Leaf of Life: Where It Grows and How to Use It

Updated on April 24, 2020
Gina Welds-Hulse profile image

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

The Leaf of Life
The Leaf of Life | Source

Leaf of Life: a Medicinal Herb

Leaf of life is a medicinal herb that is native to Madagascar and is very common in Jamaica. It's also a popular houseplant and has become naturalized in many tropical and subtropical areas.

It is widely used as an herbal remedy for many different types of ailments and is linked to helping lessen the symptoms of upper respiratory issues such as bronchitis. In this article, I will discuss:

  1. Different names for the leaf of life
  2. Where the leaf of life can be found
  3. How to use the leaf of life

Kalanchoe pinnata
Kalanchoe pinnata | Source

1. Names for the Leaf of Life

The scientific name of the leaf of life is Kalanchoe pinnata. It is also known as Bryophyllum pinnatum and Cotyledon pinnata.

The leaf of life is also known by several common names:

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

2. Where Is the Leaf of Life Found?

This plant can be found all over the world in the southern hemisphere:

  • Caribbean
  • French Polynesia
  • India
  • Pakistan
  • Nepal
  • Brazil
  • United States
  • and many other places!

In Jamaica, it can be found everywhere, and in some locations, it's considered invasive due to overpopulation and cultivation.

The Goethe Plant and Young Leaves
The Goethe Plant and Young Leaves | Source

Planting and Propagation

Some people plant it in their gardens for easy access. It makes a very decorative addition to the garden. In order 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 seeds around the edge of the plant.

3. How Do You Use Leaf Of Life?

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.

What is the Air Plant Good for?

Historically, Kalanchoe pinnata was used in folk medicine to lessen the symptoms of cardiovascular dysfunction, diabetes, wound healing, and inflammation. The leaf of life was used traditionally in Trinidad and Tobago as a treatment for hypertension and kidney stones, and studies show K. pinnata extract significantly promotes wound healing. According to Obregón-Díaz et al (2019) and Biswas et al (2011), the roots and leaves of Kalanchoe pinnata are known to have the following capabilities:

  • antimicrobial
  • antiparasitic
  • antiulcer
  • antihypertensive
  • antihyperglycemic
  • anti-inflammatory
  • antiviral

These attributes suggest the leaf of life could have remedial properties for a number of ailments.

The Flower of the Leaf of Life
The Flower of the Leaf of Life | Source

Ways the Tree of Life Could be Used

It's important to note that the following remedies are derived from my experience and are not scientifically backed. Talk to your doctor and herbalist before attempting any of these remedies or the recipes I've provided.

Leaf Of Life Tea Recipe

The leaves of the plant can be picked and stored for days without withering because of their succulent nature. I personally use this tea as an alternative remedy for respiratory conditions, and I always get great results.

Herbal tea made from the leaf of life is used to alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as shortness of breath, menstrual problems, asthma, coughs, as well as a chest cold. If you do have asthma, be sure to have a doctor-prescribed medication as well, as asthma can be deadly.

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

  1. Bring one cup of water to boil then add three leaf of life leaves; let simmer for three minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to sit for two to three minutes.
  3. Remove leaves from the tea and sweeten with one to two teaspoons of organic honey.

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

Chest Cold Remedy

The stem, as well as the leaves, can be placed in water and taken daily to rid the body of mucous and waste matter.

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

The flower of the plant gives it one of its many nicknames: Cathedral bells.
The flower of the plant gives it one of its many nicknames: Cathedral bells. | Source

Cough Mixture for Cold, Coughs, and Chest Congestion

It is said that you can chew the leaves, and extract the juices by adding salt.

I detail the way I prefer to extract the juices below. I place the stems, as well as the leaves, in water and take it daily to rid my body of mucous and waste matter.

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

I'll occasionally eat the fresh leaves of the leaf of life as a remedy for intestinal problems.

Poultice for Skin Ulcer, Sprains, and Insect Stings

The crushed medicinal leaves of this herb will bring relief from insect bites, bruises, boils, and also skin ulcers. A poultice of the crushed leaves can also be applied to the outer body for sprains, pains, as well as earaches. Placing the back of the leaves on open sores, cuts and wounds will promote healing, help stop bleeding, and discourage infection.

  1. Grind seven fresh leaves into a poultice.
  2. Apply the poultice evenly to the affected area.
  3. Apply a fresh poultice twice a day, morning and night, as often as needed.

If you have an open wound, be sure to talk to your doctor before applying leaf of life poultice.


Biswas, S. K., Chowdhury, A., Das, J., Hosen, S. Z., Uddin, R., & Rahaman, M. S. (2011). Literature review on pharmacological potentials of Kalanchoe pinnata (Crassulaceae). African journal of pharmacy and pharmacology, 5 (10), 1258-1262.Chicago

Honychurch, P.N. Caribbean Wild Plants and Their Uses. 1986. Macmillan Caribbean.
Nayak, B. S., Marshall, J. R., & Isitor, G. (2010). Wound healing potential of ethanolic extract of Kalanchoe pinnata Lam. Leaf—a preliminary study. Chicago.

Ojewole, John A.O. "Antinociceptive, Antiinflammatory, and Antidiabetic Effects of Bryophyllum Pinnatum Leaf Aqeuos Extract." Journal of Ethnopharmacology. Volume 99, Issue 1, 13 May 2005, pp. 13-19.

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.

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.

Have You Tried Leaf of Life Tea?

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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


      7 weeks ago

      Can this leaf be helpful for hyperinflated lung disease?

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      The Leaf of Golden is what I've always titled its holistic evolutionary innovative empowerment existence. The Golden Leaf of Life shall fulfill your desires of likeness unannounced and will reveal its bonuses beyond one's open dream

    • profile image


      2 months ago

      I am from Jamaica and know this plant.my mom used it for a lot of ailments.i would like to find this plant,i live in Melbourne Florida.

    • profile image

      samuel ajibola 

      4 months ago

      leave is used for boils from Nigeria

    • Joyette  Fabien profile image

      Joyette Helen Fabien 

      7 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


      8 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 

      9 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Danie Victor Alexandre 

      9 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


      10 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 

      10 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 

      10 months ago

      Where can I purchase this plant in London UK please?

    • profile image


      10 months ago

      Where can I purchase a plant.

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

    • profile image

      Nancy PNG 

      13 months ago

      How do I prepare it for the lump in my breast

    • Gina Welds-Hulse profile imageAUTHOR

      Gina Welds Hulse 

      13 months ago from Rockledge, Florida

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

    • profile image


      13 months ago

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

    • profile image

      Quincy Swain 

      15 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 

      17 months ago

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

    • profile image


      17 months ago

      Why vomiting after eating the leaf

    • profile image

      Uwadiamen Iyamuosa 

      17 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 

      18 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 

      19 months ago

      How do i use leaf of life for gall stones?

    • profile image


      19 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


      19 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


      20 months ago

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

    • profile image


      21 months ago

      Hey is this plant helpful for kidney stones..

      But I don't recognize this plant please help me

    • profile image


      22 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 

      22 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


      22 months ago

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

    • profile image


      2 years ago

      Is it good for diabetes??

    • profile image

      King Ollie 

      2 years ago

      I was on my deathbed now im not

    • profile image

      sharon burke 

      2 years 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


      3 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


      3 years ago

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

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 

      3 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 

      3 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 

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

      Cool I will look into local varieties.

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 

      3 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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