Euphorbia thymifolia L.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Last updated: 8 May 2016

Scientific Name

Euphorbia thymifolia L.


Anisophyllum thymifolium (L.) Haw, Aplarina microphylla (Lam.) Raf, Chamaesyce mauritiana Comm. ex Denis, Chamaesyce microphylla (lam.) Soják, Chamaesyce rubrosperma (Lotsy) Millsp., Chamaesyce thymifolia (L.) Millsp., Euphorbia afzelii N.E. Br., Euphorbia botryoides Noronha [Illegitimate], Euphorbia foliate Buch.-Ham. Ex Dillwyn, Euphorbia microphylla Lam., Euphorbia rubicunda Blume, Euphorbia rubrosperma Lotsy [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Gelang susu, jarak blanda, rumput barah, rumpot jangot [2]
English Asthma plant, pill-bearing spurge, thyme-leaf spurge, chicken weed [3]
China Qian Gen Cao [2]
India Ban-sushni, chhoti dudhi, chota-dudhi, choti dudhi, chotti dudhi, dhakti-dudhi, dudhi, dudhia, dudhika, dudhiphail, dudhwa, lal dudhi, laldawee, sadimara, simsiku, siruamman pachorisi, swet-kerui, thua [2]
Indonesia Gelang pasir, ki mules, patikan cina [2]
Thailand Nammom raatchasee lek [2]
Laos Nhayang ung baynoy [2]
Bangladesh Dudhia [2]
Philippines Makikitot [2]
Vietnam C[orl s[uwx]a l[as] nh[or], c[or] s[uwx]a d[aas]t, nh[ar] m[uwj]c n[oj]I [2]
France Petite rougette, euphorbe à feuilles de thym [4]

Geographical Distributions

Euphorbia thymifolia can be found throughout Old World Tropics. It is not widespread in tropical East Africa but advancing there; throughout Malesian region. [6]

Botanical Description

Euphobia thymifolia is a member of the Euphorbiaceae family. It is a monocious, prostate, annual herb with numerous adventitious roots and the branches length can grow up to 25cm long. [8][9]

The stems are with white latex.

The leaves are opposite, distichous, simple; blade ovate, measures up to 8mm x 4mm; stipules linear 1mm long, deeply 2-3 toothed. The base unequal, one side cuneate the other side rounded, apex rounded, margins shallowly toothed, glabrous above and sparsely long-hairy beneath. [8][9]

The petioles are 0.5mm long. Inflorescence is in the form of terminal or axillary cluster of flowers called a cyathium, on short leafy shoots; cyathia almost sessile, measures 0.5mm x 0.5mm, with a funnel-shaped involucre, lobes triangular, minute, margin hairy, glands 4, minute, almost circular, red with very small red appendages, each involucre containing 1 female flower surrounded by few male flowers. [8][9]

The flowers are unisexual; male flowers sessile, bracteoles hair-like, perianth absent, stamen 1mm long; female flowers almost sessile, perianth a rim, ovary superior, glabrous, 3-celled, styles 3, minute, 2-fid. [8][9]

The fruit an acutely 3-lobed, almost sessile capsule 1mm x 1mm base truncate, short-hairy. 3 seeded. [8][9]

The seeds are conical, measure 0.5mm in diameter, acutely 4-angled, shallowly transversely wrinkled, reddish brown without caruncle. [8][9]


No documentation

Chemical Constituent

Euphorbia thymifolia has been reported to contain 1-desgalloyleugeniin, 1-O-galloyl-3,6-(R)-valoneayl-b-D-glucose, 5-desgalloylstachyruin, 12-deoxy-4-b-hydroxyphorbol-13-dodecanoate-20-acetate, 12-deoxy-4-b-hydroxyphorbol-13-phenyacetate-29-acetate, 12-deoxyphorbol-13,20-diacetate, 24-methylene cycloartenol, b-amyrine, b-sitosterol, bixanin, campesterol, carvacrol, casuariin, cholesterol, corilagin, cosmosiin (apigenins-7-glucoside), cymol, epitaraxerol, eugeniin, euphorbol, geraniin, isomallotinic acid, rugosin B, kaempferol, limonene, mallotinic acid, n-hexacosanol, pedunculagin, quercetin, quercetin-3-b-galactoside, quercetin-3-rhamnoside, stigmasterol, salicylic acid. [12]

Chloroform extract of Euphorbia thymifolia has been reported to contain two new cinnamic acid derivatives, thymofolinoates A (1) and B (2) p-hydroxy cinnamic acid(3), 5-hydroxy-6,7,8,4'-tetramethoxy flavone (4), and 5-hydroxy-3',4',6,7,8-pentamethoxy flavone (5). [7]

Plant Part Used

Whole plant, leaf, seed, root, latex [3][8][9]

Traditional Use

Euphorbia thymifolia is traditionally used as laxative, diuretic, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, antibacterial, vulnerary, alexipharmic, bronchodilator, stimulant, depurative, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea. [10][11][12] It is also used to for chronic cough, asthma, bronchitis and pulmonary problems. [3][12]

Leaf can be used to treat wound. It also helps to facilitate childbirth by contracting the uterus. [11][12]

Root is used as a remedy for amenorrhea and diarrhoea. [8]

