Euphorbia is an annual herb that grows as a weed with round stems, covered with yellowish hairs, small leaves, dark green on the upper side and pale on the lower side and minute whitish flowers in small stalked clusters. It has small hairy fruits and 3-angled, wrinkled, light reddish brown seeds. The entire plant, collected in flowering and fruit bearing stages and dried constitutes the drug.
The chemistry of the drug shows it to contain Gallic acid, quercetin, a new phenolic substance, and traces of an essential oil besides those of an alkaloid.
Botanical Name: Euphorbia hirta
Indian Name: Lal dudhi
Below are some of the medicinal properties of euphorbia:
- Euphorbia is an effective remedy for diseases of the respiratory tract in general, especially cough, coryza or colds in the head, bronchitis and asthma. It has a depressant action on the heart and respiration besides producing a relaxation of the bronchioles.
- It is useful in treating diarrhea. About 12 grams of the herb ground in water can be taken to check the disease.
- Euphorbia is very helpful in promoting formation and flow of breast milk amongst nursing mothers.
- Applied on the head, the milky juice of the plant is useful in promoting hair growth.
- The leaves of euphorbia are useful in the treatment of skin disorders like ulcers. The paste of the plant can also be applied beneficially on wounds and burns. The milky juice of the plant is useful in the treatment of warts. It should be applied externally on the affected area.
- Euphorbia is useful in the treatment of gonorrhea and other venereal diseases. The plant is also useful in impotency, premature ejaculation and spermatorrhea or involuntary ejaculation.
- Its leave posses anthelmintic properties and are useful in treating intestinal worms amongst children.
- The milky juice of the plant can be applied on lips and tongue, in case of cracking or chapping.
The drug should not be taken in large doses as it may cause irritation in the stomach and result in vomiting.