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10+ Hidden Desert Rose Benefits you Need to Learn

If you can take good care of Desert Rose, it can live for centuries to flourish in your home or garden with a bag of benefits.

Desert Rose is a useful plant with anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, and anti-cancer properties. It can also boost immune health, reduce pain, keep garden pests away, fight teeth infections, heal wounds, and cure nasal disorders.
The plant also bears symbolic importance in many cultures, including Native American people to Desert Rose for the smudging ritual. 

Benefits of Desert Rose Plant

The succulent Desert Rose plant (Adenium obesum) originates from Africa and a few regions of Asia. 

Image represents a Desert Rose plant
Desert Rose is a succulent shrub with thick stems and roots suitable for potting indoors.

Desert Roses are crucially useful plants for preparing traditional medicines in different parts of the world. 

Let’s get to know about some benefits of Desert Roses.

1. Promote Skin Health

Applying the plant extracts can moisturize dry skin within a few weeks.

Desert Rose has three benefits on the skin: hydrating the skin surface, defending the skin topically, and repairing damaged skin.

If you want to leverage the skin benefits, prepare a watery extract from the stem of Desert Rose and mix it with kiwi fruit and grapefruit water and spray lightly on the face.

Desert Rose plant has special powers to improve skin density. If you have thick skin, you look more youthful.

Extracts from the plant parts suppress lines and wrinkles from the skin, improving its smoothness.

In Kenya, people also use the stem’s powder to remove parasites, like ticks, from the skin of cattle and camels.

2. Anti-Microbial Activities

Leaves of Desert Rose have strong anti-microbial properties that can kill many disease-causing bacteria.

A 2014 research published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease confirms that the chemical compounds from the leaves of Desert Rose can stop the growth and kill bacterial colonies.

This is impressive because the anti-bacterial effect of the leaf extract from Desert Rose is comparable to commercial antibiotics.

Scientists believe that certain flavonoids in plant parts are responsible for preventing the growth of skin and pneumonia-causing microbes.

Hence, the leaves are still in use as an important ingredient in Omani traditional medicine.

3. Fight Wound Infections

Several bacteria try to feast on a freshly cut wound.

But, the chemicals from the stem and bark of Desert Rose can ward off the wound and cut infections.

The people of Oman still use plant parts to heal blisters and open wounds as a traditional healing practice.

Research has proven that the chemical extract from the stem and bark of the plant can finish off Proteus vulgaris, a bacteria responsible for causing respiratory and wound infections. 

If you are to keep up with these benefits, assign the following schedules.

Image illustrates the things to do with Desert Roses
Desert Rose is beneficial and toxic, so there are some things to consider before keeping and using the plant.

4. Treat Nose and Teeth Infections

People of Somalia use the latex from the Desert Rose to cure nasal infections.

Similarly, the water prepared from boiling the roots of Desert Rose can be useful for clearing a stuffy nose.

Hence, latex can be used in commercially available nasal drops to treat allergic sinuses and rhinitis.

The plant’s latex also proves to be valuable in fighting tooth decay.

Native Africans lace their hunting arrows with the white latex of the plant stem to bring down mammals and kill fish.

5. Relieve Joint and Muscle Pains

In Oman, the plant’s bark helps ease pain during bone dislocations, joint pains, and sprains.

Crushing and boiling the plant bark in water and later using the water to treat body pains is an ongoing practice in Oman.

Extracts from the plant can lower headaches and relax the muscles.

6. Contain Anti-Cancer Properties

Cancer can cause the rapid multiplication of unwanted cells that can accumulate to form tumors.

Glycosides and Flavonoids present in the parts of Desert Rose can halt breast, cervical, and liver cancer cells from growing randomly.

But these compounds can also kill normal human cells, as the research proves.

The toxicity tests of the phytochemicals from Desert Rose are still going on.

So, until then, one should consider consuming the right amount to deter the side effects.

Moreover, the seeds of Desert Rose plants can be a part of drug lines that can prevent DNA damage and cause the death of breast cancer cells.

The antioxidant activity of flavonoids present in the parts of Desert Rose can help treat diabetes mellitus.

7. Possess Anti-Parasitic Effects

Extracts prepared from Desert Rose plants can kill the parasites of malaria, leishmaniasis, and sleeping sickness.

