Euphorbia Herb

Other Names of Euphorbia:

Spurges, akoko, tabaibas, poinsettia, caper spurge (E. lathyris), snow on the mountain (E. marginata), sun spurge (E. helioscopia), cypress spurge (E. cyparissias), Mediterranean spurge, tawa-tawa (Filipino), snakeroot, asthma plant

Useful Parts of the Plant: Leaves, extract from crushed flowers, decoction from roots

Euphorbia is a flowering plant with numerous sub-species. Most of its species are called splurges, which can be herbaceous or succulent. Almost all parts of the plant are of medicinal value. When a leaf or part of the stem is cut, milky sap oozes out and immediately gets coagulated. This can be highly toxic if it comes in direct contact with our skin. Hence, while certain parts of euphorbia can be used for its health benefits, the plant can also be toxic and unsafe for use. It is best to wear gloves when handling the euphorbia herb. Euphorbia seeds are not sold commercially on a large scale as their shelf life is rather limited.

Nutritional Information and Properties

Macro minerals, namely, sodium, potassium, calcium, and lithium have been detected in euphorbia. The plant also contains beta-carotene, vitamin C, and phenolics. Euphorbia is widely used to clear up the respiratory tract and for the treatment of asthma. It has a broncho-dilatory effect that helps to relieve the symptoms of most respiratory diseases. The root of the plant also possesses anti-emetic properties and can combat vomiting. As mentioned earlier, although the leaves, flowers, and roots possess medicinal properties, the latex is quite poisonous and can cause damage to the skin or any other surface of the body.

Health benefits and Therapeutic Uses

Euphorbia herb is most commonly used to treat bronchitis and asthma-related problems. It is also believed to provide relief from symptoms associated with colds and the flu. Other health benefits and uses are as follows.

  • The leaves of euphorbia are known to be helpful in treating skin irritations. The milky sap, while poisonous, can be used to clear up warts on the surface of the skin.
  • An extract made from the crushed euphorbia flower can heal eye infections and inflammations like conjunctivitis.
  • The plant is believed to promote healing in cases of dengue fever by facilitating the production of platelets.
  • Euphorbia can also be used to treat snakebites.
  • It is also known for its anthelmintic properties, and it can be used to get rid of worms and other parasitic organisms.
  • Euphorbia is also considered to boost breast milk production in lactating mothers.
  • Euphorbia can be used in the treatment of venereal diseases like gonorrhea. In fact, it has also found use in the treatment of impotency, premature ejaculation, and other sexual disorders.
  • The root of euphorbia can be made into a paste and used for healing stomach pain. However, it should be consumed only in recommended doses, else it can induce vomiting.
  • Euphorbia is also said to possess antiviral properties, and it has been used in the treatment of dysentery and to alleviate the symptoms of diarrhea.
  • In Chinese medicine, this herb is used as a diuretic and laxative. It is believed to expel water from the body and thus reduce edema and inflammation of the lymph nodes.

Other Uses: Earlier, the plant was believed to be used in linoleum, oilskin, and the leather industry.

Precautions/ Side Effects/ Warnings

Euphorbia is am herb with diverse medicinal properties. Yet, the usage of this plant as a drug should be considered only under the supervision of a medical practitioner. In cases where excess amount of the herb has been ingested, nausea and vomiting can be induced. The milky sap of the plant can also cause contact dermatitis. It may also irritate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Thus, handling the leaves or stem of the euphorbia tree with bare hands is best avoided.