Pupalia lappacea is a variable plant that is grown annually or perennially. It has stems ranging from 50 – 200cm in length. It belongs to the family Amaranthaceae. These stems are less woody at the base. Morphologically, the plant is sometimes erect, prostrate or sprawling. The plant’s leaves and stem can be used as medicine. The leaves are edible but must be harvested for food after watering the plant. Pupalia lappacea is indeed an all in one plant because it’s use touches every sphere of life viz:

1. To treat Infections and diseases
2. As food
3. For beautification of our skin
4. It adds an aesthetic colour to our environment
5. It is used to treat constipation


The botanical name is Papulia lappacea. Common names are forest burr, creeping cock’s comb.


Igbo : Ose, oso
Yoruba : emo agbo
Bassa-Nge- mama-agbo
Hausa : marin-kasu



1. it is used as food when added with groundnut or coconut milk and eaten with rice.
2. It is used for scarifying the skin
3. The forest burr plant is believed to be an indicator of the fertility of the soil in any area where it is grown.
4. When applied externally, the leaves are mixed with palm oil to treat boils.
5. It is used as an antitusive especially by pregnant women
6. It is used in management of diabetes because it has an hypoglycemic effect
7. It is used in treatment of wounds and cut as a traditional first aid therapy.
8. It is used for its aesthetics value in any environment it is found.

The forest burr herb contains alkaloids and some bio – molecules that potentates a hypoglycemic effect in the body, hence it is used for management of diabetes. It also compounds with anti bacterial properties thus it is used for treatment of cuts, wounds. It contains an antihistamine agent, hence it is used for treatment of stubborn coughs. It contains an anti oxidant that helps eliminates dangerous free radicals from our circulatory system (A. A felix et al, antioxidant activity of papulia lappacea, research Journal of biological sciences, vol 13).

The forest burr plant has been said to cause colic in Somalia if it is eaten prior watering so ensure it is watered before its harvest and consumption. The flower head is an ingredient of rat poison in Nigeria. The leaves are anti diabetic, diuretic and febrifuge. On histological analysis, the forest burr plant has been found to lack toxic compounds especially when it is harvested and consumed after watering.


The immense benefits of the pupalia lappacea is limitless. From its use to treat chronic cough, dysenteriferous diarrhoea and oedema to its use for scarying the skin, lower blood glucose and treat boils it is at ease that researchers chose to call it the “all in one plant”.



1. H. fatima, B. M Reddy. “Evaluation of antinocieptive and antipyretic effects of pupalia lappacea juss “, international current pharmaceutical Journal, vol 2, no 2, pp 23-28., 2013.

2. A. A felix, O. A. Domingo. “Anti oxidant activity and chemical constituent of pupalia lappacea”. Research Journal of biological sciences, vol 3, no 7, pp 783 – 788, 2008.

3. A. Ravi , M. Alvala et al.  ” Anti cancer activity of pupalia luppacea on chronic myeloid leukemia K562 cells “, DARU Journal of pharmaceutical sciences, vol 20, no 1, article 86, 2012.

4. Vick kamar, et al. ” Biological evaluation of pupalia lappacea for antidiabetic, antiadipogenic and hypolipidemic activity both in vitro and in vivo “. Hindawi Journal scientifica, 2016.

5. Prasad .P., Naidu et al. “Evaluation of wound healing potential of different leaf extract of pupalia lappacea “. Academic Journals,  p- 11, 2014.

6. L. B. Kagale et al. ” The antipodals of pupalia lappacea juss ” current science, vol 6, no 5, pages 222, 1937.

7. S. T. Tanson.  ” Naturally occurring polyploidy in pupalia leppacea”.  Current science, vol 31, no 6, pages 252 – 254, 1962.

8. Harder Singh. ” A new aerial host of pupalia Lappacea. ” Current science vol 31, No 12, pages 521- 522, 1962.

9. Dr amehs G. ” The hypoglycemic effect of the Forest Burr plant. “Indian Journal of pharmaceutical science, vol 5, pages 115 -119, 2011.

10. Anthony. C et al.  ” The pupalia lappacea plant: uses and toxicology”.  Pakistani newsletter of science, vol 51, pages 65- 69.



