Chenopodium album L

[From Greek, cheen = goose and pous = foot and from Latin, albus = white]

Physical description: It is an invasive weed found in temperate countries, which grows to a height of 50 cm. The stems are glabrous, greenish and somewhat succulent. Leaves: simple, alternate and without stipules. The petiole is 1.5cm-5mm long, grooved and covered with microscopic cup-shaped scales. The blade is thick, 2.5 cm x 3.2 cm-1.8 cm x 7 mm, triangular, incised, and covered with microscopic cup-shaped scales. The base of the blade is acuminate, the midrib and secondary nerves are flat above and raised below, and the blade shows 35 pairs of secondary nerves. The inflorescences are axillary or terminal 2 cm long spikes. The flowers are 2 mm in diameter and comprise of 5 sepals, 5 stamens and a bifid style. The seeds are very small and black (Fig. 60).

Pharmaceutical interest: Chenopodium album L. contains saponins,

Uses: In Burma, a paste made from the root is used to stop diarrhea in children. In China, the seeds are eaten to expel intestinal worms and the juice of the fresh plant is applied externally to resolve sunburn. In Vietnam, the plant is used to treat putrefaction of the genitals.

Common names: Lamb's quarter, pigweed, all-good, fat hen, muck-weed chenopode sauvage (French); farinaccio (Italian); ceniglo blanco (Spanish); vastu (Sanskrit).

Fig. 60. Chenopodium album L. From: KLU Herbarium 15209. Geographical localization: Moss Side — Manchester (arable land, common) United Kingdom. Field collector & botanical identification: Wai Lu Lee, 2 Aug. 1971.

ascorbic acid (Guil JL etal., 1997; Lavaud C et al., 2000) and N-trans-feruloy l-4-O-methyldopamine which shows attracting activity toward the spores of Aphanomyces cochlioides, a fungus pathogenic for Chenopodium species (Takeshi H etal., 1993). An ethanol extract of the fruits of Chenopodium album L. given orally at doses of 100 mg/Kg-400 mg/Kg to mice dose-dependently inhibits itchiness induced by the subcutaneous injection of serotonine (Dai Y etal., 2002).


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