Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia Hirta syn. E. pilulifera) Overview, Health Benefits, Side effects
Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia Hirta syn. E. pilulifera) Overview
Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia Hirta syn. E. pilulifera) other names: Asthmaplant, Chamaesyce hirta, Euforbia, Euphorbe, Euphorbia hirta, Euphorbia capitulata, Euphorbia pilulifera, Euphorbium Officinarum, Pillbearing Spurge, Snakeweed.
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Pill-bearing spurge, also known as asthma weed, is a plant that grows straight usually up to a height of 20 inches or 50 cm. The parts of the plant that grow above the ground are used to make
medicine.This species is annual or perennial in nature and produces leaves that are pointed oval growing up to 2.5 cm to 4 cm in length and bears bunch of diminutive flowers.
The flowers are virtually inconsequential and borne in dense, globular clusters, which subsequently develop into capsule having three cells each and a reddish-green color. This plant is said to be free of ester and considered to be a safe and effectual herb.
The plant may be found growing erect beside a wall or at the periphery of a stream. This plant may have a rather peculiar shape and character as though it does not have anything to do with the other constituents of the plant family.
The stem of the pill-bearing spurge encloses whitish latex. The plant produces simple, elliptical, oblong, opposite, acute and toothed or indented leaves that have netted venation. The new shoots of the plant are axillaries and have a stalk-like structure. The plant bears compressed fruits that are keeled and pubescent. The fruits enclose pale brownish seeds that have an oblong shape.
The pill-bearing spurge plant blooms during August - September which is followed by the fruiting period during November and December. A solitary pill-bearing spurge plant has the capacity to produce as many as 3,000 tiny seeds that are dispersed by air or by ants and termites. Sparrows have been found to visit this plant often and, hence, it is possible that they too help in disseminating the seeds of the pill-bearing spurge.
At times, the pill-bearing spurge may be found growing in solitude in cracks at the intersection of a vertical wall and a horizontal floor both being plastered with cement. Initially, a solitary shoot comes out of the cement plaster, it grows for around ten to 15 days and subsequently begins to branch from the base of the plant. This results in the development of several upright hoots standing parallel to the original plant. The plant that grows in this manner does not have a complete greenish hue, but the leaves as well as the stems covered with bristles appear somewhat brownish in fresh and clear air. If you see such a plant growing out of the crevice, do not try to uproot or damage it for this is a rare plant species these days.
In other words, don't ignore the plant for it is rather dying out, but very valuable for our health. This plant has a long history of medicinal use and has been in use since the days of Ayurveda. Later, several other streams of medicines as well as other healthcare systems also used this plant to take care of the health of the humans.
As aforementioned, pill-bearing spurge is also known as the asthma weed and is widely used to treat problems of the respiratory tract. This herb disintegrates mucus as well as helps to provide relief from bronchial spasms, which has encouraged many people to use the plant as a remedy for asthmatic conditions, emphysema (a health condition wherein the air sacs of the lungs are abhorrently enlarged, resulting in breathlessness and wheezing), chronic bronchitis, chronic inflammation and hay fever. It may be noted here that toxic doses of the pill-bearing spurge are known to have stimulated respiratory failure in small animals.
Pill-bearing spurge or the asthma weed is considered to be an invasive plant since it multiplies and spreads rapidly and is able to adapt itself in arid as well as soggy conditions. As mentioned before, this species produces copious amount of seeds and this is another reason for its invasiveness.
Nevertheless, presently, this plant is endangered owing to destruction of habitat as well as land reclamation for various purposes. In effect, the pill-bearing spurge is a rare plant these days. Normally, pill-bearing spurge is found growing in wastelands and also in crop fields. Occasionally, this weed is also found to be growing at altitudes of around 2,000 meters. The pill-bearing spurge plant has a preference for sandy soil and has been found growing in regions that are covered with pebbles and stones.
