- Euphorbiarceae, the spurge family, consists of tive subfamilies, 49 tribes, about 7300 species and 283 genera of flowering plants.
- The largest genus of the family is Euphorbianwth about 1600 species, with 5 reported species in the Philippines.
- Euphorbia is named after the Greek surgeon Euphorbus, supposed to have used the milky latex as a potion ingredient.
Soro-soro is an erect, shrubby, branched, fleshy, cactus-like plant growing to 2 to 4 meters.
Trunk and older branches are grayish and cylindric; medium branches
slightly twisted and stout, fleshy, 4- or 5-angled or winged, the younger ones usually 3-winged, the wings lobulate, with a pair of stout, sharp, 2- to 4-millimeter long spines rising from the thickened bases of each leaf or petiole-scar. Leaves, arising from the sides of wings towards the end of the branches, are fleshy, oblong-obovate, 5 to 15 centimeters long; in young plants, longer
pointed or blunt at the tip. Cymes are short, solitary in the sinuses, and usually of 3 involucres. Involucres are green or pale yellow, about 6 millimeters in diameter, with the lobes fimbriate.
- Cultivated in gardens
as a hedge plant.
- Nowhere spontaneous.
- Also occurs in India to Malaya.
- Studies have yielded euphorbon, resin, gun caoutchouc, malate of calcium,
- Phytochemical studies have yielded triterpenes like nerifolione, cycloartenol, euphol, euphorbiol, nerifoliene, taraxerol, ß-amyrin among others.
- Study isolated a new triterpene from the leaves and stems of Euphorbia neriifolia – glut-5(10)-en-1-one. (4)
- Fresh latex yields 10.95% solid with 18.32% total resinous matter, and 24.50% and 16.23% of total diterpene and triterpene respectively.
- Phytochemicals yielded steroidal saponin, reducing sugar, tannins, flavonoids in the crude extract.
- Phytochemically analysis of leaves yielded flavonoids, phlobatannins, saponin, tannins, cardenoloids, phenol, and terpenoids. (see study below) (18)
- Study of an ethanol leaf extract isolated a new flavonoid: 2-(3,4-dihydroxy-5-methoxy-phenyl)-3,5-dihydroxy-6,7-dimethoxychromen-4-one. (see study below) (21)
- Study isolated eighteen new diterpenoids, names eurifoloids A-R (1-18) including ingenane (1 and 2), abietane (3-7), isopimarane (8-12) and ent-atisane (13-18) types, along with four known analogues. (see study below) (22)
- Considered purgative, rubefacient,
- Leaves considered diuretic.
- Root is considered antiseptic.
- Latex considered purgative, diuretic, vermifuge and antiasthma.
- Studies have reported cytotoxic, antiarthritic, anti-inflammatory, wound healing and immunomodulatory properties.
- Leaves, roots and
- Roots have been used for
- Fluid from roasted leaves used for earache.
- The milky juice used for asthma, cough, earache. Also, used as an insecticide.
- Mixed with Margosa oil and applied to limbs in rheumatism.
- Tumeric powder mixed with the juice applied to piles. Thread steeped in the same mixture used for ligaturing external hemorrhoids.
- Milky juice used internally as purgative; rubefacient, externally. Applied to glandular swellings to prevent suppuration.
- Externally, applied to sores, cysts, warts, and calluses.
- Used as a drastic purgative.
- For internal use: decoction or infusion of 10 grams for 1 liter of water,
2-3 cups daily.
- Juice of leaves used for spasmodic asthma.
- Leaves used as diuretic.
- In India, used for bronchitis, tumors, leukoderma, piles, inflammation, fever, earaches, anemia and ulcers.
- In Malaya, used for earache.
- In French Guiana, leaves
are heated, squeezed, and the salted sap used for wheezing in babies,
colds and stomach upsets. Also used for infected nails, fevers, coughs
and diabetes in NW Guyana.
- In Ayurveda, whole plant, leaf and roots used for abdominal complaints, bronchitis, tumors, splenic enlargement, coughs and colds.
