Tawa Tawa, a Medicine!

Topics: Chemistry, Diuretic, Herbalism Pages: 8 (1616 words) Published: October 25, 2010

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ABSTRACT: Medicinal herbs are the local heritage with global importance. Medicinal herbs have curative properties due to presence of various complex chemical substance of different composition, which are found as secondary plant metabolites in one or more parts of these plants. These plant metabolites according to their composition are grouped as alkaloids, glycosides, corticosteroids, essential oils etc. Euphorbia hirta, (familyEuphorbiaceae) is an herb found in many parts of the world. In Sanskrit it means “Dugadhika” According to the Doctrine of Signatures, the plant has a reputation for increasing milk flow in women, because of its milky latex, and is used for other female complaints as well as diseases of the respiratory tract. The plant has been reported as increase in urine output, antidiarrheal, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory etc.

Key words: Phytochemistry, Pharmacological aspects, Euphorbia hirta linn.

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Euphorbia hirta L. is a medicinal, rhizomatous herb distributed in Southern Western Ghats of India and Northern East Coast of Tamil Nadu (1). In East and West Africa extracts of the plant are used in treatment of asthma and respiratory tract inflammations. It is also used for coughs, chronic bronchitis and other pulmonary disorders in Malagasy. The plant is also widely used in Angola against diarrhoea and dysentery, especially amoebic dysentery. In Nigeria extracts or exudates of the plant are used as ear drops and in the treatment of boils, sore and promoting wound healing (2). DESCRIPTION: Euphorbia Hirta L. Family: (Euphorbiaceae) Vernacular names: dudhani, dudhi English name: snake weed Morphology:

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The plant is native to India but is a pan tropical weed, found especially on roadsides and wasteland.

Botanical description:

A small, erect or ascending annual herb reaching up to 50 cm, with hairy stems. The leaves are opposite, elliptical, oblong or oblong-lanceolate, with a faintly toothed margin and darker on the upper surface. The flowers are small, numerous and crowded together in dense cymes about 1 cm in diameter. The fruits are yellow, three-celled, hairy, keeled capsules, 1-2 mm in diameter, containing three brown, four-sided, angular, wrinkled seeds (3).Parts used: leaves, stem, flowers

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Traditional and modern usage:

The plant has been used for female disorders but is now more important in treating respiratory ailments, especially cough, coryza, bronchitis and asthma. In India it is used to treat worm infestations in children and for dysentery, gonorrhoea, jaundice, pimples, digestive problems and tumours (4).

Ethnoveternary usage:

The fresh milky latex is applied to wounds and warts and the root of the plant is used in sprains and inflammation, miscarriage, epilepsy, maggots in wounds and irregular growth of teeth (5).


The aerial parts of plant are well investigated for chemical information (6). Flavonoids: Euphorbianin, leucocyanidol, camphol, quercitrin and quercitol (7, 8).

Polyphenols: Gallic acid, myricitrin, 3,4-di-O-galloylquinic acid,2,4,6-tri-O-galloyl-Dglucose, 1 ,2,3 ,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-β- D-glucose (9,10).

Tannins: Euphorbins A, B, C, D, E (11).

Triterpenes and phytosterols: β-Amyrin, 24-methylenecycloartenol, and β-Sitosterol (12).

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Alkanes: Heptacosane, n-nonacosane and others (13).

Chemical Structure:

Gallic acid




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