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Family Euphorbiaceae
Malayan Spurge
Euphorbia antiquorum

Scientific names Common names
Euphorbia antiquorum L. Indian spurge (Engl.)
Euphorbia antiquorum var. polygona Wight Malayan spurge (Engl.)
Euphorbia mayuranathanii Croizat Square spurge (Engl.)
Tithymalus antiquorus (L.) Moench Square milk hedge (Engl.)
  Triangular milkwort (Engl.)
  Triangular splurge (Engl.)
Euphorbia antiquorum L. is an accepted name The Plant List

Other vernacular names
BENGALI: Tiktasij.
KANNDA: Kontekalli, Jadekalli, Mundakalli.
HINDI: Tridhara, Vajrakantaka.
MALAYALAM: Chaturakkalli.
MANIPURI: Tengnou.
MARATHI: Narasya.
SANSKRIT: Snuhu, Vajrakantaka, Jadelalli, Mundukalli.
TAMIL: Chaturakalli, Kalii, Kantiravam, Kodiravam, Tiruvargalli.
TELUGU: Bommajemudu, Bontha jemudu, Bontha ki.

General info
· There are more than 2,000 species of Euphorbia worldwide. A significant number are succulent, all contain latex and have a unique flower structure. Although it is present in many traditional medicinal systems, nearly all possess poison or toxicity.

Euphorbia antiquorum is a succulent woody shrub growing 1 to 3 meters high with milky sap. Mature stem is cylindrical in shape with 3 to 6 ridges; younger branches green with 3 to 5 ridges; the projection of the ridges are armed with a pair of 2- to 3-millimeter long spines. Leaves are few, borne on the ridges, succulent, obovate to oblanceolate to spathulate in shape. Apex is obtuse with a small pointed projection, base gradually narrowing downward, sessile. Male flower possess only 1 stamen, filament short; female flower situated alone at the center of the cyathium, protruding beyond the involucre. Styles are 3, not joined to each other, each style forking towards the tip. Inflorescence is yellowish-green, monoecious, composed of several staminate (male) flowers and one pistillate (female) flower borne on a green, hemispherical involucre. Whole cuplike cymose inflorescence is called cyathium. Fruits are glabrous, smooth, about 1 centimeter in diameter.

- Widely cultivated throughout the Philippines as an ornamental but may occasionally be found as an escape from cultivation.

- From the latex, study isolated three new triterpenes, euphol-3-O-cinnamate, antiquol A and antiquol B, with known triterpenes, euphol, 24-methylenecycloartanol and cycloeucalenol; together with a nonacosene, sitosterol and p-acetoxyphnol.
- Study isolated ten compounds viz. glutinol (1), taraxerol (2), friedelanol (3), stigmasterol (4), 23-cycloarten-3β,25-diol (5), ent-13S-Hydroxy-16-atisene-3,14-dione (6), 6,7,8-trimethoxylcoumarin (7), 3,3′,4′-tri-O-methylellagic acid (8), ent-kaurane-3-oxo-16β,17-diol (9) and daucosterol (10). (15)

· Bitter tasting, cooling effect.
· Stomachic, antifebrile, antiphlogistic, anti-infectious, antidermatosis.

· Studies have shown hepatoprotective, antioxidant, insecticidal, antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, mosquitocidal, anti-hyperglycemic, anticancer properties.

Parts utilized
· Stem, latex.
· Collected the whole year round.
· Remove cortex after harvest, cut into sections, roast in frying pan till brownish-yellow.

· Acute gastroenteritis: use 3 to 6 gms dried materials in decoction.
· Malignant furuncle and carbuncle infections: use pounded fresh stem (quantity sufficient) and apply as poultice.
· Scabies, various dermatoses: apply sap over afflicted areas.
· In India, Juice of plant used for chest pains and constipation. Latex applied to boils for early suppuration and healing. Bark is used as purgative. Latex used for killing wound maggots. Saline extract used as antibiotic.
· In Andhra Pradesh, India, latex from stem applied on spots of burn injury. Stem is heated on fire, and juice expressed is topically applied on wounds to facilitate healing. (22)
• Milk of E. antiquorum is applied near to eyes for cattle to treat conjunctivitis and corneal opacities.
• Milk is applied to the neck and joints of cattle to treat black quarter.

