Asthma herb (Euphorbia hirta) is a small, erect, annual herb plant. It can grow up to 20 inches long with a solid, hairy stem that produces an abundant white latex. There are stipules present. The leaves are elliptical, opposite, oblong-lanceolate or simply oblong, acute or subacute, pale beneath, dark green above, with a faintly toothed edge, and blotched with darker or purple on the middle or upper surface. The blossoms are unisexual and found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. They lack petals and are generally on a stalk. The fruit is a capsule with three valves and produces tiny, oblong, four-sided red seeds. It has a white or brown taproot.
Species: E. hirta
Scientific Name: Euphorbia hirta
Synonyms: Chamaesyce gemella (Lag.) Small, Chamaesyce hirta (L.) Millsp.,Chamaesyce karwinskyi (Boiss.) Millsp., Chamaesyce rosei Millsp., Desmonema hirta (L.) Raf, Euphorbia bancana Miq., Euphorbia capitata Lam., Euphorbia chrysochaeta W.Fitzg., Euphorbia gemella Lag., Euphorbia globulifera Kunth, Euphorbia karwinskyi Boiss., Euphorbia nodiflora Steud., Euphorbia obliterata Jacq, Euphorbia verticillata Vell.
- English: Asthma herb or Asthma Plant, Pill-Bearing Spurge, Snakeweed, Asthma Weed, Dove milk, Common spurge, Cats hair.
- Tamil: Ammam Paccharisi
- Telugu: Nanabalu
- Malayalam: Nelapalai
- Hindi: Bara dudhi
- Manipuri: Pakhang leiton, Pakhangba maton
- Marathi: Dudhi
- Kannada: Hachchedida, Kempu nene akki soppu
- Bengali: Barokarni
- Konkani: Dudurli
- Tangkhul: Pakhang leiton
- Nepali: Ankhle Jhaar, Dudhe, Dudhe Jhaar, Dudhiyaa, Raato Maase Laharaa, Raato Lahare Ghaans, Chimphar Jhaar, Jotane Jhaar.
- Assamese: Gakheerotee bon
- Mizo: Zawhte-hlo
How to grow and maintain Asthma herb (Euphorbia hirta):
It prefers full to partial sunlight. Provide good sunlight at least 3-5 hours of the day.
It grows well in well-draining, well-drained, sandy loam or rich loam soils. They are not particular about soil pH, but they cannot tolerate wet soil.
You can allow the soil to dry out between each watering. Before watering the plant check underneath the pot through the drainage holes to see if the roots are dry. If so then add some water. Do not water too often to prevent overwatering, which can potentially kill it off.
It prefers an optimal temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit – 85 degrees Fahrenheit / 16 degrees Celsius to 29 degrees Celsius.
Fertilize every two weeks with a diluted balanced liquid fertilizer during its growing season in the spring and summer. Avoid fertilizing your plant during the fall and winter months.
It can be easily propagated by seed. Sow mid to late spring. 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.
Pests and Diseases
Euphorbia may be susceptible to mealy bugs, scale insects, occasionally spider mites.
Benefits of Asthma herb (Euphorbia hirta)
- Asthma herb (Euphorbia hirta) plant’s young leaves and shoots are cooked as a vegetable.
- Euphorbia hirta has been traditionally used to treat bronchitic asthma and laryngeal spasm, though in modern herbalism it is more used in the treatment of intestinal amoebic dysentery.
- The salves made from Euphorbia hirta can be applied directly to the skin on boils, wounds, rashes, burns, and other marks. This solution can speed the healing process by stimulating blood flow to the skin, stimulate the regrowth of new cells, and even contribute its antioxidant capacity to promoting healthier-looking skin. It can eliminate signs of aging and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and sun damage.
- It is utilized as a diuretic to treat urogenital diseases, such as kidney stones, menstrual problems, sterility, and venereal diseases.
- Its latex is applied externally in skin diseases like warts and ringworm.
- The juice of Euphorbia hirta plant is used in dysentery and abdominal pain.
- Its root decoction or plant juice is used to improve breast milk quantity but avoid its usage in pregnancy.
- The plant has a reputation as an analgesic to treat severe headache, toothache, rheumatism, colic, and pains during pregnancy. It is used as an antidote and pain relief for scorpion stings and snakebites.
- The herb relaxes the bronchioles but apparently depresses the heart and general respiration. It is usually used in combination with other anti-asthma herbs such as Grindelia camporum and Lobelia inflata.
- The stem, taken internally, is famed as a treatment for asthma, bronchitis, and various other lung complaints.
- It is also used to treat affections of the skin and mucous membranes, including warts, scabies, ringworm, thrush, aphthae, fungal afflictions, measles, Guinea-worm and as an antiseptic to treat wounds, sores, and conjunctivitis.
- Euphorbia hirta has a number of effects when it comes to sexual health, but its antiviral and antibacterial qualities make it very effective in treating venereal diseases and urinary tract infections. This is a traditional use and also a modern one. In males, Euphorbia hirta has long been used as a sexual stimulant, both to increase libido and boost fertility. It can also help to prevent premature ejaculation.
- It may be noted that it should always be taken under proper guidance and consultation as it can also become a cause for vomiting and gastro-intestinal pain in some cases.
- It should not be used without expert guidance, however, since large doses cause gastro-intestinal irritation, nausea, and vomiting.
- It should not be given to pregnant women, as it can cause miscarriages.
- A high dose can cause stomach irritation, nausea, constipation, etc. Due to its anti-fertility property avoid its usage in patients seeking treatment for infertility.