These plants come in a wide assortment of shapes. Some resemble Cacti, forming almost leafless, green, spindly stems with small flowers at the ends, some are boring weeds, a few would accent the herbaceous border, some are lovely flowering shrubs and some have tree-like growth. Euphorbias contain a milky-looking poisonous sap that the stems and leaves secrete after any injury. It may cause blisters on sensitive skin; therefore, care should be taken when handling these plants. The actual flowers of these plants are small and uninteresting, but they are surrounded by bracts that sometimes resemble brightly colored leaves.
Euphorbia hirta L. (Euphorbiaceae).
Synonyms and Part Used
Euphorbia capitata Lam., Euphorbia pilulifera L., Pillbearing Spurge, Snakeweed.
Leucocyanidin, quercetin, quercitrin and xanthorhamnin.
α- and β-Amyrin, taraxerol and esters, friedelin; campesterol, sitosterol and stigmasterol (sterols).
Choline, alkanes, inositol, phenolic acids (e.g. ellagic, gallic, shikimic), sugars and resins.
Euphorbia is not used in foods.
Euphorbia is stated to be used for respiratory disorders, such as asthma, bronchitis, catarrh and laryngeal spasm.It has also been used for intestinal amoebiasis.
Herb : 120–300 mg or as an infusion.
Liquid Extract of Euphorbia : 0.12–0.3 mL.
Euphorbia Tincture : 0.6–2.0 mL.
In vitro and animal studies
Euphorbia has been reported to have antispasmodic and histamine–potentiating properties.Smooth muscle relaxing and contracting activities have been exhibited by euphorbia in vitro (guinea–pig ileum) and have been attributed to shikimic acid and to choline, respectively.
In vivo antitumour activities have been documented for euphorbia.
Antibacterial activity in vitro versus both Gram–positive and Gram–negative bacteria has been documented for euphorbia.Stem extracts were slightly more active than leaf extracts. In vitro amoebicidal activity versus Entamoeba histolytica has been reported for a euphorbia decoction.
None documented for euphorbia. Carcinogenic properties in mice have been reported for shikimic acid, although no mutagenic activity was observed in the Ames assay.
Pregnancy and lactation
The safety of euphorbia has not been established. Euphorbia has been reported to cause both contraction and relaxation of smooth muscle. In view of the lack of pharmacological and toxicity data, the use of euphorbia during pregnancy and lactation should be avoided.
There is little published information concerning euphorbia, although documented actions observed in animals do support the traditional herbal uses. There is a lack of information concerning toxicity, although the documented constituents of euphorbia do not indicate any obvious toxic component. Nevertheless, excessive or prolonged ingestion should be avoided.