Argemone mexicana Linn

Family ► Papaveraceae.

Habitat ► Native to America; naturalized throughout India.

English ► Prickly Poppy, Mexican Poppy.

Ayurvedic ► Katuparni, Svarnkshiri, Kaanchan-kshiri, Pitadugdhaa. Hemaahvaa, Himaavati, Hemavati. (Not to be equated with Brah-madandi—Tricholepis glaberrima.)

Unani ► Satyaanaashi.

Siddha/Tamil ► Piramathandu, Kudiyotti.

Action ► Seed—responsible for epidemic dropsy. Causes diarrhoea and induces toxicity. Oil, leaf juice and root—used externally for indolent ulcers and skin diseases.

The herb contains isoquinoline alkaloids. The fresh latex contains protein-dissolving constituents and is used externally to treat warts, tumours and cancer. Latex contains alkaloid berberine (0.74%), protopine (0.36%) and free amino acids. Sanguinarine is the toxic factor in seeds.

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