Argemone mexicana L.

Nota de alcance

PARTE UTILIZADA= Used part: Frutos y semillas, flores.

ACCION FARMACOLOGICA= Pharmacological action: Purgante (frutos y semillas), pectoral (flores), somnífero (flores).

COMPOSICIÓN QUÍMICA= Chemical composition: Chemicals ALKALOIDS Plant 1,250 ppm; DUKE1992A; ALPHA-ALLOCRYPTOPINE Root: DUKE1992A; ARGEMONIC-ACID Plant: DUKE1992A; ARGEMONINE Plant: DUKE1992A; BERBERINE Plant 410 ppm; DUKE1992A; CHELERYTHRINE Root: DUKE1992A; CODEINE Plant: DUKE1992A; COPTISINE Seed: DUKE1992A; DIHYDROCHELERYTHRINE Root: DUKE1992A; DIHYDROSANGUINARINE Shoot: DUKE1992A; FAT Seed 200,000 - 393,000 ppm DUKE1992A; ISORHAMNETIN-3,7-DIGLUCOSIDE Flower: DUKE1992A; ISORHAMNETIN-3-BETA-D-GLUCOSIDE Flower: DUKE1992A; L-GLUTAMIC-ACID Seed: DUKE1992A; LINOLEIC-ACID Seed 96,000 - 188,600 ppm DUKE1992A; MORPHINE Plant: DUKE1992A; MYRISTIC-ACID Seed: DUKE1992A; NORARGEMONINE Fruit: DUKE1992A; OLEIC-ACID Seed 44,000 - 85,800 ppm DUKE1992A; PALMITIC-ACID Seed: DUKE1992A; PALMITOLIC-ACID Seed 12,000 - 23,600 ppm DUKE1992A; PHYSETOLIC-ACID Seed: DUKE1992A; PROTEIN Seed 176,000 - 181,000 ppm DUKE1992A; PROTOPINE Plant 840 ppm; DUKE1992A; RESIN Plant 17,500 ppm; DUKE1992A; RICINOLEIC-ACID Seed 20,000 - 39,300 ppm DUKE1992A; ROMNEINE Plant: DUKE1992A; SANGUINARINE Seed: DUKE1992A; TANNIN Plant 11,000 ppm; DUKE1992A; ppm = parts per million tr = trace

ZONA GEOGRAFICA= Geografical zone: desde Méjico hasta NE de Argentina. 

Nota de alcance

DIVERSIDAD GENÉTICA Y MEJORAMIENTO DE PLANTAS MEDICINALES= Medicinal plants and improvement of medicinal herbs:

The allergenic pollen of Argemone mexicana L. a common road-side weed was subjected to artificial SO2 fumigation at a concentration of 100 ppm for 24 hours, 48 hours and 72 hours and its effect on the total carbohydrate, lipid, free amino acid, DNA and RNA content as well as peroxidase isozyme and DNA profile studied. In comparison to the control (pollen exposed to charcoal-filtered air), the carbohydrate, lipid, DNA and RNA content decreased with the increase in the time of exposure to SO2, where as the percentage composition of free amino acid increased. Contrary, to this, the activity of peroxidase was found to increase with a change in the iso-peroxidase zymogram showing three new anionic isozyme bands. SO2 affected the total DNA profile leading to the gradual breakdown of DNA with several bands observed on agarose gel electrophoresis with an increase in the time of fumigation.

Nota de alcance (en)

Uses: diarrhea, liver, hepatitis, stomach, constipation, fever.                                                 

Origin: Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Caribbean, China, Costta Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, Suriname, United Sates, Uruguay, Venezuela.     


Whole plant: Infusion used against asthma.

Root: Taken in rum or cognac for stomach pain.

Stem: Sap from the cut end of the stem is applied to cavities as a treatment for toothache, by the
Guyana Patamona.

Flower: Infusion of petals is given to children having difficulty with urination.


