Pedilanthus tithymaloides (L.) POIR

Nota de alcance (en)

Tropical America. In Venezuela, the species occurs in hot and dry regions among xerophytes. It has been collected in the Distrito Federal, in Aragua, Falcon, and the island of Margarita.

Ethnobotanical and general use

Economical utilization.
The plant is used as a natural green fence or hedge as well as an ornamental for its variegated leaves. Certain arrow poisons are made of the latex.

Medical use
A decoction of the entire plant had a temporal reputation as a remedy against syphilis. It is now applied as an emmenagogum. The plant is also used against toothache. A decoction of the entire plant is vomitive and purgative. The very acrid and caustic latex may cause severe blistering and vomiting. The latex of Pedilanthus is largely known as a drastic purgative and emetic. In Caracas, the milky sap is used externally to remove callosities, and rough spots of the skin. Ingestion of the seeds is followed by repeated and violent vomiting. In Cuba, the root is used as an abortifacient. The main properties of the plant are purgative, emetic, keratolytic, abortifacient, narcotic and menstruation promoting. In northern Peru, a hallucinogenic drink called 'cimora' is prepared from 6 plants, one of which is Pedilanthus tithymaloides (SCHULTES 1990).

The latex is toxic and caustic and causes severe dermal injuries. The plant should be used with much precaution.


Latex: White latex is antiseptic, and is applied on cuts and bruises for quick healing (Guyana Patamona).

Stem: Exudate used to treat warts in NW Guyana.

Nota bibliográfica (en)

1) South American medicinal plants : botany, remedial properties, and general use / I. Roth, H. Lindorf. Berlin ; New York : Springer, c2002. -- p. 492.

2) Robertt, A., et al.. Medicinal Plants of the Guianas (Guyana, Suriname, French Guyana)/Smithsonian NMNH. cited online: 17-08-2017

Pedilanthus tithymaloides (L.) POIR
Término aceptado: 27-Dic-2016