Chenopodium ambrosioides

scientific name: 
Chenopodium ambrosioides L.
synonym: 
Teloxys ambrosioides (L.) W. A. Weber
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Bushy taprootedherb, erect, up to 1.5 m, highly aromaticwith a strong garlic-like smell. Lower leaves, sinuate-dentate, 5-8 cm x 1-2cm, upper leaves smaller with smooth margin; inflorescences are cymes, flowers clustered, greenish, perianth 1 mm long; fruit a utricle, seeds red-brown, smooth, ovoid 0.7-0.8 mm long.

Voucher(s)

Cénesca,38&40,SOE Cogollo,21892,CUVC Girón,228,CFEH Delaigue,6,NHTT Delens,3&300,VEN Giménez,275675-05,VEN Jiménez,1511,JBSD Medina&Méndez,14,CICY Suazo&Cardona,19,HPMHV Merlo&Tinoco,17,HPMHV Longuefosse&Nossin,11,HAVPM Rueda,1644,HULE

cutaneous ulcers:

  aerial parts, crushed, applied locally4

diarrhoea:

  leaf and/or aerial parts, infusion or decoction, orally1-2

stomach pain:

  aerial parts, infusion or decoction, orally1,3-4

intestinal parasites:

aerial parts, infusion or decoction, orally2,5-13,49-50,52

For intestinal parasites, diarrhea and stomach pain caused by parasites:

prepare a decoction or infusion with 7 grams of aerial parts (leaf, flower, stem) in 300 mL (more than 1 cup) of water.  For decoction, boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot; for infusion, add boiling water to 7 grams of aerial parts, cover and leave to cool down during 10 minutes.  Strain and drink 1 cup (250 mL) for adults, 1/2 cup (125 mL) for people weighing 35 kg, and 1/3 cup (80 mL) for children over 5 years.  Drink once a day only for 3 consecutive days46 and do not repeat treatment within six months.

Taking a saline laxative is recommended (e.g. magnesium sulfate) after the last intake; however, no oily purgatives should be taken14.

For skin ulcer:

Wash the injury with purified water and soap.  Wash the aerial plant parts properly, press or crush, and apply to affected area.  Cover with a clean cloth and replace twice a day.

According to published and other information:

Use for diarrhea, stomach pain and intestinal parasites, is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on available published scientific information.

In no case should the specified manner of preparation and dosage be altered.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should the diarrhea or stomach pain last more than 3 days, or more than 2 days in children over 5 years old, medical attention should be sought.

For diarrhea, this resource is considered complementary to oral re-hydration therapy.

Use for diarrhea, stomach pain and intestinal parasites is recommended only when disorder is caused by ascaris, pinworms and hookworms; not for other types of diarrhoea, stomach pain or other intestinal parasites.

Use is contraindicated in individuals with hepatic disorders, renal insufficiency14, weakened individuals and the elderly.

Not for use by women during pregnancy, as it may be abortifacient, or during breast feeding or by children under 5 years old.

Use for skin ulcer is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys and skin toxicity assays.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should the skin ulcer last more than 5 days, medical attention should be sought for.

In topical application, strict hygiene measures should be observed in order to avoid contamination or additional infection.

TRAMIL Research15

The lethal dose of ascaridol estimated based on its concentration in the essential oil was 0.075 mL/kg in mouse.

TRAMILResearch37

The essential oil applied to the skin of 18 clinically healthy young and adult male albino rabbits did not report signs of toxicity with readings at 24 and 72 hours.

TRAMILResearch47-48

A decoction of the fresh leaves at 30% (0.6 mL, equivalent to 180 mg of fresh plant material) and the pulped fresh leaf were applied topically to an area of approximately 6 cm2 of the skin of male New Zealand rabbits. The compress was removed after 4 hours and observations made of the erythema and edoema after 24, 48 and 72 hours.  No clinical signs were observed, signifying that the fresh crushed leaf and its decoction may be considered non-irritant.

