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Euphorbia hirta - L.                
Common Name Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge
Family Euphorbiaceae
Synonyms Chamaesyce gemella. Chamaesyce karwinskyi. Desmonema hirta. Ditritea hirta. Euphorbia chrysochaeta
Known Hazards 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[200]. Prolonged and regular contact with the sap is inadvisable because of its carcinogenic nature[214]. Adverse effects include: nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions [301].
Habitats Waste places and cultivated fields in lowland Japan[58]. Moist open places at elevations up to 1800 metres in Nepal[272].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, Himalayas.
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Euphorbia hirta is a ANNUAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is frost tender. The flowers are monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and are pollinated by Insects.

USDA hardiness zone : Coming soon

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Euphorbia hirta Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge
Euphorbia hirta Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses:

Tender young leaves and shoots - cooked as a vegetable[272]. A famine food, used when all else fails[177, 179] and I would have to be very desperate to eat it even then[K].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Anodyne;  Antiasthmatic;  Antipruritic;  Carminative;  Depurative;  Diuretic;  Febrifuge;  Galactogogue;  Purgative;  VD;  Vermifuge;  

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[268]. It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea and vomiting[268]. The plant is anodyne, antipruritic, carminative, depurative, diuretic, febrifuge, galactogogue, purgative and vermifuge[218].The aerial parts of the plant are harvested when in flower during the summer and can be dried for later use[238]. The stem, taken internally, is famed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis and various other lung complaints[218, 238, 240]. The herb relaxes the bronchioles but apparently depresses the heart and general respiration[218]. It is usually used in combination with other anti-asthma herbs such as Grindelia camporum and Lobelia inflata[254]. It is also used to treat intestinal amoebic dysentery[254]. The whole plant is decocted and used in the treatment of athlete's foot, dysentery, enteritis and skin conditions[218]. It has been used in the treatment of syphilis[4]. The sap is applied to warts in order to destroy them[238, 240]. The treatment needs to be repeated 2 - 3 times a day over a period of several weeks to be fully effective[K].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a light well-drained moderately rich loam in an open sunny position[200]. The plant is not very tolerant of frost[238], though it can probably be grown successfully in this country as a spring-sown annual[K]. Hybridizes with other members of this genus[200]. The ripe seed is released explosively from the seed capsules[200]. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits[233]. 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[141].
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.
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[58]Ohwi. G. Flora of Japan. (English translation)
The standard work. Brilliant, but not for the casual reader.
[141]Carruthers. S. P. (Editor) Alternative Enterprises for Agriculture in the UK.
Some suggested alternative commercial crops for Britain. Readable. Produced by a University study group.
[177]Kunkel. G. Plants for Human Consumption.
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
[179]Reid. B. E. Famine Foods of the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[218]Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S. Medicinal Plants of China
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
[233]Thomas. G. S. Perennial Garden Plants
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
[272]Manandhar. N. P. Plants and People of Nepal
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
edward r. cagape md Wed Apr 12 2006
Here in the PHILIPPINES, it is being used to treat Acute Dengue Fever. A clinical study done by Mary Ann C. Diego-Trazo MD at the Department of Pediatrics, Davao Medical Center, showed good postive results. Further study is recommended.
Elizabeth H.
SUMALATHA Wed Jun 21 2006
I am interested in working on the chemistry of Euphorbia hirta latex. Can you suggest any work already reported and the potential that it offers for ending with some medicinally or toxicologically interesting principles?
Elizabeth H.
Sumalatha Mon Jul 10 2006
Thank you for ur suggestions, further i want to know how to collect Euphorbia hirta latex as it is very difficult to collect even one drop from 100plants. Further i want to know whether it is a colonial plant.
Elizabeth H.
airez suya Wed Jul 26 2006
are there any studies done regarding the histochemical composition of euphorbia hirta?

