Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya) : A Weed Having Great Therapeutic Values In Folk Remedies

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Herbs are vital source of drugs from the ancient time holding the scenario of the Indian system of medicine.

Among various, Argemone mexicana Linn. known as Ghamoya  is an indigenous herb found in India. It is a commonly occurring weed present in many regions of the country, being presence of many noxious constituents it is composition of many traditional remedies, The present paper enumerates the ethnopharmacognostic, ethnopharmacologic, traditional value and folk remedies of this herb, which will help the researchers to set their minds for approaching the utility, efficacy and potency of herb.


Ghamoya has occupied a pivotal position in Indian culture and folk medicine. It has been used in all most all the traditional system of medicine viz., ayurveda, unani and sidha. From the ancient time the tribal, rural and aboriginal people of our country commonly use this herb in various disorders. Ghamoya botanically known as Argemone mexicana Linn. family Papavaraceae . In the country it is known by different names such as: Hindi: Shialkanta, Satyanashi, Gujrati: Darudi, Danarese: Balurakkisa, Datturi, Pirangi, datturi, Marathi: Daruri, Firangi-kote-pavola, dhotara., Sanskrit: Brahmadandi, Pitopushpa, Srigalkanta, Svarnakshiri., Malyalam: Ponnummattu, Kantankattiri, Tamil: Kutiyotti, Ponnummuttai and Telugu: Brahmadandicettu. The wide therapeutic application of Weed can made researcher to study this plant in detail. The present paper enumerates all the various aspects of the Ghamoya.

Pharmacognosy of Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya):

It is a prickly, glabrous, branching herb with yellow juice and showy yellow flowers, The Sanskrit name svarnakshiri is given because of the yellow juice (Svarna - Gold; Kshiri - Juice ). The height of this plant varies between 0.3 to 0.12 meters, Leaves are thistle like. Stem clasping, Oblong, sinuately pinnatifid, spinous and viens are white. Flowers are terminal, yellow and of 2.5–5.0 cm diameter. Fruits are capsule. Prickly and oblong ovoid. Seeds numerous, globose, netted and brownish black. Flowering time is all round the year in Indian conditions. The plants is toxic to animals and cattle avoid grazing this plant. Harmful allelopathic effects of Argemone mexicana on germination and seedling vigour of wheat, mustard, fenugreek, sorghum, fingermillet, tomato, cucumber etc. (important crops in India ) have been reported. The allelochemicals cinnamic and benzoic acid are identified as harmful chemicals responsible for inhibition of germination and seedling vigor. Perennial growing to 0.6m by 0.45m. It is hardy to zone 8. It is in flower from June to August, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs). The plant is self-fertile. The plant prefers light (sandy) soils, requires well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Coarse erect herbs with milk sap and prickly stems and leaves; leaves somewhat irregularly pinnatilobed and serrate, glaucous, the edges crisped-undulate, each tooth spinose; flowers sessile, yellow, showy, up to 6 cm broad."  (Stone, 1970)"Annual herbs; stems 2.5-10 dm long, branched, sparsely to moderately covered with prickles.  Leaves glaucous, oblong-oblanceolate, pinnately lobed, 1/2-3/4 to midrib, both surfaces sparsely covered with prickles along veins, margins somewhat sinuate-dentate, the teeth tipped with a prickle, sessile, upper ones usually somewhat clasping the stem.  Buds subglobose, 1.2-1.6 cm long, sparsely prickly; sepal horns terete, 5-10 mm long; petals bright yellow, 1.7-3 cm long; stamens 30-50; ovary 4-6-carpellate.  Capsules oblong to broadly ellipsoid, 3-4.2 cm long, each valve with 9-15 prickles, the longest one 7-10 mm long.  Seeds numerous, 1.2-1.5 mm in diameter" 

Phytochemistry of Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya) :

The seeds contain 22-36% of a pale yellow non-edible oil, called argemone oil or katkar oil, which contains the toxic alkaloids sanguinarine and dihydrosanguinarine. The plant contains alkaloids as berberine, protopine, sarguinarine, optisine, chelerytherine etc. The seed oil contains myristic, palmitic, oleic, linoleic acids etc.

Part used:

Whole plant, Leaves, seeds, roots flowers, fruits. yellow juice, latex.

