Xanthium strumarium Linn

Plant Name

Xanthium strumarium Linn
Synonym : X. indicum Koenig. Ex Roxb.

Botanical Info

Annual, 30-120cm heigh


Central Asia: all regions. Grows on wet sandy soils on the river shores. Found in gutters, along fences, roads, on waste grounds, garbage places, in cotton plant and other cultures crops.

Chemical Content

Leaves contain seaquiterpene lactones—xanthinin, xanthumin, xanthanol and iso-xanthanol. Leaves also contain isohexacosane, chlorobutanol, stearyl alcohol, beta-sitosterol and palmitic acid.
A highly toxic compound, carboxyatractyloside, has been isolated from the plant.
A cytotoxic compound, xanthatin (a seco-4,5-guaianolide) has been detected in the resin.
The root gave n-heptacosanol, stigmasterol, 3,4-dihydro oxycinnamic acid, beta-sitosterol and its D-glucoside, and campesterol. Leaves and seeds contains rather a lot of iodine.

Traditional Use and Activity

Plant is used for leucoderma, ulcers, abscesses, strumous and malignant diseases. Root has antitumor properties. Leaves and shoots are applied externally on venereal sores, herpes and scrofula. The plant promotes thyroid gland reduction in struma. 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. While small quantities of the mature plants parts may be consumed, the seeds and seedlings should not be eaten in large quantities because they contain significant concentrations of extremely toxic chemicals. Animals have also been known to die after eating this plant.