euphorbia hirta

Elizabeth H.
angel Wed Aug 23 2006
what is a euphorbia hirta by the way?
Elizabeth H.
kim Fri Aug 25 2006
im want to know the composition of this plant now
Elizabeth H.
Walter Thu Sep 7 2006
Can you send to me previous studies, chemical and histological composition of this plant? It will truly help me a lot.
Elizabeth H.
monique Wed Dec 20 2006
i want to know what is in the mangagaw plant that it can cure dengue?
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future. Wed Dec 20 2006
There are a number of reasons why this plant might be helpful in cases of Dengue fever, though as far as I know there is no conclusive evidence to prove its effectiveness. In particular, its antimicrobial and antiparasitic actions could be of benefit, along with its antispasmodic effect. The following is all we know about the medically active constituents in the plant. ASTHMA WEED contains a number of medically active constituents including flavonoids, phenolic acids, shikimic acid and choline. There has been some research into these constituents, especially in Asia, though the specific function of each constituent has not been clearly established. It is known that flavonoids, in general, help to improve the circulation and have diuretic, anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory actions. It is also believed that the shikimic acid and choline are at least partly responsible for the herb’s antispasmodic action. The main actions of the whole herb can be summarized as follows:- • It has a strong antispasmodic action, working especially on the smooth muscles. • It relaxes the bronchioles but apparently depresses the heart and general respiration. • It promotes the expectoration of catarrh from the respiratory system. • It has a mildly sedative and pain-relieving action. • It increases the flow of urine. • It has an antimicrobial action and has been shown to be effective against amoeba and fungal infections. • In small doses it has a calming influence over the digestive system, though in large doses it has a drastic purgative action.
Elizabeth H.
oryctalogus cun iculus Wed Feb 28 2007
we are succesfull in getting positive results using mangagaw decoction in increasing the platelet count in thrombocytopenic rabbits... from group 4 cebu doctor's university college of medicine
Elizabeth H.
chics Wed Oct 18 2006
hi guys. do you have any idea about the similar uses of E. hirta and mulberry extract. if you do can you help me??? were having a hard time comparing the two herbal medicine and we will really appriciate it if you can halp us..... if you have any ideas can you email it to my add... CLERVSYD_999@YAHOO.COM....... pls.........
Elizabeth H.
rachel Fri Mar 16 2007
how can i get the latex of the said plant? please? can u help me with it?
Elizabeth H.
Sapna Shrikumar Sun Mar 18 2007
Elizabeth H.
Olayiwola Sikirullahi Wed May 23 2007
When we were young,we use Euphorbia hirta to treat enzema.I want to know if there is any extract of E.hirta that can be used in cosmetics formulations?
Elizabeth H.
Sun Jul 8 2007
hello! We are conducting about this plant for dengue and I just want to know if it had already been proven so that we won’t conduct this study anymore…hope you’ll answer it.. thanks!!!
Elizabeth H.
hewl Sat Jul 14 2007
Can anyone also send me previous studies, chemical and histological composition of this plant? We're currently working on the toxicity and antimutagec properties of euphorbia hirta l. i hope i can find help here. tnx.
Elizabeth H.
michelle Fri Aug 10 2007
hi im from University of San Carlos in a chemist student...i would like to ask what good solvent should i must used to separate the compound that is present in this plant to see any bioenzymes that would prove that is good for curing dengue?...i hope u would answer my questions..if u would reply just email me at
Elizabeth H.
siba narayan acharya Wed Oct 10 2007
i want 2 know about the works which have been done on its various activities of the aerial parts.
Elizabeth H.
solomon Wed Oct 31 2007
wants more details cos i want 2 know if the plant can be used to an effect on shigella and e.coli.thanks 4 the infor seen already
Elizabeth H.
lrey Tue Jul 15 2008
I want to know if Euphorbia hirta has a significant effect in wound healing, as its name implies in our dialect-mangagaw(to infect). I also want to know its biochemical composition..thanx
Elizabeth H.
romualdine sienes Wed Jul 16 2008
hi... my names romualdine sienes, i'm a student here in the university of southeastern philippines bo. obrero. the truth i was conducting a research regarding euphorbia hirta in our small bario in sta.cruz davao del sur. i just wanna ask for your help or advise because i'm having a hard time doing my research. since, or i'm hoping that you're in town you could help me or send me mails or much more we could meet. i'm doing a survey and i'm identifying the different species of tawa-tawa. hope you could help me. thankz and god bless.
Elizabeth H.
lester campoy Mon Dec 1 2008
i will be doing a thesis on the relationship of platelet production and Euphorbia hirta treatment on test mice. Is there really a significant effect? Is there anybody out there doing a research about this?
Elizabeth H.
anne Fri Jan 30 2009
hello everyone , am collecting plants which can cure asthma so anybody having idea about this plant,its chemical composition and chemical contributing its asthmatic value,plis tell me to my emailo id
Elizabeth H.
Carlo Wed Jul 8 2009
Are there any studies on Euphorbia milii? Is it comparable to the effect of Euphorbia hirta? Carlo, UST
Elizabeth H.
carmela Mon Jul 13 2009
my daughter is doing research about euphorbia hirta's effect on the immune system.can you help us if she can use canine or she do tests in vitro.thank you.
Elizabeth H.
katrin Thu Sep 17 2009
what are the active components that can be seen in the Euphorbia hirta???
Elizabeth H.
arak yam Sun Nov 15 2009
how many oleic acid and linoleic acid are there in the australian asthma weed have?
Elizabeth H.
maria fe Mon Dec 14 2009
i am interested working on how euphorbita hirta cure asthma..will you please send to me the chemical properties of this plant.and its active components that can cure asthma..thank you.
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