Euphorbia lathyrus

Botanical Name : Euphorbia lathyrus
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily: Euphorbioideae
Tribe: Euphorbieae
Subtribe: Euphorbiinae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. lathyris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Common Names :Caper Spurge or Paper Spurge

Other Names : Gopher Spurge, Gopher Plant or Mole Plant.

Habitat:Euphorbia lathyrus  is native to southern Europe (France, Italy, Greece, and possibly southern England), northwest Africa, and eastward through southwest Asia to western China.

Description:
Euphorbia lathyrus is an erect biennial (occasionally annual) plant growing up to 1.5 m tall, with a glaucous blue-green stem. The leaves are arranged in decussate opposite pairs, and are lanceolate, 5–15 cm long and 1-2.5 cm broad, glaucous blue-green with a waxy texture and pale greenish-white midrib and veins. The flowers are green to yellow-green, 4 mm diameter, with no petals. The seeds are green ripening brown or grey, produced in globular clusters 13–17 mm diameter of three seeds compressed together.It grows in partial shade to full sun in USDA zones 5–9.

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Medicinal Uses:
Euphorbia lathyrus is so violent a purgative that it is rarely if ever used in contemporary herbal medicine.  Euphorbia lathyrus seeds were commonly employed, but an oil extracted from them was also used in very small doses (the oil is highly toxic).  In the past, the milky latex of caper spurge was used as a depilatory and to remove corns and warts, but is too irritant to be used safely.

The euphorbia lathyrus plant is sold by some nurseries as it is believed to repel moles (so sometimes it is called mole plant). It is used in folk medicine as a poison, antiseptic, and a purgative. It is used as a folk remedy for cancer.

Known Hazards: All parts of the plant, including the seeds and roots are poisonous. Handling may cause skin irritation as the plant produces latex. While poisonous to humans and most livestock, goats sometimes eat it and are immune to the toxin. However, the toxin can be passed through the goat’s milk

Disclaimer : 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.

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia_lathyris
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.kuleuven-kulak.be/kulakbiocampus/lage%20planten/Euphorbia%20lathyrus%20-%20Kruisbladige%20wolfsmelk/kruisbladige_wolfsmelk.htm#1

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