Leaf of Life: What Is It, How to Use It, and How to Grow It

Updated on September 28, 2019
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

In addition to being a certified herbalist and aromatherapy consultant, Gina finds the unrelenting allure of gardening very strong.

Leaf of Life plant
Leaf of Life plant | Source

Leaf of Life, Medicinal Herb

Leaf of life is a medicinal herb that is:

  • native to Madagascar
  • very common in Jamaica
  • a popular houseplant
  • has become naturalized in tropical and subtropical areas

It is widely used as an herbal remedy for many different types of ailments, especially bronchial conditions.

Its scientific name is Kalanchoe pinnata, and it is also known as Bryophyllum pinnatum and Cotyledon pinnata.

These are its common names:

  • Air Plant
  • Cathedral Bells
  • Miracle Leaf
  • Life Plant
  • Leaf of Life
  • Love Bush
  • Live Forever
  • Goethe plant

The blooms of the plant gives it one of its nicknames, Cathedral bells.
The blooms of the plant gives it one of its nicknames, Cathedral bells. | Source

Where Is It Found?

This plant can be found in:

  • the Caribbean
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Nepal
  • Brazil
  • USA

In Jamaica, it can be found everywhere. Some people plant it in their flowers gardens for easy access. It also makes a very decorative addition to the garden.

The leaves can be picked and stored for days without withering.

How Do You Use Leaf Of Life?

I personally use it as alternative remedy for any type of respiratory condition, and I always receive great results. Recently I had a bout with bronchitis, and this leaf of life was very beneficial in my healing.

The leaf of life plant has the following properties:

  • antibacterial
  • antiviral
  • antimicrobial
  • antifungal
  • antihistamine
  • anaphylactic

How to take this remedy:

  1. An herbal tea made from this herb is useful to treat conditions such as shortness of breath, kidney failure, menstrual problems, asthma, coughs, bronchitis, as well as chest cold.
  2. It is said that you can chew the leaves to extract the juices by adding salt.
  3. The crushed medicinal leaves of this herb will bring relief from insect bites, bruises, boils, and also skin ulcers.
  4. A poultice of the crushed leaves can also be applied to the outer body for sprains, pains, as well earaches.
  5. Placing the back of the leaves on open sores, cuts and wounds will promote healing, stops bleeding as well as prevents infection.
  6. In certain countries, especially Puerto Rico, the fresh juice of this medicinal herb may be squeezed into the ears in regards to infections and can also be squeezed into the eyes for all eye problems.
  7. The stem as well as the leaves can be placed in water and taken daily to rid the body of mucous and waste matter.
  8. The fresh leaves of leaf of life can also be eaten raw as a medicinal remedy for asthma, bronchitis and intestinal problems.
  9. The leaf of life is said to be good for high blood pressure as well.

The flower of the Leaf of Life.
The flower of the Leaf of Life. | Source
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Standard dosages
kills bacteria
heals and prevents ulcers
a few leaves
kills viruses
increases urination
Infusion: 1 cup twice daily
kills fungi
lowers cholesterol
Juice: applied topically
reduces fever
constricts blood vessels
2-3 times daily
heals wounds
mildly sedative
suppresses coughs
blocks histamine
relieves pain
relaxes muscles
To propagate a leaf of life plant, all you need is a leaf dropped into some soil. Each leaf will grow a new plant from the black dots around the edge of the plant.
To propagate a leaf of life plant, all you need is a leaf dropped into some soil. Each leaf will grow a new plant from the black dots around the edge of the plant. | Source

How To Dry and Preserve Leaf of Life for Tea

Always consult with a qualified herbalist or medical professional before introducing a new herbal supplement into your regimen. Proper dosing strength and dosing frequency should be monitored by a qualified specialist. Check for side effects with current medications and any contraindications that may exist with preexisting conditions before proceeding.

How To Make Leaf Of Life Tea

To make an easy and quick cup of leaf of life tea:

  • bring one cup of water to boil then add 3 leaf of life leaves; let simmer for 3 minutes.
  • remove from heat and allow to sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  • remove leaves from the tea, pour in cup and sweeten with 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic honey.

If you are making more than one cup, increase serving size of boiling water and amount of leaves added.

Chest Cold Remedy

  • Warm 3 leaves and juice them.
  • This should yield 2-3 tablespoon of leaf of life juice.
  • Add a pinch of salt.
  • Take one tablespoon three times a day for as long as needed.

