Argemone mexicana Linn

Botanical Name :Argemone mexicana Linn
Family : Papaveraceae
Common Names :Bharband, Siyal kanta, Bramadandi,  Pitapushpa, Mexican poppy, Prickly poppy, Yellow thistle, Shialkanta, Darudi, Pila-dhatura, Kanta dhotra, Kantakusham.Danarese: Balurakkisa, Datturi, Pirangi, datturi, Daruri, Firangi-kote-pavola, dhotara,  Brahmadandi, Pitopushpa, Srigalkanta, Svarnakshiri, Ponnummattu, Kantankattiri, Kutiyotti, Ponnummuttai, Brahmadandicettu,Satiyanasi.

Bengali Name:: Shyal kanta

Habitat: It is introducd in India and naturalised and occur as wasteland weed in almost every part of India.Weed in waste places, widely scattered in the Philippines, in and about towns. Introduced, now pantropic. In many parts it is repoorted as crop weed also.

It is a prickly, glabrous, branching herb with yellow juice and showy yellow flowers, The Sanskrit name svarnakshiri is given because of the yellow juice (Svarna – Gold; Kshiri – Juice ). The height of this plant varies between 0.3 to 0.12 meters, Leaves are thistlelike. Stem clasping, Oblong, sinuately pinnatifid, spinous and viens are white. Flowers are terminal, yellow and of 2.5–5.0 cm diameter. Fruits are capsule. Prickly and oblong ovoid. Seeds numerous, globose, netted and brownish black. Flowering time is all round the year in Indian conditions. The plants is toxic to animals and cattle avoid grazing this plant. Harmful allelopathic effects of Argemone mexicana on germination and seedling vigour of wheat, mustard, fenugreek, sorghum, fingermillet, tomato, cucumber etc. (important crops in India ) have been reported. The allelochemicals cinnamic and benzoic acid are identified as harmful chemicals responsible for inhibition of germination and seedling vigo

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Constituents: The plant contains alkaloids as berberine, protopine, sarguinarine, optisine, chelerytherine etc. The seed oil contains myristic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic acids etc.

Phytochemical screening yielded the presence of reducing sugars, flavonoids, sterols/terpenes, tannins and alkaloids.
– Seed analysis yielded 36% oil, 49% carbohydrate and albumin, 9% moisture and 6% ash.
– Seeds contain a pale yellow non-edible oil, 22-36%, called argemone oil or katkar oil, which contains the toxic alkaloids sanguinarine and dihydrosanguinarine.
– Plant contains alkaloids berberine, protopine, sarguinarine, optisine, chelerytherine, among others.
– Seed contains myristic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic acids.

Medicinal Uses:
Parts Used : Roots, leaves,stems, seeds and yellow juice.

Considered analgesic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, emetic, expectorant, hallucinogenic, purgative and sedative.
Berberine is a bitter yellow substance with an effect on circulation; an overdose can cause death by paralysis of the central nervous system.
Protopine is narcotic.
Root is considered alterative.
Leaves considered narcotic and sedative.
Flowers considered pectoral and sedative.
Seeds considered laxative, emetic, nauseant, expectorant and demulcent.

According to Ayurveda the plant is diuretic. purgative and destroys worms. It cures lepsory, skin-diseases, inflammations and bilious fevers. Roots are anthelmintic. Juice is used to cure ophthalmia and opacity of cornea. Seeds are purgative and sedative. Seeds resemble mustard seeds and in India it is used to adulterate mustard seed. Seed yield non edible toxic oil and causes lethal dropsy when used with mustard oil for cooking.

In Homoeopathic system of medicine, the drug prepared from this herb is used to treat the problem caused by tape-worm.

Popular Ayurvedic Formulations: Svarnakshiri churna and tail.

