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Uses

Toxic parts

The sap contains a latex which is toxic on ingestion and highly irritant externally, causing photosensitive skin reactions and severe inflammation, especially on contact with eyes or open cuts. The toxicity can remain high even in dried plant material[1]. Prolonged and regular contact with the sap is inadvisable because of its carcinogenic nature[2].

Edible uses

Notes

Tender young leaves and shoots - cooked as a vegetable[3]. A famine food, used when all else fails[4][5] and I would have to be very desperate to eat it even then[K].

Leaves

Material uses

There are no material uses listed for Euphorbia hirta.

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Asthma weed has traditionally been used in Asia to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery[6]. It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting[6].

The plant is anodyne, antipruritic, carminative, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, galactogogue, purgative and vermifuge[7].The aerial parts of the plant are harvested when in flower during the summer and can be dried for later use[8]. The stem, taken internally, is famed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis and various other lung complaints[7][8][9]. The herb relaxes the bronchioles but apparently depresses the heart and general respiration[7]. It is usually used in combination with other anti-asthma herbs such as Grindelia camporum and Lobelia inflata[10]. It is also used to treat intestinal amoebic dysentery[10]. The whole plant is decocted and used in the treatment of athlete's foot, dysentery, enteritis and skin conditions[7]. It has been used in the treatment of syphilis[11].

The sap is applied to warts in order to destroy them[8][9]. The treatment needs to be repeated 2 - 3 times a day over a period of several weeks to be fully effective[K].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - sow mid to late spring in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 3 weeks at 20°c. It might be best to sow the seed in a cool greenhouse in early March. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant out the seedlings in late May. This will give the plants longer to grow and mature.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Euphorbia hirta. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a light well-drained moderately rich loam in an open sunny position[1].

The plant is not very tolerant of frost[8], though it can probably be grown successfully in this country as a spring-sown annual[K]. Hybridizes with other members of this genus[1]. The ripe seed is released explosively from the seed capsules[1]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[12].

This genus has been singled out as a potential source of latex (for making rubber) for the temperate zone, although no individual species has been singled out[13].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Euphorbia hirta. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Euphorbia hirta.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Euphorbia hirta
Genus
Euphorbia
Family
Euphorbiaceae
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
?
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
full sun
Shade
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    ?
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    ?
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type











    References

    1. ? 1.01.11.21.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    2. ? Matthews. V. The New Plantsman. Volume 1, 1994. Royal Horticultural Society ISBN 1352-4186 (1994-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.1 Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-527-6 (2002-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption. Koeltz Scientific Books ISBN 3874292169 (1984-00-00)
    5. ? 5.05.1 Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao. Taipei. Southern Materials Centre (1977-00-00)
    6. ? 6.06.16.2 Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.4 Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China Reference Publications, Inc. ISBN 0-917256-20-4 (1985-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement). Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi. (1986-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.110.2 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    11. ? 11.011.1 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    12. ? Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants J. M. Dent & Sons, London. ISBN 0 460 86048 8 (1990-00-00)
    13. ? Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK. Centre for Agricultural Strategy, Univ. of Reading ISBN 0704909820 (1986-00-00)
    14. ? Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation) Smithsonian Institution (1965-00-00)