Argemone mexicana

scientific name: 
Argemone mexicana L.
synonym: 
Argemone spinosa Moench
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Annual herb, up to 60 cm high, covered with numerous thorns; yellow latex.  Leaves sessile, alternate, sinuate-pinnatifid, 8-20 cm long, with short and broad lobules and spiny margins; hermaphroditic flowers, solitary terminals; calyx with three thorny sepals; corolla with six yellow or white petals, 2-3 cm long; thorny capsule with 4-6 valves, 4-5 cm long.

Voucher(s)

García,1192A,JBSD Jiménez,1516,JBSD

stomach pain:

  root, decoction, taken orally1

The whole plant has been extensively studied and contains, among other components, isoquinoline alkaloids: protopine (0.03%), berberine (0.01%) and allocryptopine (0.04%)2, cryptopine and sanguinarine3.  At least 20 additional alkaloids have been found in the plant, including cheilanthifoline, chelerythrine, N-norchelerythrine, dihydrochelerythrine, coptisine, dihydrosanguinarine, norsanguinarine, scoulerine, stylopine, muramine, thalifoline, reframidine and oxyhydrastinine4-5.

and Toxicity

TRAMIL Database6

The plant’s biological and physiological properties have been the subject matter of assessment of extensive research projects.  The main results are summarized in Table 1 below.

The hydroalcoholic extract from the dry plant in concentrations of 50 mg/mL did not report any antibacterial or antifungal activity in vitro7.

The aqueous extract from the leaf offered no protection against pylorus ligation-induced ulcers in rat; on the contrary, it increased ulceration rate8.

The intravenous administration of the aqueous extract of Argemone mexicana to anesthetized Wistar rats increased blood pressure.  However, a small dosage caused hypotension9.

The seed and leaf are claimed to have insecticidal properties10.

Table 1. Argemone mexicana biological and toxic activity

Effect

Plant Part

Dose

AssayType

(animal used)

Observation

Ref

anticoagulant

Latex

not stated

in vitro

inactive

11

antifungal

acetone-H2O

50:50

in vitro

Active

12

fetal anti-implantation

Leaf (H2O)

not stated

in vivo (rats)

inactive

13

fetal anti-implantation

leaf (EtOH)

not stated

in vivo (rats)

inactive

13

embryotoxic

leaf (H2O)

not stated

in vivo(rats)

active

13

uterine stimulant

leaf and stem (H2O-EtOH)

not stated

in vitro (hamsters)

very active

14

spasmogenic

leaf and stem (H2O)

3.3 mL/L

in vitro (guinea pigs)

active

15

spasmogenic

(EtOH)

3.3 mL/L

in vitro (guinea pigs)

active

15

hypoglycemic

seeed

not stated

in vivo

active

16

hypotensive

leaf and stem (H2O) (EtOH)

0.1 mL/kg 0.3 mL/kg

in vivo (dogs)

active

15

hypotensive

entire plant (H2O -EtOH)

50 mg/kg

in vivo (dogs)

active

17

vasodilator

leaf (H2O)

0.3 mL/L

in vivo(rats)

active

17

antimalarial

entire plant (CHCl3)

218 mg/kg

in vivo(chickens)

inactive

18

cytotoxicity

entire plant (H2O-EtOH)

not stated

in vitro (cell culture)

inactive

17

antitumoral

dried plant (H2O)

400 mg/kg

in vivo(mice)

inactive

19

antibacterial

seed (oil)

0.4 and 0.8%

Salmonella and Staphylococcus

active

20

uterine stimulant

root (alkaloids)

not stated

in vivo (rats)

active

21

anti-inflammatory

root (alkaloids)

not stated

in vivo(rats)

active

22

toxicity

entire plant (alkaloids)

20 mg/kg

in vivo(rats)

toxic

23

toxicity

root (H2O)

not stated

in vivo(humans)

toxic

24

toxicity

seed (oil)

not stated

in vivo(rats)

toxic

25

toxicity

seed (oil)

2 mL/animal

in vivo (chickens)

toxic

26

toxicity

seed (oil)

0.3 mL/kg

in vivo (monkeys)

toxic

27

(H2O): aqueous extract; (EtOH): ethanolic extract; (H2O-EtOH): hydroalcoholic extract; (CHCl3): chloroformic extract (n.e.)

Poisoning in humans due to ingestion of the seed or seed oil is signaled by diarrhea and perianal itching, bilateral leg edema, fever, erythema and darkening of the skin.  These are the major symptoms reported in a majority of patients28.  The condition can eventually evolve into heart failure and even death29.

