NaturHeals – Wild Weeds 12 - Dugdhika Badi – Euphorbia Hirta – Asthma Plant
Merriam-Webster defines a weed as “a plant that is not valued where it is growing and is usually of vigorous growth, especially one that tends to overgrow or choke out most desirable plants.” Weeds are undesirable to farmers and gardeners who are working hard to grow crops and maintaining a beautiful lawn or garden. As this is completely true, it is rather difficult to accept the fact that some weeds have numerous medical benefits. Weeds like Dugdhika Badi are used for treating an array of illnesses in traditional medicines like Ayurveda and Unani. Here is everything you need to know about the wild weed Dugdhika Badi or Badi Dudhi.
Different Names of Dugdhika Badi
Euphorbia Hirta is the scientific name of Dugdhika Badi, and it belongs to the Euphorbiaceae family. As it is a common herb used in Ayurveda, it is quite popular all over India and has different names in different Indian languages. Dugdhika Badi and Badi Dudhi are its Hindi names, while it is called dudhi in Marathi, dudeli in Gujarati, boro-keruie and barokhervi in Bengali, Ammam Paccharisi in Tamil, Nanabalu in Telegu, Nelapalai in Malayalam, Hachchedida in Kannada, and Dudurli in Konkani. In English, the plant is called asthma weed, common spurge, dove milk, hairy spurge, milk weed, red euphorbia, bearing spurge, pillpod spurge, red milkweed, sneeze weed, snakeweed, garden spurge, cat’s hair, and blotched-leaf spurge.
Ideal Soil and Climate
As it is a weed, Dugdhika Badi can be grown in all kinds of soils. However, for optimum growth, it requires light, sandy to medium loamy soils. The soil should be well-drained, and it should be mildly acidic and alkaline as well. This weed requires full sun, i.e. 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, although it can grow in partial shade as well (2-6 hours). However, the plant is difficult to cultivate and grow in complete shade and frosty conditions. This is the reason why Dugdhika Badi is commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical countries.
Dugdhika Badi is native to Central and South America, Southern USA, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands. It also has been widely naturalized in tropical countries like Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, New Zealand, Mauritius, Taiwan, etc. This weed can be seen cultivated fields or farmlands, gardens, lawns, roadsides, ditch banks, fallow lands, and waste places.
Dugdhika Badi is an annual hairy weed that grows up to the height of 15-50 cm. It has a central taproot that is reddish or purplish in color and secretes a milky sap when cut. The stems that arise from the taproot are semi-erect and also oozes a whitish-yellow latex when cut. The leaves of the plant are 1-4 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide. They are oblong in shape and pointed at the tip. The leaves grow in the opposite direction and are green or red/burgundy in color. The underside of the leaves is hairy, and they have distinct nerves.
Flowers of Dugdhika Badi grow as button-like structures. The flowers are greenish or pinkish in color. They grow in clusters and resemble tiny flowers. The fruits grow in the form of hairy capsules and are yellow or golden in color. They are 1 inch in size and contain tiny seeds, which are not more than 1 mm in size. The seeds are oblong in size and are initially smooth but get wrinkled when dry. Each Dugdhika Badi plant possesses around 3000 seeds.
Dugdhika Badi is an important plant or herb in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. The reason for this is that it is filled with chemical constituents that are good for human and animal health. Over the years several studies have been conducted to find out the principal constituents that make Dugdhika Badi an important medicinal plant in Ayurveda, Siddha, and Unani medicine.
The weed is home to alkanes, phytosterols, triterpenes, polyphenols, tannins, alkaloids, amino acids, and triterpenoids. Several phytochemical studies also indicated the presence of saponins, steroids, carbohydrates, alkaloids, glycosides, flavonoids, and tannins. It also contains β-amyrin, β-sitosterol, tinyatoxin, choline, rutin, benzoic acid, camphol, heptocosane, nnonacosane, shikmic acid, caffeic acid, palmitic acid, kaempferol, 22-6-tri-0-golloyl-β-d-glucose, niacin/nicotinic acid, euphorbianin, leirocyanidol, epicatechin-3-gallate acid, and quercitol derivatives containing chtolphenolic acid and rhamnose.
All the phytochemicals present in Dugdhika Badi give the plant antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antiseptic, anti-malarial, antispasmodic, anti-fertility, antifungal, carminative, antipruritic, anti-asthmatic, antifungal, antioxidant, febrifuge, galactagogic, purgative, vermifuge, anti-arthritis, anticonvulsant, antidispogenic, antianaphylactic, etc. properties.
Asthma: Dugdhika Badi is called the asthma plant because it one of the most effective ways of treating and managing the symptoms of asthma and other respiratory issues. Along with asthma, asthma plant works for bronchitis, chest congestion, chronic cough, cold, fever, and sore throat as well. The anti-inflammatory properties of the weed help in relaxing the bronchial muscles, thus giving some relief to the respiratory system
Gastrointestinal Issues: After asthma, Dugdhika Badi is used for treating a variety of gastrointestinal problems. The presence of quercitrin, which is a flavonoid glycoside, in the herb gives it the ability to treat diarrhea and dysentery. Consuming Dugdhika Badi relaxes the walls of the stomach and normalizes bowel movements. Moreover, it would be surprising to know that the herb also works in reversing constipation. A study on rats indicated that Dugdhika Badi works as a laxative when give in low doses and as anti-diarrheal when given in higher doses. It is also one of the best medicines for treating intestinal worms and parasites, mainly because of its antithelminitic properties.
