Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Xanthium spinosum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Annuals in group of Ambroisecae of the Compositae
Synonym: Spiny Clot Burr.
Part Used: The whole plant.
Habitat: South Europe and naturalized in America near sea-coast, Central Asia northwards to the Baltic and many other parts of the globe.

Description: Xanthic flowers belong to a type which are yellow in colour and can become white or red but never blue. These plants are spread as weeds or cultivated over a great part of the world. Stem annual, from 1 to 3 feet high, much branched and many spined; these are straw-coloured and divided about 1/4 inch from their base into three slender branches, diverging and sharp. Leaves lanceolate, acute, tapering to short leaf-stalks with two lobes at base; underside is covered with a thick white down. Flowers small, monoecious, those at apex sterile, while the fertile ones are at the base of the branchlets. Fruit, a rough burr with a short beak at the apex and covered densely with hooked prickles.

Medicinal Action and Uses: A valuable and sure specific in the treatment of hydrophobia. An active styptic, local and general. Fluid extract, 1 to 2 drachms. 10 grains of the powdered plant, four times daily.

Other Species: Xanthium Strumarium, a coarse erect annual, 1 to 2 feet high, leaves on long stalks, large broadly heart-shaped, coarsely toothed or angular on both sides. Flower heads, greenish yellow, terminal clusters on short racemes, upper ones male, lower female, forming when in fruit ovoid burrs covered with hooked prickles. The short stout conical beaks erect or curved inwards. It is not a British plant, though is sometimes found there and in Ireland.