The health benefits of Cattail are such that it provides natural antiseptic properties, helps in preventing Anaemia, provides skin care, helps in cancer prevention, provides steady increase in energy, has cardio tonic and lipid-lowering effects, helps in reducing the risks of atherosclerosis, aids in controlling diabetes, controls Hypertension, helps to gain weight, improves digestion, acts as an Analgesic.
Cattails are wetland plants with a unique flowering spike, flat blade like leaves that reach heights from 3 to 10 feet. They are one of the most common plants which thrive in large marshes and on the edge of ponds. Two species of Cattail are most common and they are broad leaved cattail (T. latifolia) and narrow leaf cattail (T. angustifolia). Cattails can grow and spread vigorously. The pollinated flowers develop into fluffy seed heads, blowing across a pond in autumn breezes. Cattails can also spread through their root system. The thick, white roots, called rhizomes, grow underground near the edge of ponds and in shallow swales. Cattails prefer shallow, flooded conditions and easily get established along a pond shoreline or in waters one to 1.5 feet or less in depth. When unimpeded however, the cattail beds will expand and can extend their hefty rhizomes well out into pond surface, actually floating above much deeper waters. Cattails need to have “wet feet” during most of the growing season.
Cattail is a good source of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Consuming 19 gram of cattail offers 0.144 mg of Manganese, 4.3 µg of Vitamin K, 12 mg of Magnesium, 0.9 g of Total dietary fibre, 0.17 mg of Iron, 0.023 mg of Vitamin B6 and 21 mg of Sodium.
An important health benefit of cattail is its natural antiseptic property, which has been known for various cultures through generations. The jelly-like substance that is found between young leaves can be used on wounds and other areas of the body where foreign agents, pathogens, or microbes might do damage in order to protect our system. This same jelly from the cattail plant is known as a powerful analgesic and can be ingested or applied topically to relieve pain and inflammation.
Extracts from the cattail have coagulant properties, meaning that they slow down the flow of blood and prevent anaemia. This can be effective it is applied on wounds, but also if a person is suffering from heavy menstrual bleeding, it can lessen the severity. However it can be potentially dangerous for people who already have relatively slow circulation, as it effectively slows down the blood, while simultaneously stimulating coagulant response in the skin.
The rich nutrients and organic compounds found in cattail contribute to its effect on the skin, particularly its ability to heal boils, sores, and reduce the appearance of scars. For insect bites, cattail jelly can be applied topically, but the flour also has anti-inflammatory potential that can help to reduce the pain and severity of those affected areas.
Although this area of study is relatively new and somewhat controversial, there are new research studies that support the idea of cattail’s ability to prevent cancer. Chinese researchers are heading up this exciting new area of study, but early results are promising for its antioxidant effect on cancerous cells.
It is clearly known that carbohydrates are a rich source of energy. Cattail consists of good amount of carbohydrate, which offers greater levels of energy and even replenish energy levels if deficient from time to time. Since Cattail is made up of complex carbohydrates, the breakdown is rather slow and hence provides all the energy that is needed throughout the day.
Cattail comprises of a certain composition of compounds, which help in decreasing the lipids in the body and even dilating the coronary artery. It is used in the treatment of heart diseases like angina, hyperlipidemia. Moreover, it is even used to dissolve stasis. It helps to reduce the deposition of lipids on the walls of the arteries. Hence, it prevents the incidence of heart diseases.
LDL is decreased by intake of Cattail on account of the composition of Vitamin C, carotenoids and bioflavonoid. These elements make certain that the risks of cardiovascular diseases are reduced and the LDL is washed out of the system. Apart from that cholesterol absorption is also reduced. This means a reduced risk of developing atherosclerosis.
Phytochemicals are required to streamline and maintain the absorption of insulin. A regular intake of Cattail helps to control diabetes mellitus, which is non-insulin dependent. So it is fruitful to consume cattail on a regular basis to combat diabetes.
Adrenal glands are provided the appropriate support to decrease levels of stress by the content of protein and carbohydrates present in Cattail. It helps to improve the metabolism rate and thereby reduces stress.
In case a person is underweight and wants to gain some weight, a mixture of Cattails rich diet together with a wholesome meal is the best method. Cattail being rich in carbohydrates and calories enables the weight gain process. Therefore it is one of the fruitful options for underweight people to gain required body weight.
Cattail consists of a good amount of both soluble and insoluble fibre which is essential for improving the digestion process. Soluble fibres counter the absorption of cholesterol and insoluble fibres encourage the movement of waste out of the system. This leads to reduced chances of constipation or even haemorrhoids. So including cattail in a person’s diet helps to reduce various digestion related problems.
Boiling of Cattail leaves along with Sesame oil and then massaging it over the painful areas of the body provides a lot of relief. It is due to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties of cattail.
The dried leaves of Cattail plant are an excellent source of weaving material that can be used to make floats and rafts. The cottony seeds make good pillow stuffing and insulation. Dried cattails are effective insect repellents when burned. Cattail leaves are also usable for cordage for making a bow drill. The pithy stalks can be used to make a hand drill, useful for igniting a pile of tinder.
Cattail’s pollen is with low toxicity. Although there are no obvious side effects about this herb, pregnant women should stay away from it since it can cause the contraction of the uterus. In some individuals it may lead to stomach upset and loss of appetite too. Finally, clinical attention should be paid to its pro-coagulant and allergic reactions. Moreover some researches have shown that cattail pollen shouldn’t be used in the cases of all fever caused by over exertion, internal heat due to yin deficiency, but with no stasis.
To Native Americans, cattail was a cornucopia. It provided food, medicine and clothing to any one inventive enough to utilize its resources. In return cattail needed a marshy place to grow and a little wind to spread its protein-rich pollen.
The jelly that grows between young leaves was used for wounds, boils and infected flesh. This treatment also relieved pain. This honey-like product has strong antiseptic properties, which made cattail an indispensable part of the first aid kit on the American frontier for centuries. People living along cattail’s marshy shores still rely on it for treating everything from toothaches to spider bites.
To the practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cattail pollen is the prize of the marsh. Cattail pollen capsules, known as Pu Huang, are a popular remedy for nosebleeds, uterine bleeding and blood in the urine. TCM uses cattail pollen mixed with honey as a poultice for wounds. Chinese researchers are investigating cattail pollen’s reputation for shrinking cancerous tumors. Since this is powerful medicine, it should not to be used during pregnancy.
Recently, a civil engineer discovered that cattail is good medicine for the planet as well. After a thorough round of experiments, which involved measuring tubs of poisoned water, he found significant results. The cattail growing in the tubs were absorbing the arsenic from the water. In six weeks, existing arsenic levels were reduced as much as 89%. This means that developing countries with arsenic poisoned water can look forward to access to drinkable, life-giving water again within a few, short months. Now the rest of the world will have a chance to honour cattail’s cornucopia of benefits.