The extracts from the various plant parts are toxic, mainly for the liver.  The active principles inhibit aminopyrine-N-demethylase, aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase, cytochromes B5 and P450, and other major enzymatic groups.  Additionally, they induce enzymatic activity leading to generation hepatotoxic compounds, such as lipid peroxides30-31.  Although these reports involve mainly the seed, the use of preparations with any plant part should be carefully avoided in humans.

The sanguinarine present in all plant parts is thought to have toxic effects on the liver, leading to the degeneration and necrosis of the liver cells of rats at doses of 10 mg/kg32-33.

The plant’s toxicity is attributed to its alkaloids34.

 

References

1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 DE SOUSA M, Matos ME, Matos FJ, MACHADO MI, CRAVEIRO AA,1991 Constituintes químicos ativos de plantas medicinais Brasileiras.Laboratorio de produtos naturais, Fortaleza, Brasil: Ceará Edições UFC.

3WILLAMAN J, LI H, 1970 Alkaloid-bearing plants and their contained alkaloids, 1957-1968. Lloydia33(3A)Supp:1-286.

4SANTRA D, SADJI A, 1971 Phytochemical study of Argemone mexicana. Curr Sci40:548.

5HUSSAIN SF, NAKKADY S, KHAN L, SHAMMA M, 1983 Oxyhydrastinine, an isoquinolone alkaloid from the Papaveraceae. Phytochemistry22(1):319-320.

6BOURGEOIS P, 1986 Rapport concernant Argemone mexicana (Papaveraceae). TRAMIL report. Laboratoire de phytochimie, Faculté des Sciences, UAG, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe. TRAMIL II, Santo Domingo, República Dominicana, UASD/enda-caribe.

7PENNA CA, RADICE M, GUTKIND GO, VAN BAREN C, BROUSSALIS A, MUSCHIETTI L, MARTINO V, FERRARO G, 1994 Antibacterial and antifungal activities of some Argentinean plants. Fitoterapia65(2):172-174.

8CAMBAR P, SANTOS A, RIVERA O, SALVARADO C, ALAVARENGA L, MENDOZA M, 1987 Prevención de la producción de úlceras gástricas experimentales por algunos extractos de plantas. Unidad de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

9RUIZ I, DE ORDOÑEZ F, QUAN DE PINEDA L, CAMBAR P, 1987 Caracterización química y efectos cardiovasculares producidos por algunas plantas medicinales en ratas Wistar (conferencia). Tegucigalpa, Honduras: IV Semana Científica.

10FARIDI YU, 1981 Insecticidal properties of some plant material. Indian J Entomol43(4):404-407.

11SRIVASTAVA GN, CHAKRAVARTI RN, ZAIDI SH, 1962 Studies on anticoagulant therapy. 3. In vitro screening of some Indian plant latices for fibrinolytic and anticoagulant activity. Indian J Med Sc16:873-877.

12ASTHANA A, MALL HV, DIXIT K, GUPTA S, 1989 Fungitoxic properties of latex of plants with special reference to that of Croton bonplandianus Baill. Int J Crude Drug Res27(1):25-58.

13BODHANKAR S, GARG SK, MATHUR VS, 1974 Antifertility screening of plants. Part IX. Effect of five indigenous plants on early pregnancy in female albino rats. Indian J Med Res62:831-837.

14GOTO M, NOGUCHI T, WATANABE T, ISHIKAWA I, KOMATSU M, ARAMAKI Y, 1957 Uterus-contracting ingredients in plants. Takeda Kenkyusho Nempo16:21.

15FENG PC, HAYNES LJ, MAGNUS KE, PLIMMER JR, SHERRAT HSA, 1962 Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants. J Pharm Pharmacol14:556-561.

16PAHWA R, CHATTERJEE V, 1989 The toxicity of Mexican poppy (Argemone mexicana L.) seeds to rats. Vet Hum Toxicol31(6):555-558.

17DHAR ML, DHAR MM, DHAWAN B, MEHROTRA BN, RAY C, 1968 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: part I. Indian J Exp Biol6:232-247.

18SPENCER C, KONIUSZY FR, ROGERS EF, SHAVEL JR J, EASTON NR, KACZKA EA, KUEHL JR, PHILLIPS RF, WALTI A, FOLKERS K, MALANGA C, SEELER AO, 1947 Survey of plants for antimalarial activity. Lloydia10:145-174.

19ABBOT B, LEITER J, HARTWELL JL, CALDWELL ME, BEAL JL, 1966 Screening data from the cancer chemotherapy national service center screening laboratories. XXXIV. Plant extracts. Cancer Res26:761-935.

20PATEL RP, TRIVEDI BM, 1962 The in vitro antibacterial activity of some medicinal oils. Indian J Med Res50:218.

