Eryngium foetidum

scientific name: 
Eryngium foetidum L.
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Biennial, tap-rooted, pungent herb. Leaves forming a basal rosette, oblanceolate, serrate-dentate, 30 cm x 4 cm; inflorescence widely spreading from the main shoot; flower heads cylindrical ca 1.5 cm long, green, subtended by a whorl of 5- 6 unequal bracts; fruits scaly, ca 2 mm long.







Jean Pierre,105,SLNH


entire plant, decoction or infusion, orally2,23,24


  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally3


  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally4


  leaf, decoction or infusion, orally5

chest pain, attacks:

  leaf, decoction, orally1

palpitations and tiredness:

  leaf, decoction, orally1

The leaf ofEryngium foetidum is widely used for human consumption.

For fever, flatulence, flu and vomiting:

Prepare a decoction or infusion with 20-30 grams (2-3 spoonfuls) of leaf in 1L (4 cups) of water.  For decoction, boil for at least 10 minutes in a covered pot.

For infusion, add boiling water to 20-30 grams (2-3 spoonfuls) of leaf, cover and leave to cool down.  Filter and drink 1 cup (250 mL) 3 times a day.

For chest pain and attacks, palpitations and tiredness:

There is no available information establishing a means of preparation and dosage other than that referred to by traditional use.

According to published and other information:

Use for fever is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, toxicity studies, scientific validation and available published scientific information.

Use for flatulence, flue, vomiting, chest pain and attacks, palpitations and tiredness is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use (OMS/WHO)4 documented in the TRAMIL surveys.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should fever or vomiting last more than 2 days, seek medical attention.

Not for use during pregnancy, during lactation or by children under 3 years old.

TRAMIL Research13

The LD50 of the leaf, administered orally to rat, is 11.12 ± 0.94 g/kg (weight stated in grams of dried vegetal material).

TRAMIL Research21

The lyophilized aqueous extract (decoction) from the entire frozen plant, administered orally (2 g/kg) to 20 male albino mice every day for 5 consecutive days per week for a total period of 70 days did not cause mortality.  However, 80% of mice showed several signes of toxicity: decline in the piloerection reflex 24 hours after treatment inception; lessening of front and rear prehensile activity and of alarm reaction after day 10; and inflamed eye and swelling of the neck after day 29.  All signs persisted until the end of the assay.  There was hypothermia in 50% of the mice.  There was no statistically relevant change in glycemia levels in blood or hematocrit change, nor was there any difference in glucose tolerance or insulin sensitivity between the treated group and the control group.

TRAMIL Research22

The lyophilized aqueous extract (decoction 70 mg/mL) from the entire plant and administered orally (1 g/kg/day/70 consecutive days) to 12 Hsd:ICR(CD-1) mice, (6 males and 6 females), according to the OECD 407 protocol, as modified by LEBi, caused neither mortality nor evident toxicity signs.  The vehicle control was distilled and de-ionized water (0.5 mL) on 12 mice of similar characteristics.  They were observed for the next 14 days.  After 84 days, no histopathological sign was observed in liver, lung, kidney or heart.

The toxicological studies of a plant extract in mice showed that the LD50 by intravenous administration is higher than 50 mg/kg and orally at 1 g/kg7.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The plant contains flavonoids, saponins, sterols, triterpenoids, tannins7; essential oil formed mainly by: dodec-trans-2-en-1-al (59%) and derivatives, 2,4,5-trimethyl trimethoxybenzaldehyde (37%) and derivatives, 2-methylcrotonic acid, cymenol, thymol, ferulol, coniferyl alcohol, limonene8.

The aerial parts are rich in calcium, iron, riboflavin and carotene9.

The leaf does not contain alkaloids10.

TRAMIL Research11

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the leaf (1:1) to albino rat previously treated with brewer’s yeast (15%) showed statistically significant antipyretic activity, compared to the control group that received dichlofenac,all administered subcutaneously.