Ricinus communis plant is also called the castor oil plant . It is a fast growing evergreen herbaceous and semi woody large shrub that is native to mid -east Africa and northeast Africa.It’ s also cultivated here in Nigeria. It has vast uses ranging from its antitusive property, relieve of severe constipation, expulsion of worm infestation, treatment of skin disorders and management of arthritis. As effective as this castor oil plant derivatives, it must be taken in appropriate prescribed doses.

kingdom : Plantae
Order : Malphighiales
Family : Euphorbiacaeae

BOTANICAL NAME: Ricinus communis Linn.


IGBO : Ogiri igbo.
HAUSA: Cika_ gidaa

ENGLISH NAME : Castor oil plant, castor bean.


Castor oil plant has different parts viz the roots, leaf, seed and oil which potentate various medicinal uses traditionally.

1. The root of castor oil plant is used for the treatment of nervous diseases and rheumatism.
2. The oil of castor plant is used as a strong laxative, diuretic and for treatment of severe constipation.
3. The oil of castor plant is used to relieve boils and skin related diseases
4. The oil of castor plant is usually massage on the breasts of lactating mothers to increase milk let out (milk flow).
5. The seed of castor oil plant is used for birth control.
6. The leaf of the castor plant is used to treat severe cough.
7. The oil of castor plant is used to improve hair growth.
8. The leaf of castor plant is used to treat delayed, painful or obstructed menstruation
9. The seed of castor plant is a natural contraceptive
10 . The oil of the castor plant has anti bacterial properties


The seed of the castor plant is highly toxic due to its ricin content. Thus for purification of these seeds to reduce its toxicity, it is fermented in coconut water for 3 hours then they are washed and dried for use. It’s fatal dose is usually between 5- 10 seeds daily.


1. The ricin content in the castor seed causes nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, seizures and hypotension.
2. The oleic acid and linoleic acid content of the castor plant prevents inflammation and treats rheumatism.
3. The ricinoleic acid content help treat delayed, painful and obstructive menstruation.
4. Castor oil leaf acts as galactogogues to stimulate milk secretion.
5. Its fatty acid oils help to increase milk quantity in breast feeding mothers.
6. The methanolic extract of castor plant contains steroids, flavonoids and alkaloids that confers an antinocieptive activity (treatment for inflammation and management of pain)
7. The ethanolic root extract containing saponine confers its anti asthmatic property
8. The ethanolic extract of the leaves of the castor plant contains flavonoids that have hepato-protective activity.
9. The oleic fatty oils in the castor oil boost immune system by increasing the production of lymphocytes that improves circulatory and digestive systems.


From the discourse above it is clearly evident that castor oil plant confers potential health benefits when used at appropriately prescribed doses.


1. Khogali A, Barakat S, Abou-Zeid H. “Isolation and identification of the phenolics from Ricinus communis L.” . Delta J. Sci. 16, 198–211, 1992.

2. T. Isam, A. Gupta, et al, “Assessment of antibacterial potential of the ricinus communis leaves”. International Journal of pharmaceutical science and research, 2010.

3. R. E. Ucheya, Osaji Chukwuma. The effects of the methanolic extract of ricinus communis on the liver of adult wistar rats. Nigerian Journal of Medical sciences ,vol 12, pages 235-237, 2009.

4. Taur D. J., Patil R. Y. “Antiasthmatic activity of Ricinus communis L. Roots. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine S13-S16, 2011.

5. Salem G. , Ahmad S., et al. Incredible potential of castor oil. world Journal of pharmaceutical science, 1995.

6. Richard G., et al. pharma research: medicinal importance of ricinus communis seed “, 2003 , www.pharmaresearchlibrary.com

7. Vikram Chauham. Castor plant planet Ayurveda.The Ayurvedic Pharmacopiea of India, Part – 1, Vol – III, Pg 49- 50, 2017.

8. Dr. H. Anthens. 19 Ricinus communis health benefits and medicinal uses , 2018 . Drhealthbenefits.com.

9. Diana Kaniecki. Medicinal purpose of castor oil seed, 2017.www.livestrong.com

10. Ricinus communis : the phytopharmacological review, 2016. www.researchgate.com

11. Ricinus communis. Wikipedia, 2018.

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