21BOSE B, VIJAYVARGIYA R, SAIFI AQ, SHARMA SK, 1963 Chemical and pharmacological studies on Argemone mexicana. J PharmSc52:1172.

22BUI-TI-YU, SOKOLOV SD, 1973 The effect of alkaloids of Mexican Argemone on aseptic inflammation. Patol Fiziol Ekspter 17:57-59.

23CHAKRAVARTY N, CHAKRAVARTI RN, WERNER G, CHAUDHURI RN, 1954 Toxicity of Argemone alkaloids.Bull Calcutta Sch Trop Med 1:12.

24TRIPATHI K, VAISH SK, GUPTA S, UDUPA S, KAPIL R, 1979 Epidemic dropsy syndrome due to root of Argemone mexicana.Med Surg19(1/2):18-20.

25CHAUDHURI R, SAHA RN, 1955 Ascites produced in rats by Argemone alkaloids. Bull Calcutta Sch Trop Med3:22.

26DOBBIE G, LANGHAM ME, 1961 Reaction of animal eyes to sanguinarine and Argemone oil. Brit J Ophtalmol45:81-95.

27RUKMINI C, 1971 Sanguinarine potentiating factor in Argemone oil. Indian J Med Res59:1676.

28SINGH R, FARIDI MM, SINGH K, SIDDIQUI R, BHATT N, KARNA S, 1999 Epidemic dropsy in the eastern region of Nepal. J Trop Pediatr45(1):8-13.

29SHARMA K, PANWOGRA J, BANERJEE S, JAIN AK, MISRA SN, 1986 Epidemic dropsy in Rajasthan, clinical study. Indian J Nutr Diet23(2):41-44.

30UPRETI K, DAS M, KHANNA S, 1988 Biochemical toxicology ofArgemone alkaloids. III. Effect of lipid peroxidation in different subcellular fractions of the liver. Tetrahedron Lett42(3):301-308.

31UPRETI K, DAS M, KHANNA S, 1991 Biochemical toxicology ofArgemone oil. I. Effect on hepatic cytochrome P-450 and xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. J Appl Toxicol11(3):203-209.

32UPRETI K, DAS M, KHANNA S, 1988 Biochemical toxicology ofArgemone alkaloids. III. Effect of lipid peroxidation in different subcellular fractions of the liver. Tetrahedron Lett42(3):301-308.

33DALVI R, 1985 Sanguinarine: its potential as a liver toxic alkaloid present in the seeds of Argemone mexicana.Experientia41(1):77-78.

34OLIVER-BEVER B, 1982 Medicinal plants in tropical West Africa. J Ethnopharmacol 5:1-71.

 

According to published and other information:

Oral use of root for stomach pain is classified as TOXIC (TOX).

Given the toxicity of all plant parts, use should be discouraged in any kind of preparation and by any means of administration, regardless of how widely recognized its alleged therapeutic properties may be.

In the event of poisoning due to ingestion, seek medical attention.

Treatment for poisoning is symptomatic.

References:  

1 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

2 DE SOUSA M, Matos ME, Matos FJ, MACHADO MI, CRAVEIRO AA,1991 Constituintes químicos ativos de plantas medicinais Brasileiras.Laboratorio de produtos naturais, Fortaleza, Brasil: Ceará Edições UFC.

3WILLAMAN J, LI H, 1970 Alkaloid-bearing plants and their contained alkaloids, 1957-1968. Lloydia33(3A)Supp:1-286.

4SANTRA D, SADJI A, 1971 Phytochemical study of Argemone mexicana. Curr Sci40:548.

5HUSSAIN SF, NAKKADY S, KHAN L, SHAMMA M, 1983 Oxyhydrastinine, an isoquinolone alkaloid from the Papaveraceae. Phytochemestry22(1):319-320.

6BOURGEOIS P, 1986 Rapport concernant Argemone mexicana (Papaveraceae). Rapport tramil. Laboratoire de phytochimie, Faculté des Sciences, UAG, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe.

7PENNA CA, RADICE M, GUTKIND GO, VAN BAREN C, BROUSSALIS A, MUSCHIETTI L, MARTINO V, FERRARO G, 1994 Antibacterial and antifungal activities of some Argentinean plants. Fitoterapia65(2):172-174.

8CAMBAR P, SANTOS A, RIVERA O, SALVARADO C, ALAVARENGA L, MENDOZA M, 1987 Prevención de la producción de úlceras gástricas experimentales por algunos extractos de plantas. Unidad de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

9RUIZ I, DE ORDOÑEZ F, QUAN DE PINEDA L, CAMBAR P, 1987 Caracterización química y efectos cardiovasculares producidos por algunas plantas medicinales en ratas Wistar (conferencia). Tegucigalpa, Honduras: IV Semana Científica.

