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Euphorbia thymifolia


Euphorbia thymifolia, Euphorbia burmannianaAnisophyllum burmannianum, Anisophyllum thymifolium, Chamaesyce thymifolia [1-3]

Vernacular Names:


Gelang Susu, Jarak Blanda, Rumpot Janggot, Sedang Padang, Sisik Merah

English Asthma Plant, Pill-bearing Spurge. Thyme-leaf Spurge, Chicken Weed [4]
China Zhu Zi Cao [7], Ziao Lei Cao
Indonesia Patikan China, Gelang Pasir, Krokot China (Java); Ki Mules, Nanagkaan Gede, Useup Nana (West Java); Jalu-jalu Tona (Maluku) [5]

Nam Nom Ratchasi Lek (Central); No Chi Yong (Karen-Kanchanaburi)

Philippines Makikitot [6]
India Duddhi, Dudhiya, Choti-dudhi (Hindi); Kempu Nene Hakki (Kannada); Nilappakla (Malayalam); Laghu Dugdhi, Raktabinducchada, Dugdhika (Sanskrit); Sittirappaladi (Tamil); Reddivarimanubala (Telagu)

General Information


Euphobia thymifolia is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is a monocious, prostate, annual herb with branches up to 25cm long, with numerous adventitious roots. The stems are with white latex. The leaves are opposite, distichous, simple; blade ovate, measures up to 8mm x 4mm; stipules linear 1mm long, deeply 2-3 toothed. The base unequal, one side cuneate the other side rounded, apex rounded, margins shallowly toothed, glabrous above and sparsely long-hairy beneath. The petioles are 0.5mm long. Inflorescence is in the form of terminal or axillary cluster of flowers called a cyathium, on short leafy shoots; cyathia almost sessile, measures 0.5mm x 0.5mm, with a funnel-shaped involucre, lobes triangular, minute, margin hairy, glands 4, minute, almost circular, red with very small red appendages, each involucre containing 1 female flower surrounded by few male flowers. The flowers are unisexual; male flowers sessile, bracteoles hair-like, perianth absent, stamen 1mm long; female flowers almost sessile, perianth a rim, ovary superior, glabrous, 3-celled, styles 3, minute, 2-fid. The fruit an acutely 3-lobed, almost sessile capsule 1mm x 1mm base truncate, short-hairy. 3 seeded. The seeds are conical, measure 0.5mm in diameter, acutely 4-angled, shallowly transversely wrinkled, reddish brown without caruncle [8-9].

Plant Part Used

Whole plant [14-15]

Chemical Constituents

1-desgalloyleugeniin; 1-O-galloyl-3,6-(R)-valoneayl-b-D-glucose; 5-desgalloylstachyruin; 12-deoxy-4-b-hydroxyphorbol-13-dodecanoate-20-acetate; 12-deoxy-4-b-hydroxyphorbol-13-phenyacetate-29-acetate; 12-deoxyphorbol-13,20-diacetate; 24-methylene cycloartenol; b-amyrine; b-sitosterol; bixanin; campesterol; carvacrol; casuariin; cholesterol; corilagin; cosmosiin (apigenins-7-glucoside); cymol; epitaraxerol; eugeniin; euphorbol; geraniin; isomallotinic acid; rugosin B; kaempferol; limonene; mallotinic acid; n-hexacosanol; pedunculagin; quercetin; quercetin-3-b-galactoside; quercetin-3-rhamnoside; stigmasterol; salicylic acid; [10]

Traditional Used:

The plant is bitter, acrid, sweet, thermogenic; laxative, diuretic, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, antibacterial, vulnerary, alexipharmic, expectorant, bronchodilator, stimulant and depurative. [1]

Gastrointestinal Diseases

The dried leaves and seeds are considered astringent and is used in India and Indonesia to treat diarrhoea and dysentery in children. It is also useful in cases of flatulance and constipation.[11] In Africa it is used in the form of a decoction or an infusion for these purposes.[12] Charaka, the Indian Physician made a vegetable soup of this plant as a remedy for diarrhoea and bleeding piles.[13] For bleeding and painful piles he cooked E. thymifolia together with Solanum surattense in clarified butter.

Respiratory Diseases

Indians use this plant to treat chronic cough, asthma and bronchitis. [14] In the Congo and the Ivory Coast a decoction of the whole plant is used to treat pulmonary problems.[15]


E. thymifolia is used in treating dysmenorrhoea and amenorrhoea by Indian Physicians. In the Congo macerated dried leaves is given orally to facilitate childbirth (it stimulated contraction of the uterus). The Mauritians use the plant and seeds in a decoction as a galatagogue. To control menorrhagia the latex is given as a tonic.[15] It also promotes conception and is an aphrodisiac and is used to treat impotency.[15]

Dermatological Problems

The latex is applied onto acne vulgaris, warts, ringworm and scabies. A decoction of the fresh aerial parts is applied externally to treat dermatisi, eczema and skin inflammations like leprosy, measles and other skin eruptions. The crushed plant is rubbed on the head as an irritating rubefacient to promote hair growth in cases of alopecia.[15-16]

