Boto-botonesan or phonetic variations are shared by three plants of different species: (1) Mutha (Cyperus rotundus) Boto-botones (2) Gatas-gatas (Euphorbia hirta) botobotonis, botbotonis, botonis (3) Botoncillo (Gomphrena globosa) botbotonis, botones-botonesan (4) Botobotonisan (Sphaeranthus africanus)
Tawa-tawa is a shared common name of (1) Euphorbia hirta, gatas-gatas (2) Grammatophyllum scriptum, tawa-tawa, and (3) Ricinus communis, tañgan-tañgan, tawa-tawa
Euphorbia is the largest genus of the family Euphorbiaceae with about 1600 species. All species of Euphorbia exude a milky juice when broken, and Euphorbia hirta's local name "gatas-gatas" derives from this.
Gatas-gatas is a slender-stemmed, annual hairy plant with many branches from the base to the top, the branches simple or forked and ascending or spreading, up to 40 centimeters tall, reddish or purplish in color. Leaves are opposite, elliptic-oblong to oblong-lanceolate, distichous, 1 to 2.5 centimeters long, usually blotched with purple in the middle, toothed at the margin. Involucres are numerous, purplish to greenish in color, borne in dense, axillary, stalkless or short-stalked clusters or crowded cymes, about 1 millimeter in length. Capsules are broadly ovoid, hairy, three-angled, about 1.5 millimeters long.
- Abundant throughout the Philippines, in waste places, open grasslands, etc.
- Studies have isolated gallic acid, quercetin, triacontane, cetyl alcohol, phytosterol, phytosterolin (phytosterol glucoside); jambulol, melissic, and a mixture of acids consisting chiefly of palmitic, oleic, and linoleic acid.
- Phytochemicals screenings have yielded alkaloids, essential oil, phenols, sterol, flavones and fatty acids.
- Yields flavonoids: euphorbianin, leucocyanidol, camphol, quercitrin and quercitrol.
- Study has suggested that some of the constituents of the plant are similar to those of the jambul (Syzygium cumini) seeds.
- Considered anti-asthmatic, antibacterial, antidote, antifertility, antifungal, antimalarial, anti-spasmodic, anthelmintic, antidysenteric, diuretic, expectorant, pectoral, hemostatic, sedative, soporific.
Parts used and preparation
- Called gatas-gatas because of the healing property of the milky juice.
- In the Philippines, leaves are mixed with Datura metel leaves and flowers in the preparation of "asthma-cigarettes."
- Latex is prescribed for asthma.
- Entire plant prescribed as an antidote; considered hemostatic, sedative, and soporific.
- Decoction used to allay the dyspnea of asthmatics.
- Fluid extract of tincture is used in asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema, also in pulmonary cardiac disease and angina pectoris.
- Used for acute and chronic dysentery.
- Tincture is used as anthelmintic. Also used for ringworm.
- Juice used for colics.
- Juice used as ophthalmic drops for conjunctivitis or ulceration of the cornea. Stem sap used in the treatment of styes.
- Leaf poultice used for swellings and boils.
- Infusion or tea of the plant, 4 glasses daily, for bronchitis and labored breathing, asthma, chronic dysentery.
- Used for boils and wounds.
- Decoction of dry plant used for skin disease.
- Decoction of fresh plant used as gargle for the treatment of thrush.
- Decoction of the root used to allay vomiting, chronic diarrheas, and fevers.
- Root decoction also beneficial for nursing mothers deficient in milk: 4-5 glasses of tea.
- The same root decoction as an enema for constipation.
- Root used for snake bites.
- Used in sores, wounds, boils. As ear drop for pustular swellings in the ear.
- Leaves are mixed with Datura metel leaves and flowers to make the "asthma-cigarette."
- Latex also prescribed for asthma.
- Superficial bleeding: Crush leaves and apply on affected part, as local hemostatic.
- In Australia and elsewhere, used for asthma and pectoral complains.
- In Brazil, decoction used for gonorrhea and asthma.
- In Africa and Australia, used to treat hypertension and edema.
- In India, used for treatment of syphilis; sap applied to warts. Also for affections of children, especially bowel and chest complaints. The milky juice is dropped into eyes for conjunctivitis and corneal ulcerations.
- Plant decoction: 25 gms of the whole plant to a pint of boiling water; boil for 3-4 minutes; drink 3-5 glasses a day. Externally as needed.
- In traditional Indian medicinal systems, leaves used in the treatment of coryza, cough, asthma, bronchial infections, bowel complaints, helminthic infestations, wounds, kidney stones and abscesses.
- Santals use the root to allay vomiting; also, used by nursing mothers with deficient milk supply.
- In the Gold Coast, ground and mixed with water and used as an enema for constipation.
- In La Reunion, used as astringent in chronic diarrheas and dysentery.
- Roots used for intermittent fevers.
Recent interests from the folk medicine grapevine
- Dengue and anecdotal reports of "cures" from the use of tawa-tawa has created a flurry of queries, web blogs, and sustained media interest.
- Tea Making Procedure:
- Take 5 to 6 full whole Tawa Tawa plants
- Cut off the roots
- Wash and clean
- Fill a boiling pot with clean water
- Boil the Tawa Tawa for 1 (one) minute in a slow rolling boil
- Let the dengue fever victim drink only the Tawa Tawa water for 24 hours
- Sip 1 to 1.5 glasses of Tawa Tawa water every hour.
- Another Decoction Preparation: Cut roots off 5 to 6 gatas-gatas plants. Rinse. Put the tawa-tawa into a pot of boiling water for one minute. Cool. Drink the decoction, 1 to 1 1/2 glasses, every hour for 24 hours.