TRAMILResearch51 (will be translatedin 3rd Edition)

Las partes aéreas (infusión y decocción por separado), administradas vía oral (5000 mg/kg/día) a 10 ratones Hsd: ICR (CD-1) de 24.68 ± 1.85 g (5 machos y 5 hembras) durante 5 días con 12 días adicionales de observación, según el protocolo EPA.OPPTS 870.1100. El control se realizó con agua (0.4 mL/20g de ratón) a otros 10 ratones de la misma cepa y características. Durante el ensayo ni en el periodo de observación posterior, se presentó mortalidad, ni se evidenció ningún signo de toxicidad (Test Polidimensional de Irwing). No se observaron cambios en los pesos corporales más que los normales en la curva de crecimiento. La autopsia macroscópica no evidenció alteraciones en los órganos. 

The aqueous extract from the aerial parts, applied subcutaneously (10 mg/kg) once a week for 76 weeks to female rats, increased the tumor growth ratio (5:15).  Applied for 37 weeks to male rats, it also increased the tumor growth ratio (11:15)31.

The essential oil administered orally reported LD50 = 0.38 mL/kg in mice and LD50 = 0.255 g/kg in rats38.

In an acute general toxicity study of the aqueous alcoholic extract (50%) from the entire plant, by intraperitoneal administration, in mouse gave an LD50 above 1 g/kg39.

The essential oil may cause toxic effects, particularly in weakened individuals, such as nausea, vomiting, depression of the nervous system, liver and kidney damage, deafness, sight disorders, cardiac and respiratory problems14,40.  The administration to an adult of a single oral dose of 5 mL has been reported as fatal40.

The literature cites numerous cases of human poisoning caused by the intake of the essential oil, some of which have caused mortality41-45.

There is no available information documenting the safety of use in children or in nursing mothers.

TRAMIL Research15

The amount of essential oil in the plant grown in dry regions is lower (0.55 mL/50 g dried plant) than in humid regions (0.77 mL/50 g dried plant).

All parts of the plant are rich in an essential oil called chenopodium oil or wormseed oil.  The leaf and inflorescence contain 0.35%, the fruit 0.6 to 3%.  Numerous studies have been performed on the composition of this essential oil, whose main constituents are: monoterpenes: ascaridol (terpenic peroxide, representing 42 to 90% of the essence), ascaridol-glycol, aritasone, b-pinene, limonene, myrcene, cymene, phellandrene, camphor, a-terpinene, a-terpineol, associated with small quantities of methyl salicylate and butyric acid16-17.

The aerial parts contain flavonoids, and citric, tartaric and succinic acids18.

The root contains triterpenic heterosides18.

The fruit contains flavonoids: quercetin, kaempferol and derivatives, iso-rhamnetin19.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of leaf20: calories: 44; water: 87.4%; protein: 1.6%; fat: 0.2%; carbohydrates: 7.6%; fiber: 1.3%; ash: 2.4%; calcium: 340 mg; phosphorus: 52 mg; iron: 5.2 mg; carotene: 2420 µg; thiamine: 0.06 mg; riboflavin: 0.28 mg; niacin: 0.60 mg; ascorbic acid: 11 mg.

TRAMIL Research21

The aqueous extract from the leaf (25 and 100 mg/kg) administered orally to Wistar rats with pylorus ligation (Shay model) significantly diminished the number of gastric ulcers and the ulceration ratio, with no changes either in gastric fluid volume or in free acid quantity.

The aqueous extract from the dried leaf (200 µL/disk) showed activity in vitro against Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus vulgaris and Staphylococcus albus22.

The aerial parts showed activity in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum23.

The hydroalcoholic extract (50%) from dried aerial parts, by intraperitoneal administration to mice (1 g/kg) and in vitro, showed antimalarial activity against Plasmodium berghei (100 µg/mL) and insecticidal activityon Luptzomyia longipalpis (1 g/L)24.

Others effects are summarized in the following table.

Table 1. Biological activity of Chenopodium ambrosioides essential oil.