Latex is applied onto acne vulgaris, warts, ringworm and scabies. It is also given as a tonic to control menorrhagia. It promotes conception and is used to treat impotency as aphrodisiac. [8][12]

Leaves and seeds are astringent and are used against diarrhoea and dysentery in children and in other abdominal complaints such as flatulence or constipation in the form of a decoction or an infusion. [3][8][11][12] The Mauritians use the plant and seeds in a decoction to stimulate lactation. [12]

The poultice is used to treat dislocated bone and skin disorders such as tinea. [8]

A decoction of the fresh aerial parts is applied externally to treat dermatitis, eczema and skin inflammations like leprosy, measles and other skin eruptions. The crushed plant is rubbed on the head as an irritating rubefacient to promote hair growth in cases of alopecia. [12][13]

Preclinical Data


Antimicrobial activity


Two compounds, 3-O-galloyl-4,6-(S)-HHDP-D-glucose and EtOAc fraction of E. thymifolia showed anti-HSV-2 activity. They inhibit HSV-2 multiplications by reducing the virus infectivity in a dose dependent manner. [14][15]


E. thymifolia ethanolic extracts showed very significant antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus pumilis, Bacillus subtilis and fungal strain Candida albicans. [16]


E. thymifolia ethanolic extracts moderately inhibited the growth of Pasmodium falciparum. [16]


The methonolic and aqueous extracts of E. thymifolia were investigated for their anthelminthic activity against Pheretima posthyma and Ascardia galli. The various concentrations of the extracts showed significant anthelmintic activity in a dose dependent manner. [17]

Laxative activity

The crude extract of E. thymifolia was found to produce significant laxative activity in a dose dependant manner in albino rats. [18]

Diuretic activity

Crude ethanolic extract and fractions of E. thymifolia showed significant diuretic and laxative activities in a dose dependant manner. [19]


No documentation

Clinical Data

No documentation


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing

No documentation


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Euphorbia thymifolia L.[homepage on the Internet] .c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 26; cited 2016 Apr 1] Available from:
  2. Quattrocchi U. CRC world dictionary of medicinal and poisonous plants: Common names, scientific names, eponyms, synonyms and etymology. Volume III E-L. Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press, 2012; p. 191
  3. Warrier PK, Nambiar VPK, Ramankutty C. Indian medicinal plants: a compendium of 500 species. Volume III. Orient Longman Hyderabad, 1995; p. 6
  4. Medicinal plants, volume I, 2008. [cited 2016 Apr 4]. Available from:
  5. Khan U, Aftab S and Muhammad TA. Indusyunic medicine: traditional medicine of herbal, animal and mineral origin in Pakistan, 2011; p. 226
  6. Nguyen NT and Sosef MSM. Euphorbia thymifolia L. [homepage on the internet] PROSEA (Plant Resources of South-East Asia) Foundation, Bogor, Indonesia. [cited 2016 Apr 16]. Available from:
  7. Hussain R, Ali B, Imran M and Malik M. Thymofolinoates A and B new cinnamic acid derivatives from Euphorbia thymifolia. Natural Product Communications, 2012;7(10):1351-1352.
  8. Compendium of medicinal plants used in Malaysia 2002; p.334-335
  9. Gaby HS, Ameenah GF. Plant Resources of Tropical Africa (Program): medicinal plants 1, volume 11; p. 294-296
  10. Baillon H. Euphorbiacees Americaines Adansonia, 1863; volume 4, p. 259.
  11. Burkill IH, Birtwistle W, Foxworthy FW. A dictionary of the economic products of the Malay Peninsula, 1935; p. 980-981
  12. Gabriëlla HS and Ameenah GF. Medicinal plants plant resources of tropical Africa (program), 2008; p. 294-296
  13. Khare CP. Indian herbal remedies: rational Western therapy, ayurvedic, and other traditional usage, 2004; p. 210-211
  14. Lin CC, Cheng HY, Yang CM and Lin TC. Antioxidant and antiviral activities of Euphorbia thymifolia L. Journal of Biomedical Science, 2002;9(6 Pt 2):656-64
  15. Yang CM, Cheng HY, Lin TC, Chiang LC and Lin CC. Euphorbia thymifolia suppresses herpes simplex virus-2 infection by directly inactivating virus infectivity. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology, 2005;32(5-6):346-9
  16. Mon M, Nwe NT and Hla MM. Antimicrobial activity of selected Myanmar medicinal plants GMSARN international conference on sustainable development: issues and prospects for the GMS 12-14, 2008
  17. Sandeep RK, Shrinivas KM, Jaykumar SS, Rajaram. Antihelmintic activity of aqueous and methanolic extracts of Euphorbia thymifolia Linn. International Journal of PharmTech Research, 2009;1(3):666-669
  18. Kane SR, Mohite SK, Adnaik RS and Magdum CS. Laxative activity of aqueous extract of Euphorbia thymifolia Linn. Journal of Herbal Medicine and Toxicology, 2009;3(1):139-140
  19. Sandeep R. Kane, Vishvesh AA, Sachin ST and Shrinivas KM. Diuretic and laxative activity of ethanolic extract and its fractions of Euphorbia Thymifolia Linn. International Journal of ChemTech Research, 2009;1(2):149-152