Pill-bearing spurge can only be propagated through its seeds. Generally, it takes around two to three weeks' time for the seeds to germinate when they are placed in conditions where the temperature is 20°C. It is advisable that this plant is grown in cool green houses during the first week of March, when the atmospheric temperature is higher than 20°C. It is feasible to pick up the seedlings in May and transplant them in a sandy loam or rich loam soils having adequate drainage.
Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia Hirta syn. E. pilulifera) Health Benefits
Pill-Bearing Spurge is used for breathing disorders including asthma , coughs , hay fever , bronchitis, and chest congestion. Pill-bearing spurge is also used for mucus in the nose and throat, throat spasms, hay fever, and tumors. Some people use it to cause vomiting.
Pill-Bearing Spurge is also used for treating worms, severe diarrhea (dysentery), gonorrhea, and digestive problems.
In herbal medicine, pill-bearing spurge is especially indicated for bronchial asthma, as this herb helps to soothe the bronchial tubes and facilitates normal breathing. This herb possesses mildly expectorant and sedative properties and is also prescribed for bronchitis as well as other problems of the respiratory tract. Generally, the herb pill-bearing spurge is used together with other anti-asthmatic herbs, such as lobelia and grindelia. According to the Anglo-American convention, pill-bearing spurge is also given to cure intestinal amebiasis or amebic dysentery.
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Traditionally, the pill-bearing spurge has been used as a medication to treat asthma since internal usage of the extract of the herb is known to be a bronchodilator (any substance that works to widen contracted bronchial tubes to assist breathing). In addition, this herb is also used as an expectorant (any substance that encourages discharge of phlegm), anti-spasmodic, anti-asthmatic, haemostatic (any substance that helps in stopping bleeding), pectoral (a substance that protects the chest), soporific (a substance that causes sleep), sedative, antithelminitic (any drug that helps to expel intestinal worms), dysenteric, and diuretic.
In contemporary herbal medicine, the pill-bearing spurge is more often used to treat intestinal amoebic dysentery. In addition, pill-bearing spurge is also used to cure the sexually transmitted disease (STD) syphilis. In Africa as well as in Australia, local people use the herb to treat edema (excessive accumulation of serous fluid in the intercellular spaces between tissues), hypertension, diarrhea, ulcers and acute cases of enteritis. Nevertheless, in most countries the herb is primarily used as a common medication to treat problems of the respiratory tract, such as asthma, cough, bronchial infections and spasm of the throat. Internal use of the extract of this herb helps to disintegrate mucus within the lungs and also facilitates in discharging the spasm.
The juice extracted from the leaves of the pill-bearing spurge plant is prescribed for people suffering from colic, wounds, boils as well as other skin complaints. A decoction prepared from the fresh plant is used as a gargle for curing thrush. In addition, the herb is also used to prevent chronic diarrhea, vomiting and fever. On the other hand, the extract of the pill-bearing spurge root is given to victims of snake bite to alleviate their pain and associated symptoms.
The pill-bearing spurge plant is anodyne (a painkiller), carminative (a medicine that relieves flatulence), antipruritic (a substance that prevents itching), diuretic (a medication that increases flow of urine), depurative (a purgative), galactogogue (a substance that increases secretion of breast milk), and vermifuge (a substance that helps to expel parasites from the body, especially intestines).
Pill-Bearing Spurge (Euphorbia Hirta syn. E. pilulifera) Side effects
There isn't enough information available to know if pill-bearing spurge is safe.
When taken by mouth, pill-bearing spurge can cause some side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Don’t touch the fresh herb. Pill-bearing spurge can cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.
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Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Pill-bearing spurge is possibly unsafe to take euphorbia by mouth if you are pregnant. There is some evidence that pill-bearing spurge might cause the uterus to contract, and this could cause a miscarriage.
Stomach or intestinal problems: Pill-bearing spurge can irritate the stomach and intestines. Don’t use it if you have a stomach or intestinal disorder.