Balloon plant (Cardiospermum halicacabum) is a deciduous, perennial vine that grows up to 3 m long. The stem is thin, cylindrical grooved to square, and has long internodes. It is smooth to finely hairy, green to purple on the side exposed to the sun. The leaves are trifoliate, up to 4 inches long, with large teeth and highly lobed leaflets. The plant climbs with tendrils and needs some form of support. It produces small white flowers bloom from summer through fall, flowers are not very showy. The fruit is more interesting, from which the plant gets its common name. The fruits are green maturing to brown, thin-shelled, inflated angled capsule up to 3 cm in diameter, containing 3 black seeds each, with a white heart-shaped scar. Sometimes it is used as an ornamental plant.
Species: C. halicacabum
Scientific Name: Cardiospermum halicacabum
Common Names: Balloon plant, Love in a puff, Balloon vine, Blister creeper, Heart-pea, Heart-seed, Winter cherry.
• Tamil: Mudakatthaan, Korravan, Mutakkorran, Cancivimeti.
• Telugu: Buddakakara, Jyotishmati
• Malayalam: Jyotishmati, Karuttakunni, Paluruvam, Uzhinja
• Assamese: Kapaal Phuta lata
• Hindi: Kanphuta, Kapalphodi
• Kannada: Agniballi, Bekkina Budde Gida, Bekkina Toddina Balli, Chitaki Hambu, Erumballi, Jotishmati, Kanakaaya, Minchuballi.
• Marathi: Kanphuti, Kapal Phodi
• Nepali: Jyotishmati, Kapaal Phodi, kesh lahara
• Odia: Phutu Phutuka, Jyotishmati
• Sanskrit: Karnasphota, Sphutavalkali
• Tibetan: Ka Ke Da
• Tulu: Urunde booru
How to grow and maintain Balloon plant (Cardiospermum halicacabum):
It thrives best in bright light to shade.
It grows well in well-drained soils at pH ranging from 6.1 – 7.8.
Water your plant regularly during the growing season and always keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. You can allow the topsoil to become slightly dry between each watering. During the winter months, reduce watering.
Organic and synthetic fertilizers are preferred. Animal waste plant waste(organic fertilizers), cow dung are also used. Peat improves the absorbing properties of the plant other than this has no nutritional value.
Balloon plant can be easily propagated by seed. Sow seeds in spring. Germination takes 3 – 4 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Pest and Disease:
It has no serious pest and disease problems.
Benefits of Balloon plant (Cardiospermum halicacabum):
- Young shoots and leaves are cooked and eaten as a vegetable and utilized as spinach.
- The entire plant is diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, laxative, refrigerant, rubefacient, stomachic and sudorific. It is utilized in the treatment of rheumatism, nervous diseases, stiffness of the limbs, and snakebite.
- The leaves are reported to be rubefacient and useful as a poultice to treat rheumatism, and the leaf juice to be a cure for earache.
- A tea made from them is used in the treatment of itchy skin and salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings.
- The roots are mostly used for medicinal purposes. The root is considered diuretic, diaphoretic, emetic, laxative, emmenagogic, and rubefacient and is sometimes used to treat rheumatism, lumbago and nervous diseases.
- The seed oil is said to have insect repellent properties and an antifeedant action on insects.
- The stems can be used in basket making and the seeds are used as ornamental beads.
- The decoction of the plant is given in a dose of 40 to 50 ml with honey to treat cough and dyspnea.
- Balloon plant can be used both internally and externally for treating joint pain and regular use gives good relief.
- Cardiospermum halicacabum has the ability to increase sperm motility and sperm count. Just having Balloon Vine regularly for 30 days increases sperm count significantly and there was an increase in serum testosterone level too.
- Fried leaves are applied to the pubis to increase menstrual flow in amenorrhea.
- Balloon plant leaves are fried in coconut oil and then it is tied on the abdomen during their menstruation periods for few hours. By repeating this process two times in a day pain would be reduced or eliminated.