• Ritual / Superstition:
In Northeast India, one of the Euphorbia species used to ward off evil spirits.

Caution !

• This drug is toxic. Frying neutralizes the toxin, after which it can be taken orally. However, excessive dosage may still cause diarrhea.
• The milky sap or latex, which is also poisonous, must not come in contact with the eyes; skin contact with this sap may cause skin inflammation. Take caution too that this is not administered to pregnant patients.

Anti-Epstein Barr Virus Activation: Study yielded three triterpene alcohols from the latex. Some compounds showed potent inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation. (3)
Hepatoprotective / Antioxidant: Study of aqueous extract of the aerial parts of Euphorbia antiquorum showed significant antioxidant activity and also significant dose-dependent hepatoprotection, effects comparable to Silymarin and Sodium metabisulphite. The results helps justify its traditional use for treating jaundice. (4)
Insecticidal: Study of the insecticidal properties of EA showed the components were best extracted by xylene. The xylene-latex extract was highly toxic to soft bodied insects / spiders. On storage, both the xylene-latex extract and the n-hexane fraction were still highly stable with only a 3 % decline of activity after one year. (5)
Flavonoids / Antibacterial / Latex: Study evaluated the latex and flavonoids from roots of Euphorbia antiquorum for antibacterial activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus vulgaris, Escherichia coli, Streptococcus anginosus and Bacillus subtilis. Results showed the flavonoids from E. antiquorum latex were effective against gram positive and gram negative bacterial species, with 30 µg/ml extract concentration sufficient to constrain bacterial growth. The pure latex of E. antiquorum yielded 7.54 mg/g total flavonoid. (9)
Anti-Hyperglycemic / Roots: Study evaluated the anti-hyperglycemic effect of E. antiquorum root in streptozotocin-nicotinamide-induced type 2 diabetes mellitus and fructose induced insulin resistance models. Treatment with alcohol and aqueous extracts of EA roots resulted in significant (p<0.001) lowering of serum blood glucose and GHb levels in both models. (10)
Mosquitocidal / Aedes aegypti / Latex: Ae. aegypti is the primary vector of chikungunya, yellow fever, and dengue. A methanolic latex extract f E. antiquorum tested for larvicidal activity against 4th instar larvae of Ae. aegypti showed high toxicity to the mosquito larvae with LC50 of 10.70 ml/dl at 48 hr. exposure. (11)
Analgesic / Anti-Inflammatory: Study evaluated aqueous ethanolic extract of whole plant for analgesic activity (hot plate, acetic acid induced writhing and formalin induced writhing methods) in Swiss albino mice and anti-inflammatory effect (carrageenan induced rat paw edema method) in Long Evans rats. Results showed significant dose dependent analgesic effect (p<0.01) and significant anti-inflammatory (p<0.001) effect. Chemical constituents tannins, flavanoids, terpenoids, and alkaloids may be responsible for the observed analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects. (12)
Silver Nanoparticles / Latex / Antibacterial, Larvicidal and Anticancer: Study reports on the rapid biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles (EAAgNPs) using aqueous latex extract of E. antiquorum as potential bioreductant. Phyto-fabricated EAAgNOs exhibited significant antimicrobial and larvicidal activity against bacterial human pathogens as well as Cx quinquefasciatus and Ae. aegypti. In vitro cytotoxicity assessment showed potential anticancer activity against human cervical carcinoma cells (HeLa). The EAAgNPs can be considered environmentally benign and non-toxic nanobiomaterial for medical applications. (13)
Aldose Reductase Inhibitory Effect / Terpenoids / Antidiabetic: Study evaluated the ethanol, petroleum ether, and aqueous extracts of E. antiquorum for anti-hyperglycemic and aldose inhibitory effect in Alloxan-induced diabetic rats. All extracts demonstrated hypoglycemic effect, but the ethanol extract (69%) showed more effect which was comparable to standard drug Glibenclamide. Results showed EA has antidiabetic and aldose reductase inhibitory effect. Molecular docking study showed Antiquol A to be one of the best aldose reductase inhibitor. (14)
Anticancer / Human Cervical Cancer Cells Via Apoptotic Pathways / Latex: The latex of EA has shown inhibitory effects on several cancer cell lines. Study supported the hypothesis that Euphorbia antiquorum causes cell death via apoptotic pathways in human cervical adenocarcinoma HeLa cells.   (16)
Invention / Anticancer Herbal Extract: Invention claims an herbal extract from E. antiquorum to inhibit tumor growth of hepatoma cells, colorectal adenocarcinoma cells, monocyte-like lymphoma and leukemia cells. (17)
Antifungal / Latex: Study evaluated the antifungal effect of methanolic latex extract on some human pathogenic fungi viz., Candida albicans, C. cruzi, C. tropicalis, C. parapolisis, and Aspergillus sps. The latex showed significant zone of inhibition in a dose dependent manner. (18)
Anticancer / S-Phase Arrest in Human Cervical Cancer Cells / Latex: Study evaluated the influence of EA in human cervical cancer cells. Study showed EA could downregulate topoisomerase, and activate ATM kinase, which then induce parallel Chk 1/2 and MAPK signaling pathways to promote degradation of Cdc25A to induce S-phase arrest in human cervical cancer HeLa cells. (19)
Adsorption / Activated Carbon for Dye Removal: Study reports on the use of E. antiquorum wood for the convenient and economically preparation of activated carbon with high absorptive capacity. The adsorbent was used for the adsorptive removal of four categories of dyes. (20) Study evaluated the mechanism of adsorption of Basic Red 29 from aqueous solutions using activated carbon prepared from E. antiquorum wood. (21)