• Anesthetic Activity / Stems: Both the alcoholic and aqueous extracts from the fresh stem of E neriifolia revealed significant anesthetic activity on intradermal wheal in guinea-pig and foot-withdrawal reflex in frog. (1)
• Radioprotective / Cytotoxic / Leaves: Study isolated Euphol from the triterpenoidal sapogenin fraction of E neriifolia leaf which exerted moderate antioxidant activity with highly significant reduction of gamma radiation-induced chromosomal aberrations. It also showed cytotoxic activity on melanoma cell lines. Results provide scientific basis for claimed anticarcinogenic use. (2)
• Wound Healing: In a research for wound healing drugs, E neriifolia was one of the Ayurvedic medicinal plants from Ayurvedic medicinal plants found to be effective in animal models. (3)
• Wound Healing / Latex: Aqueous extract of latex of E. neriifolia in surgically produced cutaneous wounds in guinea pig exhibited a facilitation of the healing process as evidenced by an increase in tensile strength, DNA content, epithelization and angiogenesis. (7)
• Antifungal: Study on the antifungal activity of ethanolic extracts of medicinal plants against Fusarium oxysporum showed various extracts with inhibition of mycelial growth. However, the bark of E neriifolia exhibited absolute toxicity against the test fungus. (5)
• Dermal Irritant / Anti-Inflammatory / Latex: The presence of polycyclic diterpene esters in Euphorbia plants sap makes it highly irritant and corrosive causing skin burning, a property that discourages it use despite its many therapeutic potentials. Study of topical latex showed anti-inflammatory activity attributed to the presence of triterpenes euphol, nerifoliol, and cycloartenol. (8)
• Chemoprotective Against Liver Carcinogenesis: In a study of DENA-induced liver cancer in mice, EN extract significantly restored the antioxidant enzyme level in the liver and exhibited significant dose-dependent protective effect against DENA induced liver toxicity, mainly attributed to the antioxidant property of the extract. (9)
• Free Radical Scavenging / Antioxidant: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves showed EN 0ssesses antioxidant properties and could serve as free radical inhibitors or scavengers. (10)
• Psychopharmacological Effects: Leaf extract of EN significantly reduced apomorphine-induced stereotype in mice, devoid of cataleptic effect, suggesting a specific dopaminergic receptor modulating activity. Results indicated anti-anxiety, anti-psychotic, and anticonvulsant activity of the leaf extract in mice and rats. Phytochemicals yielded steroidal saponin, reducing sugar, tannins, flavonoids in the crude extract. (11)
• Hepatoprotective: Study of a saponin fraction isolated from the leaf of E. neriifolia on CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rat showed hepatoprotection comparable to silymarin. (12)
• Renoprotective: Study evaluated the tissue protective effect of an isolated flavonoid and hydroalcoholic extract of E. neriifolia leaves against N-nitrosodiethylamine (DENA) induced renal carcinoma in albino mice. Results showed highest renal-protective activity among all the pretreatment groups. (15)
• Diuretic / Leaves: Study evaluated the diuretic effect of a leaf extract of Soro-soro. Results showed a diuretic effect, more effective with higher concentrations, and more significant than control Diuspec. (16)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated a leaf extract against bacterial isolates: Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris and Pseudomonas fluroscens. Maximum activity was noted in the chloroform extract against P. vulgaris followed by the ethanol extract against K. pneumonia. Results support the local use of the leaf for wound healing. (see constituents above. (18)
• Subacute Effects on Hematologic, Biochemical and Antioxidant Parameters: Study evaluated the effect of subacute administration of a leaf extract on hematological, biochemical, histological and antioxidant enzymes. Treatment significantly reduced glucose and lipid profile, with a significant rise in liver catalase and decrease in liver lipid peroxidantion. Results suggest safety up to 400 mg/kbw daily dose with a potential for long term use. (19)
• Pharmacological Screening / Leaves: Study of a leaf hydroalcoholic extract showed: (1) an analgesic effect against thermal, mechanical, and noxious stimuli, (2) significant anti-inflammatory activity in carrageenan-induced paw edema and cotton pellet induced granuloma model, (3) effective hypernatremic and hyperchloremic diuretic effect, (4) laxative property, (5) dose-dependent gastroprotection against ethanol-induced ulceration and pyloric-ligated ulceration. (20)
• New Flavonoid / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study isolated a new flavonoid 2-(3,4-dihydroxy-5-methoxy-phenyl)-3,5-dihydroxy-6,7-dimethoxychromen-4-one (C18H18O9) which possessed significant potential to scavenge free radicals, ROS and also inhibit lipid peroxidation. (21)
• Eurifoloids Diterpenoids / Anti-HIV: Study isolated eighteen new diterpenoids, names eurifoloids A-R (1-18) including ingenane (1 and 2), abietane (3-7), isopimarane (8-12) and ent-atisane (13-18) types, along with four known analogues. Eurifoloids E (5) and F (6) exhibited significant anti-HIV activities. (22)
• Anti-Diabetic Potential / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiabetic potential of ethanolic extract of leaves in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Results showed a dose-dependent fall in fasting glucose with maximum effect observed at 400 mg/kg dose. (23)
• Immunomodulatory / Leaves: Study evaluated the immunomodulatory activity of extracts of dried leaves of E. neriifolia and dried flowers of Hibiscus rosa sinensis by carbon clearance method, haemagglutination antibody titer, footpad swelling method on wistar albino rats. Results showed E. neriifolia was dose dependently more efficacious on immune components than H. rosa sinensis. (24)
• Antithrombotic Potential: Study evaluated the antithrombotic potential of E. neriifolia in a carrageenan induced rat tail thrombosis model. Results showed the extract significantly increased the bleeding and clotting time of test animals. Activity was attributed to phytoconstituents like flavonoids and polyphenols. (25)
• Anti-Cancer / Latex: Study evaluated the antitumor activity of extracts of latex of Euphorbia neriifolia in experimental animal models against DLA induced ascites tumor in mice. Cyclophosphamide was used as standard. Results showed significant dose dependent reduction in mortality rate and increased recovery in extract treated mice. Maximum protection was seen at 100n mg/kg. Terpenoids were the major component of the acetone extract. (26)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Anti-Arthritic / Stem: Total steroid and terpenoid-rich fractions from a hydro-alcoholic extract of E. neriifolia stem demonstrated protection against acetic-acid induced pain and central neuropathic pain at 80 mg/kg. It showed protection against acute inflammation with a higher protective activity than the standard drug. The fraction also exhibited inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IFN-γ, IL-12, and IL-6. There was dual inhibition of COX and LOX activity in a dose dependent manner. Results suggest the stem extract fraction has potential as a safe and therapeutic agent for treatment of nociceptive pain, acute inflammation, and arthritis. (27)