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Family Asteraceae
Zinnia
Zinnia elegans Jacq
YOUTH-AND-OLD-AGE

Scientific names Common names
Zinnia elegans Jacq. Common zinnia (Engl.)
Zinnia violacea Youth-and-old-age (Engl.)
Crassina elegans Zinnia (Engl.)
Zinnia elegans L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
SPANISH: Mal de ojos.


Gen info
Zinnia is a common Mexican wildflower. The early Spanish colonists in Mexico found the flowers ugly and called them mal de ojos (evil eyes). The genus was named after German botanist who first named it, Johann Gottfried Zinn of Gottingen. Of the 200 or more species in the zinnia genus, Zinnia elegans is the most well known of the 20 or more species in the zinnia genus.

Botany
Zinnia is a low, erect annual herb, growing to a height of 1 to 3 feet. Leaves are opposite, ovate or nearly elliptic, with the base clasping the stem. Flower head is terminal, single- or double-flowered. The flowering stalk is 2 to 5 centimeters long. Ray flowers are reflexed, of various colors, disk flowers usually yellow or orange.

Distribution
- Widely distributed in the Philippines.
- Thrives best in deep loamy soil.
- Native to Mexico.
- Propagated by seeds.

Uses
Folkloric-
- No known folkloric use in the Philippines.
- In Brazil, curanderos or traditional healers put zinnia leaves (Z. elegans) on top of a patient's head to cure madness. Also used as ingredients in ritual baths of Brazilian healing ceremonies. (3)

Studies
Antifungal. Phytochemical and antifungal screening of the whole plant of Z elegans yielded 7.6% saponins and showed pronounced antifungal activity against Fusarium moniliforme. (1)
Allergenicity / Allergic Rhinitis. Zinnia elegans pollen from heavily polluted areas in central Tehran has been shown to release compounds that are significantly more potent in eliciting skin wheal reactions and increasing total blood IgE (immunoglobulin E) and eosinophilia in sensitized animals, than pollen compounds from non-polluted areas. (2)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant / Carbon Tetrachloride Toxicity / Leaves. Study evaluated the hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of ethanolic extract of leaves of Z. elegans in CCl4-induced toxicity in rats. Silymarin was used as standard. The extract significant suppressed the oxidative stress via its direct scavenging against the reactive oxygen species under CCl4 stress. The extract also improved the lipid profile, LDL and HDL. Hepatotoxicity was significantly suppressed via activation of antioxidant enzymes GST and SOD. (4)
Phytoremediation / Lead / Allergic Rhinitis. Study evaluated the ability of two ornamental plants (marigold and zinnia) to uptake lead from contaminated soil. Zinnia elegans showed the greater potential for lead accumulation than marigold. Results suggest an environmentally friendly and cost effective alternative for protecting the contaminated soil from leaching lead. (5)


Availability
- Wild-crafted.
 
- Flower essence concoctions and seeds in the cybermart.

Godofredo U. Stuart Jr., M.D.

Last Update March 2016

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
(1)
Phytochemical and Antifungal Screening of Medicago sativa and Zinnia elegans / OnLine Journal of Biological Sciences 2(2):130-132,2002
(2)
Today’s allergic rhinitis patients are different: new factors that may play a role
/ R Mosges, L Klimek / Allergy, Volume 62, Issue 9, pages 969–975, September 2007 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1398-9995.2007.01440.x

(3)
Medicinal Plants : Mental Illness / medicinalplants.us/mental-illness
(4)
Hepatoprotective and Antioxidant Activity of Zinnia Elegans Leaves Ethanolic Extract / Asmaa H. Mohamed, Fouad A. Ahmed and Osama K. Ahmed / International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research, Volume 6, Issue 2, February-2015
(5)
PHYTOREMEDIATION OF LEAD CONTAMINATED SOIL USING ORNAMENTAL PLANTS (MARIGOLD AND ZINNIA). / D.Thamayanthi, Dr.P.S.Sharavanan**, B.Jayaprasad / International Journal of Environmental Biology 2013; 3(1): 32-34

It is not uncommon for links on studies/sources to change. Copying and pasting the information on the search window or using the DOI (if available) will often redirect to the new link page.

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