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September 2019

Benefits of Tawa-Tawa (Euphorbia hirta)

WHAT IS TAWA-TAWA?

The (Snake Weed) Euphorbia hirta is a pantropical weed that known in the Philippines as Bato-Batones, Gatas-Gatas or Tawa-Tawa. This plant is widely distributed in the country that is usually found growing in open grass land, roadsides and pathways.

The Tawa-Tawa can grow up to 60cm (24 inches) long with a solid, hairy stems that produce abundant white latex. The leaves are simple, elliptical, hairy (on both upper and lower surfaces but particularly on the veins on the lower leaf surface), with a finely dentate margin. Leaves occur in opposite pairs on the stem. The flowers are unisexual and found in axillary cymes at each leaf node. They lack petals and are generally on a stalk. The fruit is a capsules with three valves and produces tiny, oblong, four-sided red seeds. It has a white or brown taproot.

NUTRIENTS AND PHYTOCHEMICALS

This plant contains a different kind of nutrients and phytochemicals that is beneficial to our health.

  • Studies have isolated Gallic Acid, Quercetin, Triacontane, Cetyl Alcohol, Phytosterol, Phytosterolin, Jambulol, Melissic and mixtures of acids consisting chielfy of Palmitic, Oleic and Linolenic Acids.
  • Phytochemicals screenings have yielded alkaloids, essential oil, phenols, sterol, flavones and fatty acids.
  • It also yield Flavonoids: Euphorbianin, Leucocyanidol, Camhol, Quercitrin and Quercitrol.
  • Dried leaves of this plants produces Proteins, Fats, Crude Fiber and Carbohydrates. It also contains vitamins such as Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) and B Vitamins (Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin).

PART USED

The entire plant, latex, leaves and roots

FOLKLORIC REMEDIES

  • In the Philippines, leaves are mixed with Datura metel leaves and flowers (Devils Trumphet) in the preparation of "asthma-cigarettes."
  • Latex is prescribed for asthma.
  • Entire plant prescribed as an antidote; considered hemostatic, sedative, and soporific.
  • Decoction used to allay the dyspnea of asthmatics.
  • Fluid extract of tincture is used in asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, also in pulmonary cardiac disease and angina pectoris.
  • Used for acute and chronic dysentery.
  • Tincture is used as anthelmintic. Also used for ringworm.
  • Juice used for colic.
  • Juice used as ophthalmic drops for conjunctivitis or ulceration of the cornea. Stem sap used in the treatment of styes.
  • Leaf poultice used for swellings and boils.
  • Infusion or tea of the plant, 4 glasses daily, for bronchitis and labored breathing, asthma, chronic dysentery.
  • Used for boils and wounds.
  • Decoction of dry plant used for skin disease.
  • Decoction of fresh plant used as gargle for the treatment of thrush.
  • Decoction of the root used to allay vomiting, chronic diarrheas, and fevers.
  • Root decoction also beneficial for nursing mothers deficient in milk: 4-5 glasses of tea.
  • The same root decoction as an enema for constipation.
  • Root used for snake bites.
  • Used in sores, wounds, boils. As ear drop for pustular swellings in the ear.
  • Superficial bleeding: Crush leaves and apply on affected part, as local hemostatic.
  • White latex used as eye drops for conjunctivitis. Paste of leaves applied to scorpion bites. Latex applied to swelling, piles, and boils.

STUDIED REMEDIES

  • Anti-Diabetic: studies shows that this plant has a potential in reducing of the glucose (sugar) level in the blood.
  • Anti-Bacterial: it has an active antibacterial effect that can help to reduce the growth of bacterias in wounds.
  • Diuretic: Tawa-Tawa leaves extract increases urine output.
  • Anti Allergic: it possessed significant activity of anti-allergic substance that may help prevent early and late phase allergic reaction.
  • Anti-Diarrheal: it has an active flavonoids that shows anti-diarrheal benefits.
  • Platelet Effect/Dengue Treatment: study decoction of Tawa-Tawa leaves showed an increase levels of platelets counts without notable effects on the Red Blood Cell (RBC) and White Blood Cell (WBC) counts.
  • Galactogenic: studies shows that by drinking a decoction from this plants increases the production of milk on lactating mothers.
  • Antifungal: active antifungal compounds are found in this plant that may help reducing the growth of fungus (such as ringworm) in human body.

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