Xanthium strumariumLinn

Family ► Compositae; Asteraceae.

Habitat ► Tropical India.

English ► Cocklebur, Burweed.

Ayurvedic ► Shankheshwara, Arishta, Aartagala.

Siddha/Tamil ► Maruloomatham, Marlumutta.

Action ► Plant—used for leucoderma, ulcers, abscesses, strumous and malignant diseases.

Root—antitumour. Leaves and shoots—applied externally on venereal sores, herpes and scrofula.

Leaves contain seaquiterpene lac-tones—xanthinin, xanthumin, xan-thanol and iso-xanthanol. Leaves also contain isohexacosane, chlorobu-tanol, stearyl alcohol, beta-sitosterol and palmitic acid. A highly toxic compound, carboxyatractyloside, has been isolated from the plant.

Beta-sitosterol glucoside is anti-inflammatory, xanthumin is a central nervous system depressant. Alcoholic solution of xanthinin shows strong antibacterial activity against Gramnegative bacteria and fungi. A cy-totoxic compound, xanthatin (a seco-4,5-guaianolide) has been detected in the resin.

The root gave n-heptacosanol, stig-masterol, 3,4,-dihydro oxycinnamic acid, beta-sitosterol and its D-gluco-side, and campesterol.

Xanthium spinosum Linn. (introduced from Europe into West Bengal and Assam), known as Spiny Clotbur, is used as a diuretic, antiperiodic (also in intermittent fevers), sudorific, antidiarrhoeal and styptic.

The whole plant gave several xan-thanolides. The sesquiterpene lac-tones, xanthinin, solstitialin and sti-zolicin, isolated from the plant, demonstrated limited antitumour action in vitro. Xanthatin has also been isolated.

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