Euphorbia peplus – Cancer Weed (seed)
Euphorbia peplus is a member of the Euporbiaceae family, also commonly known as petty spurge, radium weed, cancer weed or milkweed). Euphorbia peplus is native to most of Europe, northern Africa and western Asia, where it typically grows in cultivated arable land, gardens and other disturbed land.
Euphorbia peplus sap is toxic to rapidly replicating human tissue and has long been used as a traditional remedy for common skin lesions, including cancer, warts and sunspots. The active ingredient in the sap is a diterpene ester called ingenol mebutate. A commercailly available product is available from the Australian company Peplin Biotech.
Typically a piece of the plant is plucked off and the white sap that is exuded is then carefully dabbed onto the area to be treated, left to dry for a few minutes and then covered with a bandaid or tape. The area will then get red, scab up and sometimes get itchy before the scab falls and new fresh skin is exposed. Sometimes repeated application is necessary.
Care and Cultivation of Euphorbia peplus
Sow just under the surface of a quality seed raising mix or directly into the garden. Keep moist until germination in 1-3 weeks. Full sun to part shade position. Up tp 20-30cm tall. Euphorbia peplus will self seed readily. Take care when handling broken stems.
20+ seeds per packet