ʻUhaloa (Waltheria indica) belongs to the Malavaceae or Mallow family, sometimes placed in Sterculiaceae, or Cacao family. The genus Waltheria has some 60 species, 53 of which are from the Neotropics (the Americas). Two species are native to the Hawaiian Islands...
Hawaiian Names: ʻAlaʻala pū loa, hala ʻuhaloa, hiʻaloa, kanakaloa are all alternate names for the commonly used ʻuhaloa
- The Heikum Bushmen of Namibia chew the roots for their sap when suffering from colds and influenza.
- It is an ingredient of the Yoruba “Agbo” infusion given as a drink or in baths for a few weeks after birth to strengthen resistance against fevers.
- The Hausa people regard the root as purgative and as restorative during the labours of harvesting.
- The Ju, ‘hoansi of Namibia heat the roots in water and drink the infusion before it boils for stomach ailments.
- In Panama, it is considered a remedy for haemoptysis (coughing of blood originating from the respiratory tract below the level of the larynx).
- In northern Nigeria and Togo, a decoction of the root is given as a general tonic to children.
- In Burkina Faso, it is given as an anti-diarrhoeal to children.
- The root is also used as a cough medicine in Togo and in Senegal for healing wounds.
- The leaves and flowers are said to be mucilaginous and are used in Gambia as an application to sores.
Waltheria Indica Herb C/S
A decoction of the leafy stems is taken to relieve fevers, painful coughs, colds, bladder ailments, vaginal infections, hypertension, ulcers and as a remedy for haemoptysis.
Early Hawaiian Use...
ʻUhaloa was used medicinally for asthma, neuralgia, and a pain killer when mixed with other plants.
Medicinally, in the Hawaiian Islands ʻuhaloa is still used even if other traditional plants are not always in use. When mixed with certain other plants ʻuhaloa is used for sore throats, bronchial infections, and asthma. The bitter roots are used much like aspirin is today.
Waltheria indica possess therapeutic potential in the treatment of inflammation, malaria, infectious diseases (e.g., lungs infection due to Klebsiella pneumoniae, diarrhea due to Candida albicans or Escherichia coli) and prevention of oxidative stress.
Further studies are necessary to explore pure compounds responsible for the pharmacological effects and the mechanisms of action. Further investigations are also needed to provide an evidence base for traditional uses of this species against pain, anemia, convulsions and epilepsy. In addition, there is a pressing need to investigate the other traditional uses such as dysentery, syphilis, erectile dysfunctions and asthma.