Last Update June 2016

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Basic Info / Euphorbia
Ethnoveterinary healthcare practices in southern districts of Tamil Nadu / S. Ganesan et al / Indian J. Traditional knowledge Vol 7, No2, April 2008
Eupha-7,9(11),24-trien-3beta-ol ("antiquol C") and other triterpenes from Euphorbia antiquorum latex and their inhibitory effects on Epstein-Barr virus activation / Akihisa T, Kithsiri Wijeratne EM et al / J Nat Prod 2002 Feb;65(2):158-62
Hepatoprotective and antioxidant activity of Euphorbia antiquorum / Pharmacognosy Magazine / Vol 4, Issue 13, January-March 2008
Study of insecticidal properties of Euphorbia antiquorum (1998) / Ms. I J K Palugaswewa
Insecticidal activity of Euphorbia antiquorum L. latex and its preliminary chemical analysis / WAPP de Silva, GK Manuweera, SHPP Karunaratne / J.Natn.Sci.Foundation Sri Lanka 2008 36 (1): 15-23

Triangular splurge / Common names / Flowers of India

Constituents of the latex of Euphorbia antiquorum / Mohan B Gewali, Masao Hattori et al / Phytochemistry
Volume 29, Issue 5, 1990, Pages 1625-1628 / doi:10.1016/0031-9422(90)80134-3
Euphorbia antiquorum / Synonyms / The Plant List
Isolation and Quantification of Flavonoid from Euphorbia antiquorum Latex and its Antibacterial Studies / Pradeep Kumar Sake, Rajeswari B, Veeranjaneya Reddy L*, Damu A.G, Sha Valli Khan P.S / Indian Journal of Advances in Chemical Science 1 (2) (2013) 117-122
Studies on anti-hyperglycemic effect of Euphorbia antiquorum L. root in diabetic rats.
/ Madhavan V, Murali A, Lalitha DS, Yoganarasimhan S / J Intercult Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Oct-Dec;4(4):308-13. / doi: 10.5455/jice.20150904094206
Euphorbia antiquorum latex and its mosquitocidal potency against Aedes aegypti / J. Benrit Vimal and S. Sam Manohar Das / Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies 2014; 2 (6): 267-269
Analgesic and Anti-inflammatory Activity of Euphorbia antiquorum Linn / Banibrata Das, Samina Alam, Rajib Bhattacharjee and Biplab Kumar Das / American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Volume 10, Issue 2, Pages 46-55 / DOI : 10.3844/ajptsp.2015.46.55
Facile synthesis of silver nanoparticles using Euphorbia antiquorum L. latex extract and evaluation of their biomedical perspectives as anticancer agents / Chandrasekaran Rajkuberan, Seetharaman Prabukumar, Gnansekar Sathishkumar, Arockiasamy Wilson, Keepanan Ravindran, Sivaperumal Sivaramakrishnan / Journal of Saudi Chemical Society
