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Euphorbia hirta - L.

Common Name Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge
Family Euphorbiaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
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    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Euphorbia hirta Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge

Euphorbia hirta Asthma Weed, Pill-Bearing Spurge


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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 species is monoecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but both sexes can be found on the same plant) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Chamaesyce gemella. Chamaesyce karwinskyi. Desmonema hirta. Ditritea hirta. Euphorbia chrysochaeta

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves  Shoots
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].

References   More on Edible Uses

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  Dysentery  Febrifuge  
Galactogogue  Purgative  VD  Vermifuge  Warts

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].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

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].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant 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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

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Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

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.

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?

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.

airez suya   Wed Jul 26 2006

are there any studies done regarding the histochemical composition of euphorbia hirta?

euphorbia hirta

angel   Wed Aug 23 2006

what is a euphorbia hirta by the way?

kim   Fri Aug 25 2006

im want to know the composition of this plant now

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.

monique   Wed Dec 20 2006

i want to know what is in the mangagaw plant that it can cure dengue?

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.

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

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... [email protected]....... pls.........

rachel   Fri Mar 16 2007

how can i get the latex of the said plant? please? can u help me with it?

Sapna Shrikumar   Sun Mar 18 2007


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?

   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!!!

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.

michelle   Fri Aug 10 2007

hi im from University of San Carlos in Cebu...im 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 [email protected]

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.

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

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

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.

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?

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 [email protected]

Carlo   Wed Jul 8 2009

Are there any studies on Euphorbia milii? Is it comparable to the effect of Euphorbia hirta? Carlo, UST

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.

katrin   Thu Sep 17 2009

what are the active components that can be seen in the Euphorbia hirta???

arak yam   Sun Nov 15 2009

how many oleic acid and linoleic acid are there in the australian asthma weed have?

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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