Tradescantia zebrina (Wandering Jew): Medicinal ornamental plant

Tradescantia commonly known as spiderwort are herbaceous perennial plants. The genus Tradescantia contains around 75 herbaceous species which are either climber or trailer. One of the most common species of tradescantia is Tradescantia zebrina.

This plant T. zebrina is also known as Wandering Jew. The plant is not only a beautiful ornamental plant but also is full of medicinal properties.

The main pharmacological activities of this plant are anticancer, antioxidant, antibacterial, antitrypanosomal, antierrythemicic and larvicidal (1).

Botanical description

Nature

A herbaceous perennial plant, fleshy leaves and creeping shoots.

Leaves

Leaves are dark violet colour in the bottom and have wide silver colour strips.

Flowers

The flowers are purple to pink in colour and bloom throughout the year.

Health benefits of Tradescantia zebrina or Wandering Jew

This plant is widely used in Chinese, Jamaican, Mexican and Malaysian traditional medicinal system. Health benefits of Tradescantia zebrina are as follows

1. Antioxidant activity

The leaves of T. zebrina possess antioxidant properties (2).

2. Antibacterial property

Tradescantia leaves possess a strong antibacterial activity against Bacillus, Staphylococcus, Enterococcus and Proteus species (2). 

3. Antiarrhythmic property

The leaves of Tradescantia also have compounds which help in treating abnormal heart rhythms (3).

4. Acetylcholine inhibitory property

Tradescantia has compounds which help in the inhibition or breakdown of acetylcholine. Thus helps in the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer’s or other central nervous system related problems (3).

How to take care of Tradescantia zebrina

The plant is a herbaceous climber in nature. This plant can be grown both in the pot and also as a hanging position. This plant can be grown in any type of soil and requires moderate sunlight. T. zebrina can survive both indoor and outdoor. Watering is important. Make sure that you can water the plant every day or whenever the topsoil becomes dry. Fertilize once in two months will be sufficient enough for its normal healthy growth. 

Toxicity to pets

Safe for dogs and Cats

References

  1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/330838595_Tradescantia_Zebrina_-_Mother_Nature_Healing
  2. https://dx.doi.org/10.3390%2Fantiox3040758
  3. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/zebrina
  4. d180/ff8a1f2f6b07da120cc77fdb87fd24db41b6.pdf

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