Effect

Dose

Type of test

(and animal used)

Activity

References

Antibacterial

not specified

in vitro (Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus)

active

Ross25

Anthelmintic

0.1 g/kg

in vivo (dogs)

Toxocara canis

active

Butz26

Anthelmintic

1 mL/animal

in vivo(dogs)

active

Bliss27

Anthelmintic

1.5 mL/person

in vivo(i.v. humans)

active

Fernan-Núñez28

Antifungal

1000 ppm

in vitro(Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Absidia ramosa, Microsporum gypseum)

very active

Kishore29

Antimalarial

not specified

in vitro(Plasmodium vivax)

active

Teng30

Carcinogenic

10 mg/kg

in vivo (rats)

active

Kapadia31

Cardiac depressant

not specified

in vivo(frogs)

active

Salan32

Hypotensive

0.02 mL/kg

in vivo (dogs, cats, rabbits)

active

Salan33

Muscular relaxant

not specified

in vivo(dogs, cats, rabbits)

active

Salan34

An etnopharmacological study reported the use of the decoction or infusion (300 mg/kg of dry plant) of the inflorescence and leaf, in adults, as effective for the treatment of ascaridiasis.  A field clinical study in adults (6 g/kg) did not report effectiveness against Necator americanus, Trichuris trichiura and Ascaris lumbricoides.  The relief that is traditionally cited may be associated with the expulsion of senescent worms after treatment35.

The aerial parts are claimed to have anthelmintic activity, especially against ascaris and hookworms, and to be less effective against pinworms14.

The essential oil by oral administration to human adults is thought to have anthelmintic effects36.

The anthelmintic active principle (ascaridol) contained in the essential oil has paralyzing and narcotic effects on ascaris, pinworms and ancylostomas, but is not effective against tapeworms and trichocephalus26-28.

References:  

1 GIRON L, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Centro Mesoamericano de Tecnología CEMAT, Guatemala, Guatemala.

2 DELENS M, 1990-92 Encuesta TRAMIL. Centro de Estudios Sociales y Acción Popular CESAP, Caracas, Venezuela.

3 CHARLES C, 1988 TRAMIL survey. Movement for Cultural Awareness MCA, Roseau, Dominica.

4 WENIGER B, 1987-88 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

5 HERRERA J,1994 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica). Laboratorio de fitofarmacología, Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

6 MENDEZ M, MEDINA ML, DURAN R, 1996 Encuesta TRAMIL en Quintana Roo. Unidad de recursos naturales, Centro de Investigación Científica de Yucatán CICY, Mérida, México.

7 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

8 LAGOS-WITTE S, 1988-89, 1996 Encuesta TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Histología Vegetal y Etnobotánica, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

9 LONGUEFOSSE JL, NOSSIN E, 1990-95 Enquête TRAMIL. Association pour la valorisation des plantes médicinales de la Caraïbe AVPMC, Fort de France, Martinique.

10 SOTOMAYOR U, RUEDA R, 1990 Encuesta TRAMIL. Centro nacional de la medicina popular tradicional CNMPT, Ministerio de Salud, Estelí, Nicaragua.

11 SolIs PN, Espinosa A, De Gracia J, Martínez L, Gupta MP, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (Ngöbe-Buglé). Centro de Investigaciones Farmacognósticas de la Flora Panameña, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá, Panamá.

12 SolIs PN, Espinosa A, De Gracia J, Martínez L, Gupta MP, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (Emberá-Wounaann). Centro de Investigaciones Farmacognósticas de la Flora Panameña, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Panamá, Panamá, Panamá.

13 GOMEZ H, GAITAN R, DIAZ F, 2003 Encuesta TRAMIL (Norte del departamento de Bolívar). Grupo de Productos Naturales, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacéuticas. Universidad de Cartagena, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.