Poultice for Skin Ulcer, Sprains, and Insect Stings

  • Grind 7 fresh leaves into a poultice.
  • Apply the poultice evenly to the affected area.
  • Apply a fresh poultice twice a day, morning and night, as often as needed.

Cough Mixture for Cold, Coughs, and Chest Congestion

  • Warm 13 fresh leaf of life leaves over a fife.
  • Rub the leaves between your palms until they become juicy.
  • Squeeze the juice into a small pot. This should yield at least 6-8 tablespoons of juice.
  • Add the juice of 3 limes and 2 ounces honey to pot.
  • Simmer on a low flame for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from flame and allow to cool. Store in a bottle.
  • Take one tablespoonful every three hours for two weeks.
  • Skip one week and repeat, if necessary.

Have You Tried Leaf of Life Tea?

See results

Warning & Important Notes

Leaf of life should not be consumed during pregnancy! The information above is not medical advice for diagnosing, treating, or curing any specific disease, illness, or syndrome. It is important to consult with a physician or licensed health care provider prior to engaging in any aspect of alternative/holistic medicine. The information above is intended for educational purposes only and should be used at the sole discretion of each individual.

UPDATE: What Leaf of Life is Called in Different Parts of the World and What it is Used For


  • Xiuzhen, Yan, Lee Kuohsiung, and Yamagishi Takashi. "Isolation and Identification of Cytotoxic Compounds From Bryophyllum Pinnatum." Chinese Journal of Cancer Research. December 1992. Volume 4, Issue 4, pp. 1-3.
  • Robertson, D. "Jamaican Herbs: Nutritional and Medicinal Values." 1982.
  • Taylor, Leslie. The Healing Power of Rainforest Herbs: A Guide to Understanding and Using Herbal Medicinals. 2005. Square One Publishers.
  • Ojewole, John A.O. "Antinociceptive, Antiinflammatory, and Antidiabetic Effectfs of Bryophyllum Pinnatum Leaf Aqeuos Extract." Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 99, Issue 1, 13 May 2005, pp. 13-19.
  • Honychurch, P.N. Caribbean Wild Plants and Their Uses. 1986. Macmillan Caribbean.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2017 Gina Welds Hulse


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    • profile image

      Omolola James 

      9 days ago

      I have the leaf if you want to buy I also have pure original honey pls call +2348033260315

    • profile image

      samuel ajibola 

      4 weeks ago

      leave is used for boils from Nigeria

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Fabien 

      4 months ago from Dominica

      We have a lot of this plant in Dominica, but strangely it is not widely used.Thanks for sharing this information on its uses and benefits. I am going to begin using it.

      Great hub!

    • profile image


      4 months ago

      I wish I would have known about this plant years ago. It could have helped my wife who suffered from kidney failure. She has passed away at the age of 53.

    • profile image

      Mizoon Ibrahim 

      6 months ago

      I have leaf of life growing wild, never knew the benefits of the plant.

    • profile image

      Danie Victor Alexandre 

      6 months ago

      I have been a gardener most of my life. Now that I’ve raised my children, I have a bit more time to devote to my garden. That is whenever I need tropical therapy from my job, CEO of a law firm on the Treasure Coast Of Florida.

      I have been discovering the miraculous benefits of most of what’s in my garden.

      The greatest discovery was the leaf of life plants I’ve been seeing pop up. I was about to remove them until a high school friend visiting me pointed out the numerous health benefits of this plant.

      My question is:

      Where would I find the most information regarding small plants with lifesaving benefits most consider weeds?


      DANIE Girl.

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Please am battling with depo shot contraceptive i took it for three months and it has wear off but my menses hasn't come out for months now i dnt know if the leaf of life can help correct my system.

    • profile image

      Norma Vombo 

      7 months ago

      Can this plant be found in African countries ? I am in Zimbabwe and have a problem of high blood pressure.

    • profile image

      Sasha Morgan 

      7 months ago

      Where can I purchase this plant in London UK please?

    • profile image


      7 months ago

      Where can I purchase a plant.

      I live in So Cal. , but willing to travel.

    • profile image

      Nancy PNG 

      10 months ago

      How do I prepare it for the lump in my breast

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile imageAUTHOR

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      10 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      That is one way that I like to eat it as well. So simple! Thanks for visiting!