10FARIDI YU, 1981 Insecticidal properties of some plant material. Indian J Entomol43(4):404-407.

11SRIVASTAVA GN, CHAKRAVARTI RN, ZAIDI SH, 1962 Studies on anticoagulant therapy. 3. In vitro screening of some Indian plant latices for fibrinolytic and anticoagulant activity. Indian J Med Sc16:873-877.

12ASTHANA A, MALL HV, DIXIT K, GUPTA S, 1989 Fungitoxic properties of latex of plants with special reference to that of Croton bonplandianus Baill. Int J Crude Drug Res27(1):25-58.

13BODHANKAR S, GARG SK, MATHUR VS, 1974 Antifertility screening of plants. Part IX. Effect of five indigenous plants on early pregnancy in female albino rats. Indian J Med Res62:831-837.

14GOTO M, NOGUCHI T, WATANABE T, ISHIKAWA I, KOMATSU M, ARAMAKI Y, 1957 Uterus-contracting ingredients in plants. Takeda Kenkyusho Nempo16:21.

15FENG PC, HAYNES LJ, MAGNUS KE, PLIMMER JR, SHERRAT HSA, 1962 Pharmacological screening of some West Indian medicinal plants. J Pharm Pharmacol14:556-561.

16PAHWA R, CHATTERJEE V, 1989 The toxicity of Mexican poppy (Argemone mexicana L.) seeds to rats. Vet Hum Toxicol31(6):555-558.

17DHAR ML, DHAR MM, DHAWAN B, MEHROTRA BN, RAY C, 1968 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: part I. Indian J Exp Biol6:232-247.

18SPENCER C, KONIUSZY FR, ROGERS EF, SHAVEL JR J, EASTON NR, KACZKA EA, KUEHL JR, PHILLIPS RF, WALTI A, FOLKERS K, MALANGA C, SEELER AO, 1947 Survey of plants for antimalarial activity. Lloydia10:145-174.

19ABBOT B, LEITER J, HARTWELL JL, CALDWELL ME, BEAL JL, 1966 Screening data from the cancer chemotherapy national service center screening laboratories. XXXIV. Plant extracts. Cancer Res26:761-935.

20PATEL RP, TRIVEDI BM, 1962 The in vitro antibacterial activity of some medicinal oils. Indian J Med Res50:218.

21BOSE B, VIJAYVARGIYA R, SAIFI AQ, SHARMA SK, 1963 Chemical and pharmacological studies on Argemone mexicana. J PharmSc52:1172.

22BUI-TI-YU, SOKOLOV SD, 1973 The effect of alkaloids of Mexican Argemone on aseptic inflammation. Patol Fiziol Ekspter 17:57-59.

23CHAKRAVARTY N, CHAKRAVARTI RN, WERNER G, CHAUDHURI RN, 1954 Toxicity of Argemone alkaloids.Bull Calcutta Sch Trop Med 1:12.

24TRIPATHI K, VAISH SK, GUPTA S, UDUPA S, KAPIL R, 1979 Epidemic dropsy syndrome due to root of Argemone mexicana.Med Surg19(1/2):18-20.

25CHAUDHURI R, SAHA RN, 1955 Ascites produced in rats by Argemone alkaloids. Bull Calcutta Sch Trop Med3:22.

26DOBBIE G, LANGHAM ME, 1961 Reaction of animal eyes to sanguinarine and Argemone oil. Brit J Ophtalmol45:81-95.

27RUKMINI C, 1971 Sanguinarine potentiating factor in Argemone oil. Indian J Med Res59:1676.

28SINGH R, FARIDI MM, SINGH K, SIDDIQUI R, BHATT N, KARNA S, 1999 Epidemic dropsy in the eastern region of Nepal. J Trop Pediatr45(1):8-13.

29SHARMA K, PANWOGRA J, BANERJEE S, JAIN AK, MISRA SN, 1986 Epidemic dropsy in Rajasthan, clinical study. Indian J Nutr Diet23(2):41-44.

30UPRETI K, DAS M, KHANNA S, 1988 Biochemical toxicology ofArgemone alkaloids. III. Effect of lipid peroxidation in different subcellular fractions of the liver. Tetrahedron Lett42(3):301-308.

31UPRETI K, DAS M, KHANNA S, 1991 Biochemical toxicology ofArgemone oil. I. Effect on hepatic cytochrome P-450 and xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes. J Appl Toxicol11(3):203-209.

32DALVI R, 1985 Sanguinarine: its potential as a liver toxic alkaloid present in the seeds of Argemone mexicana.Experientia41(1):77-78.

33OLIVER-BEVER B, 1982 Medicinal plants in tropical West Africa. J Ethnopharmacol 5:1-71.

DISCLAIMER

The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.