TRAMIL Research12

The infusion prepared with the leaves (10%) and administered orally to rats showed antispasmodic activity.

TRAMIL Research13

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the dried leaf, administered orally (250 mg/kg) to Wistar male rats in the in vivo in the rat paw model of carrageenan-induced inflammation, andin the edema induced by topical application of tetradecanoylphorbol acetate (TPA) to the rat ear, and in the in vitro model of myeloperoxidase (MPO) enzyme inhibition. There was a reduction in the paw edema which was, however, less marked at a higher dosage, compared to the control group.  In the TPA and MPO assays, the inhibition was less significant but was dose-dependent.

The aqueous extract (decoction) from the aerial parts showed antimalarial activity in vitro on Plasmodium gallinaceum16 and P. falciparum (100 µg/mL)17, but did not inhibit the growth of Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi nor Shigella flexneri18.




1 OCAMPO R, 1988 Encuesta TRAMIL (Costa atlántica), Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario, Universidad de Costa Rica, San José, Costa Rica.

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

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

4LAGOS-WITTE S, 1988-1995 Encuestas TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Histología Vegetal y Etnobotánica, Departamento de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras UNAH, Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

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

6 WHO, 1991 Pautas para la evaluación de medicamentos herbarios WHO/TRM/91.4 (original inglés). Programa de Medicina Tradicional, OMS, Ginebra, Suiza.

7 FORGACS P, JACQUEMIN H, MORETTI C, PROVOST J, TOUCHE A, 1983 Etude phytochimique et activités biologiques de 18 plantes de la Guyane Française. Plantes Médicinales Phytothér 17(1):22-32.

8 WONG K, FENG M, SAM T, TAN G, 1994 Composition of the leaf and root oils of Eryngium foetidum L. J Essent Oil Res 6(4):369-374.

9 MUNSELL H, Williams LO, Guild LP, Troescher CB, Nightingale G, Harris RS, 1950 Composition of food plants of Central America. IV: El Salvador. Food Res15(4):263-296.


11 HERRERA J, 1992 Determinación de parámetros farmacológicos usados en medicina tradicional popular en la Cuenca del Caribe. Departamento de Farmacología, Facultad de Salud, Universidad del Valle, Cali, Colombia.

12 SARAVIA A, 1992 Estudios sobre plantas TRAMIL. Departamento de Farmacología, Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala, Guatemala.

13 GARCIA D, SAENZ T, 1995 Toxicidad aguda de algunas plantas TRAMIL. Informe TRAMIL. Farmacognosia, Facultad de Farmacia, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, España.

14 SIMON O, SINGH N, 1986 Demonstration of anticonvulsant properties of an aqueous extract of spirit weed (Eryngium foetidum). Wi Med J 35(2):121-125.

15 SAUVAIN M, 1989 Etude des plantes antiparasitaires du plancton des Guyanes en Amazonie: antipaludiques et antileishmanioses (Thèse de Doctorat).Université Paris-Sud, Paris, France.

16 CACERES A, SAMAYOA B, 1989 Tamizaje de la actividad antibacteriana de plantas usadas en Guatemala para el tratamiento de afecciones gastrointestinales. Guatemala, Guatemala: Dirección General de Investigaciones, Universidad de San Carlos (DIGI-USAC).

17 GARCIA GM, COTO MT, GONZÁLEZ CS, PAZOS L, 1996 Toxicidad sub-crónica, en ratones, del extracto acuoso de la planta entera de Eryngium foetidum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos LEBI, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

18 PAZOS L, COTO T, GONZALEZ S, QUIROS S, 2004 Toxicidad oral, subcrónica en ratones, dosis repetidas, del extracto acuoso de planta entera de Eryngium foetidum. Informe TRAMIL. Laboratorio de Ensayos Biológicos, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.

19 DELAIGUE J, 2005 TRAMIL survey. PRDI, Tobago House of Assembly, Scarborough, Tobago.

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


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.