The Cotton plant is called hydrophilous (a word which means “friend of water,” from an etymological standpoint) because it can quickly absorb vast amounts of liquid; these properties make skin covered with a cotton bandage stay clean and dry.
This plant not only gives us clothes but also helps us to overcome many diseases.Andres de Laguna
Cotton Plant Scientific Facts
- French: Cottonier
- Spanish: Algodonero
- Environment: Native to Asia, this plant is currently cultivated in hot regions worldwide.
- Description: Herbaceous plant of the Mauvaceae family, growing up to one meter high. Its leaves are divided into three or five lobules. It has solitary, exuberant flowers, with five petals yellow or white, each one with a purple stain in its base. The fruit is an egg-shaped capsule, 5-6cm sized, containing several seeds covered with a white fiber: cotton.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves, the flowers, the seeds, and the bark of the root.
Preparation and Use
- Seed oil: It is used in several pharmaceutical and food preparations.
- Infusion with leaves and flowers, in a proportion of 10g per liter of water. A handful of seeds can also be added. Drink three to four cups daily.
Cotton is the healthiest and most helpful textile fiber. It is ideal for clothes that directly touch the skin. Hydrophilous cotton is made of this fiber, and it is necessary to treat wounds and apply a wide range of cosmetic and medicinal products to the skin. Traditional cotton dressings are still the healthiest and easiest to use.
The fiber of the cotton plant seeds, cotton, is practically pure cellulose, with the tiniest cover of fatty substances and organic acids. Its absorbent and hydrophilous properties render it the best dressing for wounds and bandages.
We also have to remember that cotton is the cleanest and healthiest textile cloth, especially for underwear clothing. Besides having absorbent properties, it does not produce allergic reactions, as synthetic fibers frequently do.
The cotton plant seeds contain 20% oil, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which is recommended for those suffering from excess cholesterol in the blood. Hence, cotton plant seed oil is used in the pharmaceutical and food industry as well as soap and cosmetic making, due to its emollient properties on the skin.
The leaves and the flowers of the cotton plant are rich in mucilages and have emollient (skin and inflamed mucosa soothing) and pectoral properties. They are used as an infusion for bronchial catarrh to soften secretions and reduce the inflammation of the respiratory airways. They are also helpful for dysentery or colitis due to their emollient and anti-inflammatory properties on the intestinal mucosa.
The bark of the root of the cotton plant contains substances with oxytocic properties, similar to the alkaloids of the rye ergot, which stimulate uterine contractions. It was formerly administered for difficult labor and to stop uterine hemorrhages since by contracting the uterus, it stops bleeding. It also has emmenagogue properties; that is, it promotes and provokes menstruation. At present, it is no longer used for these purposes since we have more powerful and safer alternatives.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 710,711. Print.