Infusion of roots is given to women at the start of parturition pains.
Roots given for various skin diseases.
Decoction of roots given for blenorrhagia.
In French Guinea, decoction of roots or stems given for vesicular calculus. Decoction also used as an eye-wash and a lotion used for inflammatory swellings. Also, used as a mouthwash for toothaches and taken internally for gleet.
Powdered root used for tapeworm.
In French Guinea, stem used as diuretic.
In Gambia, infusion of leaves used for coughs.
Leaves used as narcotic and sedative.
Latex with slightly corrosive property, applied to warts, chancres, etc. Also used for eczema.
Yellow juice of the plant used for dropsy, jaundice, cutaneous affections.
Used as a diuretic, relieves blisters, heals excoriations and indolent ulcers.
Used as externally application for conjuctivitis.
In Konkan, juice is given with milk for leprosy.
In Jodhpur, the yellow juice is used for eye affections and rubbed on the body to relieve rheumatic pain.
In the West Indies, used as a substitute for ipecacuanha.
Seeds used for catarrhal affections of the throat, cough, pertussis and asthma.
In Mexico, used as an antidote to snake venom.
In French Guinea, used as a cathartic and emetic.
In Delhi, smoke from burning seeds used to relieve toothaches; also, for preventing dental caries.
Oil is aperient, used for herpetic lesions and other skin diseases.
In Delhi and Sindh, oil is used on indolent ulcers and eruptions and as an external application for headaches.
Oil of seeds is considered purgative.

In many “fringe” and tribal cultures, leaves are smoked or made into tea, for its sedating and psychoactive properties. Euphorant and aphrodisiacal properties have been reported. Also, used as tea for its beneficial effects as a smoking-cessation aid.
Cold remedy: Leaf extracts being recommended as new-age cold remedy.

You may click to see :

Pharmacognosy of Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya):

Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures

Traditional Medicine

Other uses:
The plant is found suitable for the reclamation of alkaline soils.

Dried and powdered plants are recommended as green manure as it contain sufficient amount of Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium.

Oilcake is used as manure.

Seed oil, popularly known as Satyanashi oil is used as an illuminant, lubricant, in soapmaking, and for protection from termites.

A plant used as “nourishment for the dead” by the Aztecs. The plant latex is collected into a pliable mass and fashioned into an image of an Aztec god. In a sacrifice ritual, the “god” image is killed and its “flesh” distriburted among the worshippers. Its became cemented into the culture of poppy when Chinese residents in Mexico extracted from the latex a product with opium-effects.


• Antibacterial: Study on the extracts of seeds and leaves of Amexicana all showed activity against S aurues, B subtilis, E coli and P aeruginosa; the methanol extract showed maximum inhibition.
Toxicity / Neuro-entero-hepato-nephropathy: Rats receiving seed, seed oil and ethanolic extracts of A. mexicana suffered hyperesthesia, inappetence, intermittent diarrhea, emaciation and decrease body weight, with hepatorenal lesions and increase in BUN and SGOT. Results suggest that the seed and seed extract toxicity in rats are more of neuro-enterohepatonephropathy.
Epidemic Dropsy / Toxicity Report: Four cases manifesting epidemic dropsy following massage with contaminated mustard oil was reported. The oil was found adulterated with Argemone mexicana oil, and the diagnosis confirmed a transcutaneous route of absorption of the toxin with the presence of sanguinarine in the serum and urine of all four cases.
• Anti-Malarial: A study compared the Argemone mexicana decoction versus artesunate-amodiaquine (artemisinin combination therapy [ACT]) for the management of malaria. In view of the low rate of severe malaria and good tolerability, AM may also constitute a first-aid treatment when access to other antimalarials is delayed. (2)
• Larvicidal / Insecticide: Study showed the crude methanol extract of P minima and the methanol leaf and flower extract of Argemone mexicana might be used as larvicide and insecticide.
• Effect on Ileum Contraction: Study showed CHCl3/MeOH and MeOH extracts dose-dependently reduced the contractions of isolated guinea-pig ileum. The effects were attributed to the active compounds identified as protopine, allocryptopine and berberine.
• Phytochemical Screening: Phytochemical screening yielded reducing sugars, flavonoids, sterols / terpenes, tannins and alkaloids. Its biological active compounds could serve as a potential source of vegetable drugs in herbal medicine.
• Anti-Stress / Antiallergic / Anti-Asthma: Study of various extracts showed the aqueous extracts of Argemone mexicana stems caused a significant decrease in leucocytes and eosinophils, results suggesting a usefulness as antiallergic in asthmatic conditions.
• Neurotoxicology of Argemone Oil / Neuroprotective Extract: Argemone oil shows acute and subacute as well as dose-dependent toxicity in whole brain as well as discrete areas of the brain. Oral supplementation of aqueous extract of A mexicana stem and leaves showed a protective effect on the brain and liver.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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