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What Are the Medical Uses of Euphorbia Hirta?

By Lumara Lee
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Euphorbia hirta, or asthma weed, has been used medicinally in various cultures for centuries. The entire plant can be used as a natural medicine whether it is collected during its dried, fruiting, or blooming stage. Each part of the plant is effective for treating different ailments. For example, the leaves can be used to treat skin disorders while the milky sap can be used to speed the healing of chapped or cracked lips. A decoction made from the flowers can aid in healing eye infections and inflammations, such as conjunctivitis or pinkeye.

In the Philippines, this plant is known as tawa-tawa and has long been the natural treatment of choice for dengue disease. Dengue fever is an infectious disease that is spread by mosquitoes in tropical areas. In addition to flu-like symptoms it causes the blood platelet count to drop, which can be fatal. Euphorbia hirta is administered to dengue victims because it increases the platelet count and speeds healing.

Another name for the plant is snakeroot because it is used to treat snakebite. Its antihelmintic properties help the body to expel worms and other parasites. Applying crushed leaves to a wound can stop bleeding, and it contains anti-inflammatory agents that speed the healing of pimples, wounds, and boils.

Ayurvedic medical practitioners in India use euphorbia hirta to treat bronchial conditions. An extract of this medicinal plant can ease the symptoms of colds, asthma, bronchitis, and coughs. It is also used to treat urinary tract infections and venereal diseases, such as syphilis and gonorrhea.

This healing herb is used to treat sexual disorders in males. It is an effective treatment for impotence. The plant can also help prevent premature and involuntary ejaculation.

Euphorbia hirta promotes the healing of various female disorders. A decoction of the root is given to increase lactation in nursing mothers who aren’t producing enough milk, but it should never be administered to pregnant women. Different parts of the plant can induce miscarriage.

Euphorbia hirta contains antiviral and antibacterial properties which make it effective in treating a wide variety of diseases. It can reduce the symptoms of diarrhea and is commonly used to treat dysentery. A decoction made from the root can be administered via an enema to cure constipation. This same decoction can be used as a gargle to treat mouth ulcers and thrush. Ingesting large amounts of this herb can induce vomiting, and it should never be taken without the guidance of a professional health practitioner.

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Discussion Comments
By anon339606 — On Jun 24, 2013

My father has had CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia), diagnosed in November 2011. As a complication, he has thrombocytopenia and has to have RBC and platelet transfusions as quickly as within a week. Upon reading of the studies of platelet increase associated with euphorbia hirta, we took the risk of experimenting with the plant and he took its extract in tea form. We've not had to transfuse blood platelets or RBC packs ever since August of 2012.

By indigomoth — On Jul 15, 2011

@Mor - The thing is, tawa tawa has some really great properties. What it really needs is to be investigated and refined to see if those qualities can be put to better use.

At the moment there isn't a whole lot people can do for people suffering from Dengue aside from support them with oral rehydration. The disease causes blood pressure to plummet, which is why you need to keep fluids up to try and compensate.

The euphorbia weed is thought to encourage blood platelet growth, so in combination with fluids, it's a pretty good treatment.

But, you're right, if someone is very sick, they can be given better care with a doctor.

By Mor — On Jul 14, 2011

There have been a few articles lately which state that tawa tawa (euphorbia hirta) is not enough to treat severe dengue fever.

I think the problem is that people in the Philippines use this herb and think that that is enough to cure the disease. It is also promoted by some people in the government as being a treatment for dengue.

The worry is that in severe cases it can stop people from seeking professional help, because they already believe they've done as much as they can.

Mostly, these articles don't say it can't help in more mild cases, but that it shouldn't be relied on in severe ones.

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