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He Huan Hua · Mimosa Tree Flower

Originating in central China, Japan, and southern Korea, this exquisite flower emerges from the Mimosa tree (Albizia julibrissin). Stretching upwards of 40 feet in height, the Mimosa boasts fern-like leaves and produces 7-inch toxic seed pods. At full maturation, this tree reveals stunning pom-pom flowers in bright shades of pink. With their round and delicate thread-like appearance, these blossoms aptly earned the name “Silk Tree”. Although not native to the United States, it was introduced as an ornamental plant by French Botanist Andre Michaux in 1787, and 235 years later you can still spot this tree thriving in the warm and sunny climates of the southern United States.

The Truth is…

Mimosa has earned itself the reputation of an invasive species, surpassing native plants in terms of sheer survival prowess, and currently poses an ecological threat to the U.S. regions it grows wild within. It thrives effortlessly in disturbed soil, defying challenges like salt, drought, wind, and shade.

mimosa pod

With a faster maturation rate than native plants, the Mimosa bursts into abundant blooms, its extensive propagation driven by its resilient, winter-hardy, seed pods. Each pod can contain up to 12 viable seeds for 5-10 years! Towering canopies of double compound leaves offer shade that will overshadow smaller native plants. Belonging to the Fabaceae family, the Mimosa falls under the category of legumes, so it is capable of nitrogen fixation. The durable seed pods, strewn across the ground, are thus laden with nitrogen. When reintegrated into the soil, they change the composition, ultimately disadvantaging native species via nutrients. The lifetime of one mimosa lasts up to three decades.

If You Can’t Beat ’em, Eat ’em

However, let’s view this scenario as a challenge with a silver lining, motivating our U.S. wildcrafters to enhance their efforts in managing, controlling, and harvesting these valuable medicinal treasures. Mimosa is certainly a useful find and offers powerful medicine if you know how to use it! Removing the vibrant pom-poms stops seeding and offers an enjoyable, distinct herb for culinary and practical purposes.

Traditional Uses & Benefits:

Delving deeper than its captivating appearance, He Huan Hua takes on a vital role in the realm of Chinese Medicine. This flower, along with its bark counterpart, known as He Huan Pi, boasts remarkable medicinal qualities tailored to address emotional imbalances. It soothes the spirit, or what Chinese Medicine calls “Shen.” The earliest record of its usage can be traced back to the Shen Nong Ben Cao (Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica), dating back to the 2nd century.

If you have ever experienced the weight of emotional tension pressing on your chest or emotions that led to stomach discomfort, this TCM herb might just be the addition your cabinet is craving. In TCM it is often suggested during periods of profound grief, and has garnered the nickname of the “collective happiness tree” for a reason- Its flowers provide a light, airy, euphoria.

mimosa

The Nature

According to TCM, the herbal nature of He Huan Hua is sweet and neutral. It enters the Stomach and Liver meridians and augments the Heart and Spleen. A standout feature of this botanical wonder lies in its knack for revitalizing the blood and circulation, offering relief from the grip of Liver Qi stagnation, a condition recognized in Chinese Medicine as closely related to feelings of irritability, constraint emotion, and even depression. Mimosa is also a natural solution for insomnia, gently guiding restless minds into a peaceful sleep. According to TCM, it can benefit one’s memory and brighten the eyes.

The Mimosa tree bark (He Huan Pi), also sweet and neutral, steps up with its own set of curative powers. It works wonders to ease pain, regenerate flesh, heal bones, and reduce swelling linked to chronic pain or trauma. Its quality is more anchoring, while He Huan Hua’s quality is more lifting. For patients who seek the uplifting effects of the flower but are currently grappling with a lack of clarity, motivation, or a sense of disconnection, a combination of the bark and flower could prove advantageous.

The “Collective Happiness Tree”

Mimosa possesses a unique beauty in its ability to alleviate emotional tension by promoting relaxation, enabling you to embrace your emotions with openness and self-kindness. Unlike antidepressants that often numb or suppress feelings, Mimosa doesn’t create an emotional block and avoids the associated risks that pharmaceuticals pose.

In recent years there has been some indication that exposure to antidepressants might elevate the risk of suicide among children and young adults. In my view, holistic methods like this can be beneficial for treating young individuals, especially those cautious about pharmaceutical approaches. Given that untreated depression continues to be one of the leading contributors to suicide risk, having a low-risk option that a patient is comfortable with holds significant importance.

This blog is not a replacement for medical advice. If you’re dealing with depression, emotional instability, or similar concerns, it’s important to consult a qualified mental health practitioner. Eastern Medicine and holistic care can complement any existing medical guidance you’re receiving.