A study of Anti-hyperglycemic and insilico Aldose reductase inhibitory effect of terpenoids of Euphorbia antiquorum Linn. in alloxan induced diabetic rats / Amutha Periyasamy*, Kumar Nagarathinam, Jayakumar Ponnusamy, Karthikeyan Rajendren / Indian Journal of Drugs and Diseases, Vol 1, Issue 7, Oct. 2012
Chemical Constituents of Euphorbia antiquorum / SANG Yi-Shu, SHI Hai-Ming, JIA Liang, LIU Xue-Ting, MIN Zhi-Da* / Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines, 2005-01
Latex of euphorbia antiquorum induces apoptosis in human cervical cancer cells via c-Jun N-terminal kinase activation and reactive oxygen species production / Wen Tsong Hsieh ; Hui Yi Lin ; Jou Hsuan Chen ; Yueh Hsiung Kuo ; Ming Jen Fan ; Rick Sai Chuan Wu ; King Chuen Wu ; W. Gibson Wood ; Jing Gung Chung / Nutrition and Cancer, 63(8), 1339-1347. / DOI: 10.1080/01635581.2011.608481
Euphorbia antiquorum extract, a pharmaceutical composition containing the same and methods for treatment of cancers / United States Patent Application 20030165579 Kind Code: A1
Antifungal activity of Euphorbia antiquorum L. latex an in vitro study / J. Benrit Vimal and S. Sam Manohar Das / International Journal of Applied Research 2015; 1(3): 25-28
Latex of Euphorbia antiquorum-induced S-phase arrest via active ATM kinase and MAPK pathways in human cervical cancer HeLa cells / Wen-Tsong Hsieh, Hui-Yi Lin, Jou-Hsuan Chen, Wen-Chung Lin, Yueh-Hsiung Kuo, W. Gibson Wood, Hsu-Feng Lu,* andJing-Gung Chung* / Environmental Toxicology
Volume 30, Issue 10, pages 1205–1215, September 2015 / DOI: 10.1002/tox.21992
Mechanistic study of dye adsorption on to a novel non-conventional low-cost adsorbent / Ponnusamy Sivakumar* and Nachimuthu Palanisamy / Advances in Applied Science Research, 2010, 1 (1): 58-65
ADSORPTION STUDIES OF BASIC RED 29 BY A NON- CONVENTIONAL ACTIVATED CARBON PREPARED FROM EUPHORBIA ANTIQUORUM L / *P. Sivakumar and P.N. Palanisamy / International Journal of ChemTech Research, Vol.1, No.3 , pp 502-510, July-Sept 2009
Herbal plants for wound healing among Sugali tribes of Yerramalai forest of Kurnool District, Andhra Prdesh, India / S. Khaleel Basha*, E. Anjaneyulu and G. Sudarsanam / Indian J. Applied & Pure Bio. Vol. 28(1), 19-25 (2013)

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