Argemone mexicana (Papaveraceae) is a weed native to Mexico and Southern USA, although at present it can be found widespread throughout the continent, reaching some areas of Patagonia. Also known by the common name of Mexican poppy, the presence of toxic alkaloids has limited the medicinal use of this plant. However, some of these compounds have shown interesting pharmacological data, mostly in the fields of cardiology and infectology, and more recently as an interesting option in the clinical treatment of malaria. Some authors, however, strongly advice against the use of A. mexicana under any circumstance.

Range. Florida to Central America; West Indies.

The juice is used as a treatment for edema

Seed: Used in laxative and expec­torant preparations

Root: Used in the treatment of skin diseases.

Native to America; naturalized throughout India.

Oil, leaf juice and root—used externally for indolent ulcers and skin diseases.

Seed—responsible for epidemic dropsy. Causes diarrhoea and induces toxicity.


Abeokuta, Nigeria



For measles




Folk medicinal uses

Steggerda reported that this plant is used for colds, especially in children. Browne also reported that it is sudorific when used in infusions and that the juice could be used for eye diseases. The seeds, in a dose of one to five, were used by the country people for diarrhoea and dysentery. It is reputed, by Lindley, that in the island of Nevis 'the oil obtained from the seeds is used as a substitute for castor oil'.




Folk medicinal uses

The use of this species to make tea for colds and fever and perhaps as a general beverage is confirmed. It is also said to be boiled with chips from Bursera simaruba ("taken from the side of the tree where the sun rises") to make a drink for high blood pressure. The use of the latex in the treatment of eye com paints appears to be wide-spread being reported for Mexico. among the Mayas. in French Guiana and in India. It has also been used in various parts of the world to heal ulcers. to remove warts. as a cure for ringworm and in dropsy and jaundice cases. The root and shoot decoctions have also been considered diuretic and of use in bladder complaints. Thomson reported that 1 drachm of the seeds was a dose for worms in adults: the dose was followed by one composed of 1 tablespoon of spirits of turpentine. 2 tablespoons sweet oil (or aloes) with molasses.


Nota bibliográfica

1) TOURSARKISSIAN, Martín.-- Plantas medicinales de Argentina : sus nombres botánicos, vulgares, usos y distribución geográfica.-- Buenos Aires : Hemisferio Sur, 1980, p.96.

2) Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases [en línea]. [Consulta: 27 de noviembre,  2008].Disponible en:

3) Parui, S. ; Mondal, A.K. ; Mandal, S. DNA, peroxidase profile, and biochemical composition changes during the treatment in vitro of pollen of Argemone mexicana L. with SO2. GRANA. 2001,vol.40, nº3, p. 154-158.

4) ALONSO, Jorge ; DESMARCHELIER, Cristian. Plantas medicinales autóctonas de la Argentina : bases científicas para su aplicación en atención primaria de la salud.  Buenos Aires: L.O.L.A, 2005, p. 119.

5) Geraldini , Isanete, Journal of Ethnopharmacology v. 173, 2015 . -- p. 383-423

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

7) Plantas medicinales autóctonas de la Argentina. Bases científicas para su aplicación en atención primaria de la salud / Jorge Alonso y Cristian Jorge Desmarchelier. - 1a ed. - Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: Corpus Libros Médicos y Científicos, 2015.

8) DeFilipps, Robert A.; Krupnick, Gary A. / PhytoKeys, v. 102. - - p. 1 - 314,  2018.

9) Khare, C.P./ Indian Medicinal Plants. -- Nueva Dheli: Springer, 2007 . - p. 836.

10) MacDonald Idu; Erhabor,Joseph O.; Efijuemue, Harriet M. / Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research. – v. 9 no. 2, 2021. – p 8.

11) Asprey, G.F; Phylis Thornton/ Medicinal plants of Jamaica. Parts I & II. – p. 21.

12) Asprey, G.F; Phylis Thornton/ Medicinal plants of Jamaica. Parts III & IV. – p. 65.

Argemone mexicana L.
Término aceptado: 16-Nov-2007