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Find out how Hairy Fleabane can benefit you with wellbeing expert Heléna Szöllősy.
Firstly – have you ever heard of Hairy Fleabane? This yellow wildflower adds colour to Gozo’s landscape all year round and can be found growing in most terrains. Read on to explore the benefits of this abundant weed.
Botanical Name: Conyza bonariensis Synonyms: Conyza ambigua, Conyza crispa, Erigeron bonariensis, Erigeron crispus, Erigeron floribundus Family Name: Asteraceae Maltese Name: Żagħżigħa selvaġġa Common Names: Argentine fleabane, Butterweed, Flax-Leaved Fleabane, Fleawort, Hairy fleabane, Rough conyza, Meaning of the Name: Conyza, konops from Greek, ’a gnat’, and used by Pliny as a name for some kind of a fleabane, or konis from Greek, ’dust’, its powder being used to kill fleas, bonariensis, named after Buenos Aires, Argentina. Erigeron, from Greek, er, spring; geron, an old man, suggested by the hoariness of some vernal species, crispus from Latin, finely waved; closely curled.
Hairy fleabane is a common summer annual or biennial broadleaf living in unmanaged areas and cultivated fields. It usually grows up to 20-75cm in height. Flowers are numerous and the flower head looks like a flower bud. They have distinct bell-shaped leaves and the inside of each is white sometimes tinged purple or red. The cypsela (fruit) is a linear-shaped seed and the whole thing is covered in hairs, hence the name! On Gozo, it flowers all year around.
- Habitats: Widespread weed of cultivated land, garden areas, wasteland, beneath walls and in cracks in pavements and concrete driveways, vineyards, ditch and canal banks, urban sites, disturbed, unmanaged areas.
- Range: Originating from South America, but it is now widely spread through most warmer regions of Europe, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Central America.
- Status for Malta: Not native, introduced in the last 500 years from foreign countries and now naturalised throughout the Maltese islands. Very common in the wild.
- Parts used: The whole plant.
- Herbal Actions: Anthelmintic, Anticonvulsant, Antidiarrheal, Anti-inflammatory, Anti-rheumatic, Anti-tumour, Anti-ulcer, diuretic, Gastric, Hypoglycaemic, Insecticide, Spasmolytic, Vermifuge.
Main Active Constituents: alkaloids, anthocyanin pigments, campesterol, choline, cyanin, cyclopropenoids, diterpene, ergosterol, essential oil, glycoside, β-sitosterol, flavonoids, flavonoid glycosides, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium), organic acids, stigmasterol, tannins, taraxeryl acetate, terpineol.
Hairy fleabane has only limited uses, although it is cultivated as a medicinal plant in some parts of the world, possibly for the noted antimicrobial effects. It is particularly good in cases of ulcers and diuretic healing. The infusion of fleabane leaves and flowers is used as a liver decongestant, and a liver protector, against venereal diseases (gonorrhoea) and urinary tract infections.
The infusion is used as a diuretic in diseases of the genitor-urinary and urethral washings. The decoction of the whole plant is used as purifying ant rheumatic, primarily to eliminate uric acid. In the South Asian traditional system of medicine, various parts of the plant are being used in a variety of ailments.
Leaves are used as laxative, root is used in diarrhoea, cough, while flowers are considered an aphrodisiac, emollient, and used in gastrointestinal problems including diarrhoea. The crude extract of the plants used in constipation and diarrhoea. Phytochemical studies of Conyza bonariensis revealed the presence of several bioactive constituents. The plant has also been evaluated pharmacologically for the presence of anticonvulsant, antitumor, hypoglycaemic, and estrogenic activities
- Medicinal use in Africa (Egypt, Congo, Uganda, Tanzania):
- Flowering branches antirheumatic, diuretic, RNS.
- Juice extracted from the leaves into the eyes for headache
- Leaf-sap to aching spots due to witchcraft.
- The leaves are used as medicine for the treatment of headache and heart pain.
- Leaves mixed in water to prepare drink to treat headache
- For epilepsy, psychosis, juice of leaves, drops in nostrils
- For tuberculosis, cigarettes with dried leaves
- For influenza, juice of leaves, drops in nostrils
- Leaves, crumple, inhalation
- For a baby who does not want to suckle, the plant is crushed and applied on the nipples, which will cause to baby to suckle
- For syphilis, gonorrhoea, extract of roots and leaves diluted in water in small quantities.
- Leaves are used externally as a poultice for disinfection of wounds, against the haemorrhoids and vermifuge. Infusion of the petals is given as refrigerant and demulcent.
- The grounded leaves are plastered on the wounds.
- Recent pharmacological studies have shown that the crude extract is recommended as an antibacterial, antifungal, and phytotoxic drug.
- Young leaves and seedlings – cooked. Boiled, cooked in rice, or dried for later use. The source of an essential oil that is used commercially for flavouring sweets, condiments, and soft drinks.
- The fresh leaves contain 0.2 – 0.66% essential oil, suitable in the making of perfumes with unusual nuances.
Precautions: Skin contact with Hairy Fleabane can cause dermatitis in some people.
DECOCTUM FOR HYPO AND HYPER GASTRIC SOURNESS
- Take 20 grs of Erigeron floribundus. (Fleabane) and 20 grams of Symphytum officinalis (Comfrey)
- Wash the leaves and boil in water (2 l. water (H2O., VO., 1/4 l)
- Filter and drink 2 cups a day for seven days (Prelude Medicinal Plants Database)
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Author : Heléna Szöllősy. Editor: GITH
Helena is an expert on the medicinal properties of plants having trained in Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy, specialising in Phytotherapy including Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Apitherapy and Bach Flower Therapy.