Euphorbia resinifera

 

Botanical Name: Euphorbia resinifera
Family: Euphorbiaceae
Genus: Euphorbia
Species: E. resinifera
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Malpighiales

Synonyms: Euphorbia officinarum. Poisonous Gum-Thistle. Dergmuse. Darkmous. Euphorbium Bush. Gun Euphorbium.

Habitat:  Euphorbia resinifera grows in the slopes of the Great Atlas range in Morocco.

Description:    Euphorbia resinifera is a leafless perennel shrub growing about 4 feet in height, resembling a cactus in appearance forming multi-stemmed cushion-shaped clumps up . It has many branches. The stems are erect, succulent, four-angled, with short but sharp pairs of 6 mm spines on the angles, spaced about 1 cm apart up the stem..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The flowers are small, simple, and bright yellow, and the fruit a small capsule with one seed in each cell. Specimens sent to Kew in 1870 have never flowered, but others have done so in Paris. Both Pliny and Dioscorides knew the drug, and its name is classical.

The milky juice is collected from incisions made in the fleshy branches, and is so acrid that it burns the fingers. It flows down the stems and encrusts them as it hardens in the sun. Poor Arabs bring in the resinous masses for sale in Morocco, whence it is chiefly exported from Mogador. The dust is so intensely irritant to the mucous membrane that the mouth and nose of those handling it must be covered by a cloth.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

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Part Used in medicines: Concrete resinous juice.

Constituents: The chief constituent is resin, and it also contains wax, calcium malate, potassium malate, lignin, bassorin, volatile oil, and water, with no soluble gum. Another analysis gives euphorbone, euphorbo-resene, euphorbic acid, calcium malate, a very acrid substance not yet isolated, and vegetable debris.

The acrid resin is soluble in alcohol, and will burn brilliantly, becoming very aromatic.

The powder is yellowish, and violently sternatatory.

Medicinal Uses:
The internal use of the drug has been abandoned, owing to the severity of its action. It is an irritant emetic and cathartic. Its chief use is as a vesicant, and principally in veterinary practice. It has been used in dropsy; mixed with cantharides as a ‘gout plaister’; and as an errhine in chronic brain, ear, or eye complaints, sometimes mitigated with the powder of Convallaria maialis, but accidents have led to its use being discontinued.

In commerce the drug is found in yellowish-brown ‘tears’ that have a waxy appearance. They are almost transparent, slightly aromatic only when heated, and often pierced with holes made by the prickles of the plant while drying. The taste is slight, but becomes very acrid.

Other Uses:  

It is said to be employed as an ingredient of paint used for preserving ships’ bottoms.

At Mogador, the branches are used for tanning leather.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euphorbia_resinifera
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/spurge84.html

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