Mimosa can also help with the pain and moodiness brought on by PMS symptoms stemming from Liver Qi stagnation, and a simple flower tea can quiet the negative internal dialogue that sometimes stifles our good intentions and drive to do more or challenge ourselves. I use mimosa flowers in mocktails for a healthy spirit substitute that offers a soothing touch without the intensity. It doesn’t look or taste too shabby either! You can also utilize flowers as food garnishes or ingredients in dishes like soups, cakes, sushi, crudos, and fruit salads.

Tasty!

Mimosa flowers are sweet and citrusy, and have a floral note similar to gardenia. The pink flowers can be picked and steeped in hot water for a relaxing herbal tea. The bark can also be steeped, though knowledge of balancing the directional qualities of the two may take some experience.

A Substance to Calm the SpiritNeutral, SweetChannels: Liver, StomachUsed raw: 4.5 – 9g
· He Huan Hua Properties ·
Better for soothing the Liver, unbinding the Stomach, and promoting memory & sleep [1]
A Substance to Calm the SpiritNeutral, SweetChannels: Liver, Heart, (Lung), (Spleen)Tincture: 2-4 ml
Raw: 6 – 30g
· He Huan Pi Properties ·
Better to invigorate the blood, stop pain & reduce swellings [2]

Modern Research & Safety on Mimosa:

Albizia is believed to bolster the entire process of neurotransmitter secretion/ regulation and, in animal models, has shown anti-depressive action mediated through 5-HT1A receptors (a subtype of serotonin receptor) [4]. This mechanism underlies its ability to induce a sense of euphoria and upliftment while promoting relaxation.

Notably, research findings indicate a pronounced antioxidant activity associated with the bark.

“The main ingredients in A. julibrissin include triterpenoids, lignans, flavonoids, saponins, sterols, etc. (Li, Tian, Luo, & Li, 2022). Preclinical studies have shown that these ingredients exhibited a broad array of pharmacological activities ranging from antidepressant and anxiolytic (Li, 2017Li, Tian, Luo, & Li, 2022Li, 2017Wang et al., 2021Yang & Li, 2019), anti-inflammation (Yang & Li, 2019), anti-oxidation (Sobeh et al., 2017Shi et al., 2019), and antitumor (Qian et al., 2017Yu et al., 2016) to enhance immunological function (Sobeh et al., 2017)”.


Huang B, Wu Y, Li C, Tang Q, Zhang Y. Molecular basis and mechanism of action of Albizia julibrissin in depression treatment and clinical application of its formulae. Chinese Herbal Medicines. Published online March 2023. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chmed.2022.10.004

Proper Usage and Precautions:

Mimosa flowers have no reported side effects, making them a safe herbal therapy.

*** As a reminder, please note that the content of this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult an NCCAOM-certified herbal medicine practitioner for recommendations and use TCM herbal medicinals at your discretion ***.

He Huan Pi, however, is contraindicated in all cases absent of Qi &/or Blood stagnation and should never be used by pregnant women without the guidance of an NCCAOM licensed practitioner.

Conclusion:

He Huan Hua stands as a testament to nature’s exquisiteness and its boundless healing potential. Embracing its sweet and neutral essence, Chinese Medicine employs He Huan Hua and He Huan Pi to restore emotional balance, alleviate pain, and calm the restless spirit. With proven medicinal benefits, this beautiful flower remains a beloved remedy for those seeking solace and healing.

Bibliography
1. He Huan Hua - 合歡花 - Flos Albizziae - Chinese Herbs - American Dragon - Dr Joel Penner OMD, LAc. www.americandragon.com. Accessed 2023. https://www.americandragon.com/Individualherbsupdate/HeHuanHua.html
2. He Huan Pi - 合歡皮 - Cortex Albizziae - Chinese Herbs - American Dragon - Dr Joel Penner OMD, LAc. www.americandragon.com. Accessed 2023. https://www.americandragon.com/Individualherbsupdate/HeHuanPi.html
3. Huang B, Wu Y, Li C, Tang Q, Zhang Y. Molecular basis and mechanism of action of Albizia julibrissin in depression treatment and clinical application of its formulae. Chinese Herbal Medicines. Published online March 2023. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chmed.2022.10.004
4. Kim JH, Kim SY, Lee SY, Jang CG. Antidepressant-like effects of Albizzia julibrissin in mice: Involvement of the 5-HT1A receptor system. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 2007;87(1):41-47. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pbb.2007.03.018

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. No product mentioned herein is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. For educational purposes only.

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