Dugdhika (Euphorbia hirta) – Uses, Remedies, Side Effects, Research

By Dr Renita D’Souza
Dugdhika (Euphorbia hirta) is an Ayurvedic herb commonly known as Asthma plant is used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, diarrhoea, dysentery, stye, conjunctivitis, worm infestation, warts, ringworm, boils etc. It improves breast milk quantity.

Remedies, morphology, qualities

Traditional Remedies of Euphorbia hirta

  • Decoction of dry dugdhika is used in skin diseases.
  • In thrush, decoction of fresh herb is used as gargle.
  • Plant decoction is used in bronchial asthma and other chronic kapha disorders.
  • Juice of plant is used in dysentery and abdominal pain.
  • In styes, stem sap is used.
  • Leaf poultice is used to treat swelling and boils.
  • For itchy soles – leaves of dudhika pounded with turmeric and coconut oil, warmed and rubbed on soles.
  • Latex dudhi is applied on lower eyelids to cure eye sores.
  • Root decoction or plant juice is used to improve breast milk quantity.
  • Roots are also used to treat snake bite, vomiting etc.
  • It latex is applied externally in skin diseases like warts (charmakila) and ringworm (dadru).

Botanical Name – Euphorbia hirta
Synonyms – Euphorbia thymifolia, Euphorbia microphylla
Euphorbia hypericifolia, Euphorbia prostrate W. Ait
Family – Euphorbiaceae

Morphology of Euphorbia hirta
Euphorbia hirta is an erect, annual plant grows up to 2 feet in height. Stem hairy and produces white latex. Leaves are simple, opposite, elliptical and hairy on both lower and upper surface. Flowers are found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. Fruit capsules with three valves possess tiny red seeds

Medicinal Qualities of Dugdhika
Taste – Pungent, Bitter (B.N)
Sweet, Bitter, Pungent, Salty (K.N)
Vipaka (taste after digestion) – pungent (katu)
Virya (potency of herb) – Hot potency (ushna)
Quality (guna)
Heavy to digest (guru), Dry (ruksha)
Kshara – alkaline (K.N)

Special qualities
Srishta mutra – Diuretic
Srista vit – increases bulk of faeces
Garbhahari – cause abortion
Swadukshira – yields white sweet latex
Vishtambini – causes obstruction to the free movement of stools.
Vrishya – aphrodisiac
Shukrala – improves sperm quality and quantity
Hridya – cardiac tonic

Uses, pharmacology, dose

Uses of Dudhi (Euphorbia hirta)
Kapha disorders
Kushta – skin diseases
Krimi – intestinal worm infestation
Diarrhoea, Dysentery, Vomiting
Dengue
Asthma, Bronchitis, Hay Fever
Conjunctivitis, Eyelid styes,
Swelling, Boils, Tumours, Wound
Female disorders, Pimples
Gonorrhoea
Jaundice, Digestive ailments
Renal calculus

Effect on Doshas
Vatala – increases vata dosha

Pharmacological Activities of Euphorbia hirta
Antibacterial, anthelmintic, anti asthmatic, sedative, antispasmodic, anti fertility, anti fungal, and antimalarial activities, anti-hypertensive, anti cancer. Aqueous extract possesss anxiolytic, analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory activities

Dose
Juice – 10-20 drops
Powder – 200 – 600 mg

Part Used
Whole plant

Side effects, distribution, chemistry

Side Effects of Euphorbia hirta
Avoid its usage in pregnancy.
High dose can cause stomach irritation, nausea, constipation etc
Due to its anti fertility property avoid its usage in patient seeking treatment for infertility.

Distribution
Found throughout the India as common weed. Also found in Australia, Central America and subtropical parts of the world

Chemical Constituents
Euphorbia hirta contains afzelin, quercitrin, myricitrin, rutin, gallic acid, quercitin, euphorbin-A and ephorbin-B, euphorbin-C, euphorbin-D, β-amyrin, 24-methylenecycloartenol, β-sitosterol, heptacosane, n-nonacosane, shikmic acid, tinyatoxin, choline, camphol, and quercitol derivatives containing rhamnose, and chtolphenolic acid.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Vernacular, Sanskrit verse, research

Names in different languages
Sanskrit Name – Dugdhika
Hindi Name – Dudhi, Dudhiya, Dudhee
Bengali Name – Bara, Kharui, Kerai
Marathi Name – Nayeti, moti nayeti
Gujarati Name – Naagalaa, Dudheli, Raati
Telugu Name – Nanabaala
Tamil Name – Amupachai arissi
Nepali Name – Dudhe jhar
Urdu Name – lal dodhak
English Name – pill-bearing spurge, asthma plant, hairy spurge, garden spurge, pillpod sandman

Research

  • Pharmacological Activity – Present review article describes morphological, phytochemical, ethnopharmacological and pharmacological information on Euphorbia hirta.
  • Anti Dengue – A study proves the potential use of Euphorbia hirta against dengue due to its significant antiviral and platelet increasing activities.
  • Wound Healing – A study conducted to evaluate the wound healing property of ethanolic extract of Euphorbia hirta whole plant in diabetic animals by oral and topical administration have proved that E. hirta whole plant extract promotes healing of wounds after oral and topical administration. Oral administration showed better diabetic wound healing activity due to its hypoglycemic effect.
  • Anti asthmatic – The present study done to evaluate the use of dugdhika plant in treatment of bronchial asthma (tamaka shwasa) has revealed that the plant causes relaxation of smooth muscles thereby relieving spasm of Bronchial muscles during an acute attack of bronchial asthma. Thus the study proves the beneficial effect of dugdhika in asthma.

Ayurvedic medicines, synonyms

Ayurvedic medicine with Dugdhika as Ingredient

  • Gagana Sundara Rasa – It is an Ayurvedic tablet form medicine used in the treatment of abdominal pain, colicky pain, dyspepsia, indigestion, malabsorption syndrome, etc.
  • Sri Sri Tattva Vrikka Sanjivini Vati – It is used as renal tonic and used to treat Nephritis, Urinary calculi, Dysuria (painful micturition), Urethritis, Uremia, Urinary Tract Infections.

Sanskrit synonyms
Duddhika, Swaduparni,
Kshira, Vikshirini
Dugdhinika,Swadupushpika
Kshirachi, Ksirika, Shita
Shitambu, Madhuparnika

Classical Categorisation
Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadi Varga
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