14 CANIGUERAL S, VILA R, RISCO E, PEREZ F, PORTILLO A, FREIXA B, MILO B, VANACLOCHA B, RIOS JL, MORALES MA, ALONSO JR, BACHILLER LI, PERIS JB, STUBING G, 2002 Quenopodio. Vademecum de Fitoterapia, Barcelona, España, Editorial Masson. Nov.20,2003. URL: http://www.masson.es/book/fitoterapia.html

15 BOURGEOIS P, JOSEPH H, SAVARY H, 1989 Détermination d'huiles essentielles et dosage de l'ascaridole dans Chenopodium ambrosioides. Rapport TRAMIL. Laboratoire de phytochimie, Faculté des Sciences, Université des Antilles et de la Guyane UAG, Pointe à Pitre, Guadeloupe.

16 TAKEMOTO T, NAKAJIMA T, 1957 Study of the essential oils of Chenopodium ambrosioides. V. On the structure of aritasone. Yakugaru Zasshi 77:1157-1158.

17 BAUER L, BRASIL E, SILVA GA, 1973 Essential oils of Chenopodium ambrosioides and Schinus terebenthifolia from Rio Grande do Sul. Rev Brasil Farm 54:240.

18 ARISAWA M, MINABE N, SAEKI R, TAKAKUWA T, NAKAOKI T, 1971 Studies on unutilized resources. V. The components of the flavonoids in Chenopodium genus plants. Yagugaku Zasshi 91:522.

19 JAIN N, LAM MS, KAMIL M, ILYAS M, NIWA M, SAKAE A, 1990 Two flavonol glycosides fromChenopodium ambrosioides.Phytochemistry 29(12):3988-3991.

20 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p41.

21 CAMBAR P, 1988 Prevención de la producción de úlceras gástricas experimentales por algunos extractos de plantas. Informe TRAMIL. Unidad de Farmacología, Facultad de Ciencias Médicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

22 DESTA B, 1993 Ethiopian traditional herbal drugs. Part II: Antimicrobial activity of 63 medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 39(2):129-139.

23SAUVAIN M, MORETTI C, MUÑOZ V, 1990 Pruebas in vivo para paludismo realizadas en Bolivia sobre varias plantas TRAMIL. ORSTOM, Universidad Mayor de San Simón, La Paz, Bolivia.

24 MISRA P, PAL N, GURU P, katiyar JC, TANDON JS, 1991 Antimalarial activity of traditional plants against erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium berghei. Int J Pharmacog29(1):19-23.

25 ROSS SA, EL-KELTAWI NE, MEGALLA SE, 1980 Antimicrobial activity of some Egyptian aromatic plants. Fitoterapia51:201-205.

26 BUTZ LN, LA LANDE JR, 1937 Antihelmintics II. A comparison of certain ozonides, Chenopodium oil and diheptanol peroxide. J Am Pharm Assoc 26:114.

27 BLISS AR, 1925 A pharmacodynamic study on the antihelmintic properties of two oils of Chenopodium. J Am Pharm Assoc14:93.

28 FERNAN-NUÑEZ M, 1927 A contribution of helmintic therapy. J Amer Med Assoc88:903.

29 KISHORE N, DUBEY NK, SINGH SK, DIXIT SN, 1981 Fungitoxicity of some volatile natural products against human pathogenic fungi. Indian Perf 25(3/4):1-3.

30 TENG X, 1980 Development of natural products as antimalarial agents. Proc US-China Pharmacology Symp:137-141.

31 KAPADIA GJ, CHUNG EB, GHOSH B, SHUKLA YN, BASAK SP, MORTON JF, PRADHAN SN, 1978 Carcinogenicity of some folk medicinal herbs in rats. J Nat Cancer Inst60:683-686.

32 SALAN W, LIVINGSTONE AE, 1916 Experiments with oil of Chenopodium and cardiac stimulants on the isolated frog heart. Amer J Physiol 41:21.

33 SALAN W, LIVINGSTONE AE, 1915 Experiments with oil of Chenopodium on circulation and respiration. Amer J Physiol38:67.

34 SALAN W, MITCHELL C, 1915 Influence of oil of Chenopodium on intestinal contractility. Amer J Physiol39:37.

35 KLIKS MM, 1985 Studies on the traditional herbal antihelmintic Chenopodium ambrosioides L.: ethnopharmacological evaluation and clinical field trials. Soc Sci Med 21(8):879-886.

