Pill-Bearing Spurge 


Other names: Lucerne

Scientific name: Euphorbia hirta

Common names: pill-bearing spurge, asthma plant, hairy spurge, garden spurge, pillpod sandman

Ayurvedic names: chara, amampatchairasi, barokheruie

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names: Tiktasij

Arabic names:    الفربيون (al farabion)

RainForest names:

Family: Euphorbiaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Leaf, flower, stem

Annual/Perennial: annual

Height: upto 0.3 m

Actions: Anti-asthmatic, expectorant, anti-spasmodic

Known Constituents: glycosides, alkaloids, sterols, tannins, phorbic acid

Constituents Explained:


Traditional Use:

A lung relaxant used especially for bronchitis, asthma and mucous.  Used for infections, especially in the intestines.

Clinical Studies:

The antiretroviral activities of extracts of Euphorbia hirta were investigated in vitro on the MT4 human T lymphocyte cell line. The cytotoxicities of the extracts were tested by means of the MTT cell proliferation assay, and then the direct effects of the aqueous extract on HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIV(mac251) reverse transcriptase (RT) activity were determined. 

A dose-dependent inhibition of RT activity was observed for all three viruses. The HIV-1 inhibitory potency of E. hirta was studied further, and the activities of the aqueous and 50% methanolic extracts were compared.

The 50% methanolic extract was found to exert a higher antiretroviral effect than that of the aqueous extract. The 50% MeOH extract was subjected to liquid-liquid partition with dichloromethane, ethyl acetate and water. 

Only the remaining aqueous phase exhibited significant antiviral activity; all the lipophilic extracts appeared to be inactive. After removal of the tannins from the aqueous extract, the viral replication inhibitory effect was markedly decreased, and it was therefore concluded that tannins are most probably responsible for the high antiretroviral activity.


Gyuris A, Szlavik L, Minarovits J, Vasas A, Molnar J, Hohmann J. “Antiviral Activities Of Euphorbia Hirta L. Against HIV-1, HIV-2, And SIVmac251.” 2009 May-June http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19454510