Action ► Formerly used as a diuretic, diaphoretic and emmenagogue, in dysmenorrhoea and bilious pains. No more recommended for internal use due to high concentration of hepatotoxic alkaloids. Infusion is used as a lotion in chronic mastitis, gout and haemorrhoids. Extracts of the plant are haemostatic.
From the dried plant material alkaloids (0.053-00.095%) have been isolated, including, seneciphylline, sene-cionine and retrorsine. Senecionine and retrorsine have been demonstrated to induce hepatic necrosis in experimental animals. The plant contains 950 mcg/kg of iodine on fresh basis.
A related species used in Western herbal, Senecio aureus Linn. (Golden Groundsel, Squaw Weed) is a uterine relaxant, stimulant to gravid uterus and a soothing drug for nervous and vascular irritability, menopausal symptoms, hot flushes. Alkaloids include senecifo-line, senescine, senecionine and otose-nine—pyrrolizidine alkaloids, in isolation, are highly toxic to liver. The plant is recommended only for external use as a douche for excessive vaginal discharge.
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