36 feroz h, khare ak, srivastava mc, 1982 Review of scientific studies on anthelmintics from plants.J Sci Res Pl Med3:6-12.

37 GONZALEZ A, 1990 Evaluación de la toxicidad dérmica de plantas TRAMIL en conejos. Centro Nacional de Salud Animal, La Habana, Cuba. TRAMIL III, La Habana, Cuba, MINSAP/enda-caribe.

38 OPDYKE DLJ, 1976 Monographs on fragance raw materials. Chenopodium oil. Food Chem Toxicol 14:713-715.

39 BHAKUNI OS, DHAR ML, DHAR MM, DHAWAN BN, MEHROTRA BN, 1969 Screening of Indian plants for biological activity. Part II. Indian J Exp Biol 7:250-262.

40 MOLE A, 1952 Acute fatal poisoning with Chenopodium oil. Folia Med (Naples) 35:955.

41 WOLF IJ, 1932 Fatal poisoning with oil of Chenopodium in a negro child with sickle-cell anemia. Arch Pediatr52:126.

42 CONTRERAS AA, ZOLLA C, 1982 Plantas tóxicas de México.México, México: Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social.

43 JELLIFFE DB, 1951 Oil of Chenopodium in the treatment of ascariasis. Report of 3 cases of fatal liver damage in African patients. J Trop Med Hyg54:143.

44 MELE A, 1952 Acute poisoning with Chenopodium oil. Folia Med35:955.

45 ANDRIEN J, PARMENTIER PD, COMPERE J, BOUNAMEAUX Y, 1971 Study on Chenopodium oil encephalitis. Three fatal cases. A Soc Belge Med Trop51:299.

46DELENS M, Ed., 2000 Cuaderno de Fitoterapia Clínica (Afecciones respiratorias y digestivas). Mérida, Venezuela: CONAPLAMED. p151.

47 LOPEZ M, MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FERRADA C, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Irritabilidad dérmica primaria de una decocción de hoja fresca de Chenopodium ambrosioides L. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cerro, C. Habana, Cuba.

48 LOPEZ M, MARTINEZ MJ, MOREJON Z, BOUCOURT E, FERRADA C, FUENTES V, MORON F, 2005 Irritabilidad dérmica primaria hoja fresca machacada de Chenopodium ambrosioides L. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio Central de Farmacología, Facultad de Medicina “Dr. Salvador Allende”, Cerro, C. Habana, Cuba.

49 DELAIGUE J, 2005 TRAMIL survey. UAG & PRDI, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough, Tobago.

50 Zambrano LE, 2007 Encuesta TRAMIL en Guareguare, Miranda. UCV, Caracas, Venezuela.

51 PAZOS L, COTO T, CAIZA F, 2009

Toxicidad oral aguda, dosis repetida, en ratón, partes aéreas de Chenopodium ambrosioides. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, LEBi, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

52 LOPEZ DE GUIMARAES D, NEYRA LLANOS RS, ROMERO ACEVEDO JH, 2001 Ascariasis; comparación de la eficacia terapéutica entre paico y albendazol en niños de Huaraz. Rev Gastroenterol Peru 21(3):212-219.

53 MACDONALD D, VANCREY K, HARRISON P, RANGACHARI PK, ROSENFELD J, WARREN C, SORGER G, 2004 Ascaridole-less infusions of Chenopodium ambrosioides contain a nematocide(s) that is(are) not toxic to mammalian smooth muscle. J Ethnopharmacol 92:215–221.

54 GADANOA AB, GURNI AA, CARBALLO MA, 2006 Argentine folk medicine: Genotoxic effects of Chenopodiaceae family. J Ethnopharmacol 103:246–251.

55 BOULOGNE I, 2009          

Enquête TRAMIL, (Terre-de-Bas et Terre-de-Haut) Les Saintes, UAG, Guadeloupe.

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.