PILL BEARING SPURGE,
The whole of this tropical herb,
also known as asthma weed, is used by Chinese physicians for dysentery and
athlete's foot, and by herbalists for amoebic dysentery in the tropics, and
for asthma, bronchitis and catarrh.
Pill bearing spurge is one of the few safe medicinal plants among the several thousand
species in its family. Most Euphorbiaceae contain a milky latex that can be very
poisonous, for example, E. heptagona is used in poisoned arrows in east Africa.
Native to India but naturalized throughout the tropics, E. hirta grows freely on waste
ground and roadsides, and as a garden weed. It can be annual or perennial and has low
spreading stems and oval leaves, both of which are reddish and hairy. Tight clusters
of small flowers appear in summer followed by capsules containing tiny red seeds.
Flavonoids, including quercetin; terpenoids; phenolic acids; choline.
Anti-asthmatic; expectorant; reduces muscle tension and spasm; kills and helps expel worms; kills amoebae.
Given for asthma, bronchitis, and upper respiratory catarrh. Used against amoebic dysentery in the tropics.
Chinese physicians prescribe it for athlete's foot and other skin conditions, as well as dysentery.