for millennia to treat a wide variety of ailments. Liver and gallbladder problems, hepatitis and jaundice are all diseases that have been treated with this plant. The liquid extract can be given to patients with memory difficulties, anxiety, and vision problems.

Proponents of eclipta alba believe it can be used to help liver and gallbladder problems.
Proponents of eclipta alba believe it can be used to help liver and gallbladder problems.

One of the primary uses of Eclipta alba is as a hair tonic that is believed to promote the growth of healthy and strong hair. This use is especially common in India. The leaf powder is a common ingredient in many Ayuvedic hair oils. It can also be consumed in caplet form and is said to help maintain the hair’s natural color.

Liver and gallbladder problems have been treated with eclipta alba.
Liver and gallbladder problems have been treated with eclipta alba.

In addition to its use as a hair tonic, the leaf powder is also said to improve bone, teeth, and skin health. Sight, memory, and hearing are believed to improve by consuming Eclipta alba leaf powder. The herb is used in Ayurvedic medicine to support healthy liver and lung function as well.

In China and Brazil the Eclipta alba plant is a common antivenin for snake bites. A portion of the entire plant is crushed with bark from the kurchi tree. This mixture is then made into a drink and given to the snake bite victim. The leaves can also be used to soothe the pain of a scorpion sting.

The entire plant is commonly used in Taiwan to treat bleeding, itching, and gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea. Leaf extract mixed with honey is given to infants with catarrh. The pain of a toothache is said to be soothed by rubbing the plant on the gums.

A black dye can be extracted from the plant's leaves by boiling them for several hours and then allowing half of the liquid to evaporate. This dye is used to color hair as well as clothing. It can also be used in tattooing.

Eclipta alba is an herb that can be consumed as a powder, tincture, or tea infusion. It can possibly interact with other supplements or medications. It is advisable to consult with a medical professional prior to beginning a regimen of this herb.

Ayurvedic practices originated in India.
Ayurvedic practices originated in India.

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