Wound Healing: The antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties of Dugdhika Badi make it one of the effective ways for treating wounds, sores, boils, rashes, burns, warts, swelling, ulcers, etc. Applying salves made with the leaves of this plant stimulates blood flow to the skin, thus speeding up the healing process. The plant also inhibits bacterial growth in the area, ensuring speedy recovery. Dugdhika Badi is commonly used both internally and topically for wound healing in Nigeria and other African countries.
Skin Health: Along with healing wounds, Dugdhika Badi is great for enhancing skin health due to its antioxidant properties. This medicinal weed has the capability of reducing the signs of aging. Regular application can help in lessening the appearance of wrinkles and reversing sun damage as well.
Cancer and Tumors: Studies conducted on mice have indicated that Dugdhika Badi can be an effective treatment for cancer and tumors. The anti-tumor and anti-cancer activity is attributed to the presence of flavonoids, tannins, saponins, and alkaloids. Studies also believe that the chloroform and ethanol extracts help in inhibiting the growth of tumors in the body. Certain studies have also showed positive effects of the herb on some types of cancer, including squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
Malaria and Dengue: Traditional medicines use Dugdhika Badi to treat conditions like malaria and dengue. The anti-malarial activity of the plant prevents the growth of the parasite that causes malaria. Moreover, the presence of quercetin increases the blood platelet count, which is crucial in case of dengue. Dugdhika Badi extract also helps in managing the symptoms of malaria and dengue like fever, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, etc.
Kidney Stones: Dugdhika Badi is one of the effective herbal treatments for kidney stones. The antiurolithiatic properties of the herb works well in getting rid of the calcium oxalate kidney stones from the body. Moreover, the fact that it is a diuretic helps too. The herb increases urine output, thus making it easier to eliminate the stones.
Birth Control: The asthma plant is known to have anti-fertility properties, and hence can be effectively used as a birth control. The consumption of this herb aids in lowering sperm density as well as mobility, thus reducing fertility in men.
Eye Infections: Traditional medicine used the flowers of Dugdhika Badi to fight several eye infections. The anti-inflammatory properties of the herb make it a great cure for eye problems like conjunctivitis. Moreover, the anti-bacterial properties of asthma plant make it one of the best ways of treating styes, which appear on the eyelids due to bacterial infection.
Apart from the health issues mentioned above, Dugdhika Badi works for the following problems as well:
- The herb helps in curing several menstrual problems and at the same time maintaining vaginal health as well. It helps in treating abnormal leucorrhea, a vaginal discharge caused by yeast or bacterial infection.
- As it is a galactagogue, it is used by breastfeeding mothers to increase the quantity of breastmilk.
- The analgesic properties of Dugdhika Badi make it effective in treating all kinds of pain. It is used in curing headache, toothache, rheumatism, colic pain, etc.
- Due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the medicinal weed, it acts as an antidote to scorpion and snake bites.
- Dugdhika Badi is one of the best ways of boosting immunity.
Uses of Dugdhika Badi
- Swelling, ulcers, wounds, boils, ringworm, etc. are cured by applying the paste of Dugdhika Badi leaves on the affected area.
- Warts are usually cured by applying the milky extract or sap of the plant on them. The latex is also used for curing eye sores and styes.
- Decoction of the asthma plant is used for treating asthma and other respiratory problems.
- A decoction made with the leaves of the plant helps in increasing platelets and curing dengue.
- Abnormal leucorrhea is treated by consuming paste of Dugdhika Badi’s leaves with buttermilk.
- Juice of the plant is effective in treating abdominal pain, dysentery, and diarrhea.
- The juice of the plant as well as the decoction of the root is used for improving quantity of breastmilk.
- The chutney made with the leaves of Dugdhika Badi acts as a coolant as well as a laxative.
- In some countries, Dugdhika Badi is consumed as a vegetable too.
Dugdhika Badi does not have any major side effects, especially if taken as per the instructions of a doctor. However, high doses of the herb can lead to constipation, vomiting, nausea, stomach irritation, etc. As it is an anti-fertility herb, it should be avoided if you are planning to start a family. Pregnant women should also avoid consuming this herb, as it may cause miscarriage. Apart from this, the sap that oozes out the of the stem is a skin irritant and can cause itching, rashes, and redness. It is harmful for ingestion too and can lead to severe inflammation.
Planting and Harvesting
Dugdhika Badi or asthma plant is a low maintenance plant and hence easy to grow. While seeds can be used to cultivate this plant, it is best to use cuttings for optimum growth. The cutting should be dried for 2-3 days and then planted in peat moss for root development. During this phase, it should be misted regularly and wrapped in plastic bag or foil to maintain the moisture level. Once the cutting develops roots, is should be transferred to soil. The cutting can be planted in a flowerbed, container, or groundcover. Although it is not picky about soil, it is best to use well-drained, sandy soil. When you plant the cutting, ensure that the hole is twice as wide as the root. Once the root is planted, water it regularly, but refrain from overwatering. Ensure that it receives plenty of sunlight for maximum growth. When the plant is ready for harvesting, cut the plant from the base of the stem and put it in hot water for around 10 seconds so that the oozing stops. It is important to wear gloves while harvesting the plant to avoid the sap coming in contact with your skin.
Dugdhika Badi not only comes with numerous health benefits but is also easy to grow. Jaivik Farms is an agro company that is constantly in the lookout for farmers who are ready to supply us with farm-fresh herbs, including Dugdhika Badi. We not only provide you with the best rates but also offer you all the guidance and support to cultivate the plants in the organic way. Our only condition is that the herbs should be grown without the use of any herbicides or pesticides. We believe that medicines and products made with organically grown herbs and plants are more effective than those sprayed with herbicides.