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      i wash it and chew it.. its really good leave

    • profile image

      Quincy Swain 

      12 months ago

      I have had this plant in my yard all my 48 years on this Earth, never knew what this plant was good for, and never could kill it. But by fire

    • profile image

      Isaac mensah marfo 

      13 months ago

      I have the leaf of life and I will try it.God have bless us

    • profile image


      14 months ago

      Why vomiting after eating the leaf

    • profile image

      Uwadiamen Iyamuosa 

      14 months ago

      I made a tea by boiling the leaves.

      I have taken it twice now and each time have vomited.

      What could have gone wrong to make me vomit?

    • profile image

      Melissa Clauson 

      15 months ago

      Do you think this would work well if I placed in a dehydrator and used dried leaves in a tea?

    • profile image

      Vencetia dayes 

      16 months ago

      How do i use leaf of life for gall stones?

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      I also want to as where to find this leaf. I reside in UAE. I bought one from the nursery but the taste is horrible and it's giving me nausea and I threw up after the consumption of leaf.

      I am using it for my gall stones . can anyone pls send me the picture of this leaf ( those who hv already consumed).

      The one I have is succulent & fleshy. so what surprised me here is the drying process of the leaves.

    • profile image


      16 months ago

      Where can I find this leaf of life I have high cholesterol I live in southern california plz let me know

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      hi i have it in my garden . Can it be used for gall stones?

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Hey is this plant helpful for kidney stones..

      But I don't recognize this plant please help me

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      I drank the tea for five days, and I did get pregnant the next time I had sex after trying for four years

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile imageAUTHOR

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      19 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

      The best way would be in a pot, and bring it inside during the cold winters. It tolerates the cold in Florida, but temps in Florida do not get as cold as the Northeast.

    • profile image


      19 months ago

      how can i grow this plant in the northeast region of america?

    • profile image


      22 months ago

      Is it good for diabetes??

    • profile image

      King Ollie 

      23 months ago

      I was on my deathbed now im not

    • profile image

      sharon burke 

      23 months ago

      I have been using the Leaf Of Life plant for over a year now and it really works. I gave my daughter for a high fever recently (as she chewed it up) and after a few hours she was well on her way. This is truly a treasure and a remedy for colds and flu like symptoms. Thank God I found it.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I have been spreading this information for a number of years now. So glad to know that the Big Pharma can’t harvest it (all) and put into powder. Thank God/Yah. I just eat a leaf occasionally (without salt). This lady from Haiti saw my plants and told me that her brother had kidney stones and was schedule for operation, his mom gave him this tea for two weeks. When he got to the hospital for the surgery there was no Kidney stone. What great gift we have from God/Yah. Be blessed, Shalom

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I juice the leaves and add a pinch of salt and give it to my boys .

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Lovely music and video.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I know this plant as we had some in our garden. I know some people use it but I really haven't. I want to try the tea and thanks for the brewing instructions here.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      I am growing baby plants from a leaf I brought back from St Lucia.

      How big do they have to be before I separate them and is it best to cut the leaf into sections and leave the sections attached to the baby plants. I have seven babies so far. So exciting!!!

      I don’t want to lose these treasures

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Interesting. I know this plant but have never thought it's edible. Thanks for the new knowledge.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Where can u get it from pls

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile imageAUTHOR

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      2 years ago from Rockledge, Florida

      I never thought about adding the leaves to salads. I would think the very young ones would be best.

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      It is a wonderful plant ..truly a leaf of life. .it is also a great add to salad dishes. .. love this plant a great gift from mother nature. .bless

    • LEAFOFLIFE profile image


      2 years ago

      Will the tea method help with the high blood pressure and cholesterol?

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Hi, I brought a leaf of life plant home from Jamaica. I live in Denmark, Europe and have the plant in a pot in the window, it seems really happy. How much water does it need? Is it a sukkulent, that needs to dry between watering or should it never dry? Hope you can help..

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Can the leaves of life be used to treat vaginal stenosis?

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      2 years ago from Central Florida

      I learn so much from you, Gina. I love that natural remedies can be derived from plants we find in the garden. I don't know if I've ever seen this particular plant, but I'll certainly keep my eyes out for it!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      It's good to know about these all-purpose health-remedy plants. Thanks for the suggestions on how to use this leaf of life.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Cool I will look into local varieties.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      2 years ago from Texas

      This is very interesting and I would try it thank you for bringing it to our attention.

      Blessings my friend


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