The Snuhi plant, scientifically known as Euphorbia neriifolia, is a succulent shrub that is native to India and is widely distributed across the Indian subcontinent. It is commonly referred to as Indian spurge tree, milk hedge, or rubber hedge. This plant typically grows up to 3 to 5 meters in height, with a thick, succulent stem covered in thorns. The leaves are long, narrow, and lance-shaped, resembling those of the Nerium oleander, hence the species name “neriifolia.”
The Snuhi plant blooms with small, greenish-yellow flowers that are inconspicuous and lack petals. The flowering occurs in clusters at the tips of its branches. This plant produces a milky latex sap, which is highly toxic and is a characteristic feature of the Euphorbia genus.
The Snuhi plant contains various chemical constituents, including diterpenoids, triterpenoids, alkaloids, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. The most notable compound is the toxic latex sap, which contains Euphorbin E, Euphorbin F, and Euphorbin H, among others. These compounds are responsible for the plant’s toxicity. Additionally, Snuhi also contains various phytochemicals like quercetin, kaempferol, and tannins.
PROPERTIES ACCORDING TO AYURVEDA
In Ayurveda, Snuhi is known for its medicinal properties. According to Ayurvedic principles, Snuhi has the following properties:
Rasa (Taste): Tikta (Bitter) Guna (Quality): Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Oily) Virya (Potency): Ushna (Hot) Vipaka (Post-digestive effect): Katu (Pungent)
Ayurvedic texts also mention its benefits in various health conditions, as evident in the following shloka:
“स्नुहिः संग्राहिका गुरुः कषायोष्णाङ्गविकारजित्।
ज्वरक्रिमिदः कर्णशूलदुर्बलानां च नाशनः॥”
This shloka signifies Snuhi’s ability to alleviate disorders related to the digestive system, fever, worms, and earaches.
1.Anti-Inflammatory: Snuhi is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat various inflammatory conditions like arthritis and rheumatism. Its anti-inflammatory properties help reduce pain and swelling.
2.Respiratory Disorders: It is beneficial in managing respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, and coughs due to its bronchodilatory effects.
3.Wound Healing: Snuhi latex is applied topically to aid in wound healing and relieve pain. It forms a protective barrier and accelerates tissue repair.
4.Laxative: The bitter taste of Snuhi makes it a natural laxative, aiding in relieving constipation and promoting regular bowel movements.
5.Anti-Cancer Potential: Some studies suggest that certain compounds in Snuhi may have anti-cancer properties, although more research is needed.
While Snuhi offers several medicinal benefits, it is important to note its toxic nature. Direct contact with the latex sap can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions. Ingesting any part of the plant can lead to severe poisoning, with symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. Snuhi should only be used under the guidance of a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner and never be self-administered.