Pre-Clinical Data


Antimicrobial activity


Lin CC et al. [18] studied the antioxidant and antiviral activities of various extracts of E. thymifolia. They found that all of the fractions (MeOH, CHCl(3), EtOAc, n-butanol and water) and pure compounds (3-O-galloyl-4,6-(S)-HHDP-D-glucose, rugosin B and 1,3,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-K-beta-D-glucose)tested possessed antioxidant activities, with the exception of the organic aqueous fraction in the anti-lipid and anti-superoxide formation assays. Besides antioxidant activities, 3-O-galloyl-4,6-(S)-HHDP-D-glucose and EtOAc fraction also showed anti-HSV-2 activity. Subsequent to that in 2005 they publish a further study on the anti HSV-2 potentials of these two items and attempted to elicit the mechanism of action. They reported that the EtOAc extract and 2OG46HC affected virus infectivity in a dose dependent manner. They concluded that E. thymifolia inhibit HSV-2 multiplications by reducing the virus infectivity. [18-19]


Mon Mon et al. [20] studied the antibacterial activity of extracts of E. thymifolia against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus pumilis, Bacillus subtilis and fungal strain Candida albicans. They found that the ethanolic extracts showed very significant antibacterial activity.


In the same studies Mol Mol et al. found that the same extract was able to moderately inhibit the growth of Pasmodium falciparum.


The methonolic and aqueous extracts of E. thymifolia were investigated for their anthelminthic activity against Pheretima posthyma and Ascardia galli. The various concentrations of the extracts showed significant anthelmintic activity in a dose dependent manner. [21]

Laxative activity

The crude extract of E. thymifolia was found to produce significant laxative activity in a dose dependant manner in albino rats. [22]

Diuretic activity

Crude ethanolic extract and fractions of E. thymifolia showed significant diuretic and laxative activities  in a dose dependant manner. Fractions of the extracts were noted to potentiate the activities. [23]


There has been reports of the latex causing dermatitis and is vesicant to skin of sensitive individuals. [24]

Clinical Data

Clinical Trials

No documentation

Adverse Effects in Human:

No documentation

Used in Certain Conditions

Pregnancy / Breastfeeding

E. thymifolia should be used with caution as some African community had used it to procure abortion.

Age Limitations

Neonates / Adolescents

No documentation


No documentation

Chronic Disease Conditions

No documentation


Interactions with drugs

No documentation

Interactions with Other Herbs / Herbal Constituents

No documentation



No documentation

Case Reports

No documentation


  1. Dr. H. Baillon Euphorbiacees Americaines Adansonia, Volume 4 Paris 1863 pg. 259
  2. Peter Hanelt Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops, Volume 2 Springer-Verlag Berlin 2001 pg. 1236
  3. Philippines Medicinal Plants ( Accessed on: 26th July 2010
  4. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species, Volume 3 Orient Longman Hyderabad 1995 pg. 6
  5. Alternative Health Articles ( Accessed on: 26th July 2010
  6. Medicinal Plants of Philippines ( Accessed on 26th July 2010
  7. ( Accessed on 26th July 2010
  8. Gabriëlla Harriët Schmelzer, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim,Medicinal plants Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program) pg. 294-296
  9. C. P. Khare Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, Ayurvedic, and Other traditional usage, Botany Springer-Verlag Berlin 2004  pg. 210
  10. Gabriëlla Harriët Schmelzer, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim,Medicinal plants Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program) pg. 294-296
  11. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species, Volume 3 Orient Longman Hyderabad 1995 pg. 6
  12. Gabriëlla Harriët Schmelzer, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Medicinal plants Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program) pg. 294-296
  13. C. P. Khare Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usage, botany Springer Berlin 2004 pg 210-211
  14. P. K. Warrier, V. P. K. Nambiar, C. Ramankutty Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species, Volume 3 Orient Longman Hyderabad 1995 pg. 6
  15. Gabriëlla Harriët Schmelzer, Ameenah Gurib-Fakim, Medicinal plants Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program) pg. 294-296
  16. C. P. Khare Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usage, botany Springer Berlin 2004 pg 210-211
  17. C. P. Khare Indian Medicinal Plants: An Illustrated Dictionary Springer Berlin 2007 pg. 254
  18. Lin CC, Cheng HY, Yang CM, Lin TC. Antioxidant and antiviral activities of Euphorbia thymifolia L. J Biomed Sci. 2002 Nov-Dec;9(6 Pt 2):656-64.
  19. Yang CM, Cheng HY, Lin TC, Chiang LC, Lin CC. Euphorbia thymifolia suppresses herpes simplex virus-2 infection by directly inactivating virus infectivity. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2005 May-Jun;32(5-6):346-9
  20. Mon Mon, Nwe Ni Thin and Hla Myat Mon Antimicrobial Activity of Selected Myanmar Medicinal Plants GMSARN International Conference on Sustainable Development: Issues and Prospects for the GMS 12-14 Nov. 2008
  21. Sandeep R Kane, Shrinivas K Mohite, Jaykumar S Shete, Rajaram Antihelmintic activity of aqueous and methanolic extracts of Euphorbia thymifolia Linn. International Journal of PharmTech Research Vol.1, No.3, pp 666-669, July-Sept 2009
  22. S. R. Kane, S.K. Mohite, R. S. Adnaik, C. S. Magdum. Laxative activity of aqueous extract of Euphorbia thymifolia Linn. Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology 3 (1) 139-140 (2009)
  23. Sandeep R. Kane*, Vishvesh A.Apte, Sachin S. Todkar, Shrinivas K. Mohite Diuretic and laxative activity of ethanolic extract and its fractions of Euphorbia Thymifolia Linn. International Journal of ChemTech Research Vol.1, No.2, pp 149-152 , April-June 2009
  24. Botanical Dermatology Database ( Accessed on: 26th July 2010

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