In Nigeria, people use the whole plant to treat dreadful malaria and its related symptoms.

Sleeping sickness is caused by a parasite that enters the human body by the bite of a tropical fly.

Thus, the Desert Rose plant has certain terpenes in the roots and bark that can stop the parasite of sleeping sickness.

8. Kill Garden Mollusks

Backyard mollusks like snails and slugs are enemies of many spring and summer veggies and fruits worldwide.

But, the Desert Rose stem compounds show lethal activity against these garden critters.

Cerberin and Neriifolin in the stem extract can render the snails and slugs helpless.

Only a small amount of the compound applied to the shell of the snails and slugs can kill them within 24 hours.

Cardiac Glycosides are potential for treating Chronic Heart Failure are underway. Consuming Desert Rose parts in large doses can kill humans, but in low doses can be a heart-reliever!

9. Controlling Cholesterol Levels

Leaf powder of Desert Rose may effectively lower human cholesterol and fat levels.

The project ” Biological Activities of Natural active compounds” showed that the rats had declined weight within eight weeks after the treatment and had a constant body mass from thereon.

Similarly, the research also shows that the chemicals can protect the tissues of the kidneys and liver.

But only a small amount of the leaf powder was given to the rats.

Large amounts can potentially be life-threatening for both humans and animals!

10. Additional Medical Benefits

Some additional important compounds present in Desert Roses are as follows.

Secondary MetabolitesMedicinal Uses
GlycosidesTo treat heart failure and irregular heartbeats
PregnanesTo treat inflammatory conditions and is an anti-convulsion agent
TerpenoidsTo treat the infection and inflammation of gastrointestinal tract
PolyphenolsTo treat asthma and arthritis
FlavonoidsTo reduce growth of cancerous cells and is an anti-inflammatory agent

11. Produce Symbolic Flowers

In Chinese culture, Desert Rose flowers are called “fuguihua,” where ‘fu’ means abundance, ‘gui’ means great, and ‘hua’ means flower.

Similar to the belly of Laughing Buddha, the swollen trunk of Desert Rose invites fertility, abundance, and happiness.

Likewise, flowers symbolize good luck in India and are used on special occasions.

Image represents the flowers of Desert Rose
The colors of Desert Rose flowers give different meanings, and the plant is symbolically important in many cultures.

Besides, the flower colors of Desert Rose varieties have individual meanings, representing the symbol of purity, renewal, affection, and good luck

The plant also resembles the appearance of Bonsai plant. With colorful flowers and small size, Desert Roses are suitable for placing indoors to elevate the aesthetics of your room.

Since Desert Roses grow in harsh and dry conditions of the desert, these plants also represent resilience and toughness.

Health Considerations to Keep in Mind

Desert Rose belongs to the “Dogbane Family” or Apocynaceae, and from the name, it’s clear that the plant is potentially toxic to dogs.

Besides, the sap present in the plant parts is also equally toxic to cats and humans in large amounts.

ASPCA enlists Desert Rose as one of the poisonous plants toxic to dogs, cats, horses, and humans.

Desert Rose has a white milky sap that contains cardiac glycosides, which can affect the heart.

Licking or nibbling any plant part can result in vomiting, nausea, uneven heart rate, loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and death in pets.

The chemical compounds can slow down the heart rate and cause many heart-related problems, potentially causing death in humans if not treated in time.

So, it’s better to cone your pets or keep the plant away from children and furry companions.

If your pets or children lick or eat the plant parts by accident, report an emergency at any of the following hotline numbers.

Like Desert Roses, Kalanchoe succulents also contain toxic cardiac glycosides, harmful to your cats! Learn the methods to keep your cats away from Kalanchoes.

Where to Buy Desert Rose?

Before buying a Desert Rose, consider its toxicity and if you are willing to home the plant, rely on the following table to get one.

ShopDelivery Periods
EtsyWithin 1 to 3 days after placing an order
AmazonWithin 4 to 5 days after placing an order
EbayWithin 1 to 4 days after placing an order

Wrapping Up…

Desert Rose’s benefits range from decorating the home to leveraging medical benefits, including pain relief and wound treatment.

The strange appearance and beautiful flowers of Desert Rose may captivate you, but don’t fall for the plant’s toxic calls.

Keep your children and pets away from the plant, and leverage the benefits from Desert Roses only under doctors’ recommendations!

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