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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




on this pageASTHMA WEED
aka Cat's Hair, Pill-bearing spurge, Queensland Asthma Weed
(Euphorbia hirta syn E. pilulifera)
[da fei yang cao]
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CAUTION: All Euphorbias are TOXIC if eaten; the sap (latex) is a serious skin and eye irritant. Incompatible with licorice....DO NOT COMBINE! Dangerous herb....NOT for home use! Experimentally hypoglycemic. Herb relaxes bronchioles but seems to depress the heart and general respiration. Toxic doses have killed small animals through RESPIRATORY FAILURE.

NOTE: E. helioscopia is cited by Michael Tierra, MH, as being as safe to use as E. hirta.

CONTAINS: Glycoside, alkaloids, sterols, tannins, phorbic acid. Camphol, leucocyanidol, quercitol, quercitrin and a quercitol derivative containing rhamnose and a chlorophenolic acid. Though reported to contain HCN, the plants have been generally negative cyanogenetic in testing. The irritating latex contains euphorbon.
The dry herb yields gallic acid, a phenol-like substance, an alcohol euphosterol and a trace of alkaloid (upto 2% xanthorhamnin).
Whole herb yields taraxerol and taraxerone. Also: resin, calcium, wax, calcium malate, lignin, basorin, volatile oil.

Most spurges contain diterpene esters which are carcinogenic, highly irritant and purgative. E. hirta, however, is ester-free and considered a safe remedy in Traditonal Chinese Medicine (TCM). This plant was listed in the NF 1916-47 as having some reputation as an anti-asthmatic.
An annual plant which is common to all tropical countries. Slender, hairy stem and lanceolate opposite toothed leaves; small yellow flowers that occur in dense clusters in the leaf axils, producing small reddish wrinkled seeds; the plant produces a milk latex which is irritating to mucous membranes.

PROPAGATION: By seed sown in spring (subject to control as a weed in Australia)
NEEDS: Dry, sandy soil in full sun to part shade.
HARVEST: Plants are cut when flowering (or fruiting) and dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, and tinctures; plant used fresh for juice.
PART USED: Whole plant and juice.

USES

MEDICINAL:
NB: A test done in China using a 20% preparation of the neutral saponins from this herb were injected intramuscularly for the treatment of cancer of the esophagus. More than half of the 64 patients studied either were completely cured or markedly improved. Results whose esophageal tumors remained unreduced in size were able to swallow food more easily. It is believed that the tumors may have been softened by the saponins in the herb.

Acrid, bitter, cool, slightly toxic, antiseptic that expels phlegm and relieves spasms; extracts are spasmolytic and antihistaminic. Also, anti-inflammatory. Affects colon, spleen, lung, large intestine.
Specific in Traditional Chinese Medicine for destroying the organism which causes amoebic dysentery.
Decoction has been used for asthmatic conditions, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema; the tincture is used in coryza and hay fever.
Has been used internally for asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, nervous cough (for relaxing the larynx), excess mucous, hay fever, and amoebic dysentery; combined with Grindelia camporum (gumplant) for asthma and bronchitis.
Juice has been used externally for warts; whole plant is used externally for burns.
Has been used in Chinese medicine: the stem is utilized for asthma and bronchitis; whole plant is decocted for athlete's foot, dysentery, enteritis, fever, gas, itch and skin conditions.
Other medical disciplines regard it as anodyne, depuritive, diuretic, lactagogue, purgative and vermifuge. It is used for asthma, bronchitis, calculus, colic, cough, dysentery, dyspnea, eruptions, excrescences, eyelids, fever, flu, fractures, gonorrhea, headache, hypertension, itch, measles, nausea, opthalmia, skin ailments, sores, splinters, stomach ache, tumors, urogenital ailments, warts and wounds.

DOSE = TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
DRIED HERB = 0.1 to 1/3 gram 3 times per day
INFUSION = 1 cup boiling water over 1/2 to 1 tsp dried leaves and steeped for 10 to 15 minutes; taken 3 times daily.
DECOCTION = Please note, decoction is made in a 1 to 40 ratio and taken 1 Tbsp at a time.
FLUID EXTRACT = 1/2 to 1 drachm
TINCTURE = 1 to 2 ml taken 3 times daily.

HOMEOPATHIC:
Used for Humid asthma, cardiac dyspnea, hay fever, bronchitis, urethritis with intense pain on urinating and with much urging. Acrid leucorrhea. Hemorrhages from sunstroke and traumatism.
DOSE is 3rd to 6th potency.





©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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