Medicinal Properties and Uses:

According to Ayurveda the plant is diuretic. purgative and destroys worms. It cures lepsory, skin-diseases, inflammations and bilious fevers. Roots are anthelmintic. Juice is used to cure ophthalmia and opacity of cornea. Seeds are purgative and sedative. Seeds resemble mustard seeds and in India it is used to adulterate mustard seed. Seed yield non edible toxic oil and causes lethal dropsy when used with mustard oil for cooking.

In Homoeopathic system of medicine, the drug prepared from this herb is used to treat the problem caused by tape-worm.

Medicinal Uses of Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya):

Analgesic; Antispasmodic; Antitussive; Demulcent; Emetic; Expectorant; Hallucinogenic; Purgative; Sedative; Skin; Warts. The whole plant is analgesic, antispasmodic, possibly hallucinogenic and sedative. The fresh yellow, milky, acrid sap contains protein-dissolving substances and has been used in the treatment of warts, cold sores, cutaneous affections, skin diseases, itches etc. The root is alterative and has been used in the treatment of chronic skin diseases. The flowers are expectorant and have been used in the treatment of coughs. The seed is demulcent, emetic, expectorant and laxative. An infusion, in small quantities, is used as a sedative for children, but caution is advised since the oil in the seed is strongly purgative. The seed has also been used as an antidote to snake poisoning. The oil from the seed is purgative. It has been used in the treatment of skin problems.

Methodology And Research Design

The present investigation was based on personal interview between author and tribes of the Rewa district of Madhya Pradesh from different study sites selected during July 2007-Dec 2007. Field and survey work was made after carefully planned field trips and data regarding the use of herb were collected as per plan suggested by eminent scholars. 

Folk Remedies And Traditional Values of Argemone Mexicana Linn. (Ghamoya):

All parts

  • Medicines: dropsy, swellings, oedema, gout; generally healing; kidneys, diuretics; liver, etc.; pain-killers; sedatives, etc.


  • Medicines: pulmonary troubles


  • Medicines: abortifacients, ecbolics; eye treatments; tumours, cancers

Root, flower, fruit

  • Products: household, domestic and personal items


  • Medicines: ear treatments

Sap, root

  • Medicines: cutaneous, subcutaneous parasitic infection
  • Drink: alcoholic, stimulant


  • Medicines: diarrhoea, dysentery; emetics; laxatives, etc.
  • Phytochemistry: fatty acids, etc.


  • Agri-horticulture: composting, manuring


  • Products: fuel and lighting

Whole plant

  • Medicines: venereal diseases

a) Latex is applied externally to treat Eczema.

b) Seeds grounded to a fine paste together with equal quantity of turmeric powder and the paste thus obtained is applied externally to treat Eczema, 'Odosmari

Results And Conclusions

Herbs are the natural drugs utilize to regain the alterations made in normal physiological system by foreign organism or by any malfunctioning of the body. In every ethnic group there exists a traditional health care system, which is culturally patterned. In rural communities health care seems to be the first and foremost line of defense. The WHO has already recognized the contribution of traditional health care in tribal communities. It is very essential to have a proper documentation of medicinal plants and to know their potential for the improvement of health and hygiene through an eco friendly system. Thus importance should be given to the potentiality of ethno medicinal studies as these can provide a very effective strategy for the discovery of useful medicinally active identity. A detailed and systematic study is required for identification, cataloguing and documentation of plants, which may provide a meaningful way for the promotion of the traditional knowledge of the herbal medicinal plants. The present study reveals that the weed ghamoya is used in treating various ailments and documents are their in the literature and the each part of the plant were used in treating some of the ailment. Therefore, the present work reveals all the aspects of the herbs and throws the attention to set the mind of the researchers to carry the work for developing various formulations, which are ultimately beneficial for the human kind.


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About Authors:

Dwivedi Sumeet, Dwivedi Abhishek, Kapadia Rakhi

Dwivedi Sumeet

Dwivedi Sumeet
Chordia Institute of Pharmacy, Indore, Madhya Pradesh-India

Dwivedi Abhishek

Dwivedi Abhishek
NRI Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh-India

Kapadia Rakhi

Kapadia Rakhi
Peoples Institute of Pharmacy and Research Centre,Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh-India

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