Euphorbiae Herba. Euphorbia.

Related entry: Euphorbia resinifera resin

Euphorbia is the entire aerial portion of Euphorbia pilulifera, Linn. (N.O. Euphorbiaceae), an annual herb indigenous to the hotter parts of India, and growing in most other tropical countries. The plant is collected while flowering and fruiting, and dried. The drug consists of the stem, leaves, flowers and fruits of the plant. The stem is slender and cylindrical, and covered with coarse, bristly hairs. It bears opposite, dark green leaves, from 18 to 36 millimetres long, ovate or obliquely lanceolate in shape, with a dentate margin; they are brittle when dried, and are usually much broken in the drug. The flowers are small and crowded together in dense cymes about 1 centimetre in diameter. The fruit is a yellow, three-celled, keeled capsule, containing reddish, minute, ovoid, tetragonal seeds, which are wrinkled when mature. The drug has no odour, but a bitter taste.

Constituents.—The chief constituent of the drug is said to be an unstable poisonous glucoside, but it has not yet been isolated.

Action and Uses.—The action of euphorbia is exerted upon the respiratory centre; toxic doses kill small animals through failure of respiration. The exact mode of action of this drug is not known. A decoction or infusion of euphorbia is prepared (1 in 40) and is taken in tablespoonful doses in asthmatic conditions, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. Tinctura Euphorbiae is prescribed in mixture form with lobelia, senega, and other anti-asthmatics, for use in coryza and hay fever. A decoction (½ per cent.), tincture, and extract of Euphorbia peplus, Linn. (N.O. Euphorbiaceae), have also been recommended in asthma and bronchial catarrh.


Elixir Euphorbiae Compositum, C.F.—COMPOUND ELIXIR OF EUPHORBIA. Syn.—Anti-asthmatic Elixir.
Sodium iodide, 3.66; sodium bromide, 3.66; liquid extract of euphorbia, 5: tincture of lobelia, 3.15; solution of trinitrin, 0.9; aromatic elixir, sufficient to produce 100. Dissolve the sodium iodide and bromide in 50 of the aromatic elixir, add the remaining ingredients, and, lastly, sufficient aromatic elixir to produce 100. Filter if necessary.
Tinctura Euphorbiae, B.P.C.—TINCTURE OF EUPHORBIA. 1 in 5.
Used in spasmodic asthma, coryza, and hay fever. Dose.—½ to 2 mils (10 to 30 minims).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.