Poinsettia in folk herbalism ( Phytochemical Research )

Posted by Star on Aug 17th 2020

Poinsettia in folk herbalism ( Phytochemical Research )

Note: I am not a medical professional, scientist, or doctor. Please utilize great caution, do your own research, and don't try anything on this website or others at home. Statements and items are not evaluated or approved by the FDA. Consult your healthcare provider before use. Not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure, any ailments, conditions, diseases, etc.

Poinsettia is mostly often stereotyped as a strictly ornamental plant. Like many other ethnobotanicals such as the Mistle Toe herb, it actually has quite the history of lore and even applications in herbalism. Some plants used in herbalism have the potential to be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing. Most aren't this way, but it's important to do your research before consuming a plant. If it's not often marketed or sold as an herbal supplement, then this is likely why. Part of my mission in life is to educate and inform the masses about the pharmacological potential of plants that most people think of as strictly ornamental.

So the Poinsettia is indigenous to Central America. It's often associated with Christmas, and got its name from a name named Joel Roberts Poinsettia, who was the first US Minister to Mexico, who introduced it to the US in the 1820's! The symbolism behind its mystical beauty is only superseded by its often mysterious nature to the minds of human kind. It's important to note that Poinsettias are supposedly poisonous according to word of mouth, but is this true? I don't suggest consuming it to find out but apparently this may not be the case. In the 1970s the FDA published some claims of its own. they said that one leaf of this plant could kill a child. It was actually prohibited from nursing homes in a specific county in North Carolina because of this.

I decided to check out some academic sources on the plant known scientifically as Euphorbia pulcherima L. ( Poinsettia ) and see what they had to say. As it turns out, some studies were conducted in vitro on the antimicrobial activity of some phytochemical fractions of the herb. Feel free to check out my citations at the bottom of this page and others for verification. You see, there is a field of science which is often overlooked by mainstream society. It's called Phytochemistry, and it seeks to establish a scientific understanding of the pharmacological phytochemicals that plants like this create. It's the basis for research established by big pharmaceutical companies, in which this knowledge is used to create man-made knock off versions of natural substances. Pharmaceuticals, in my opinion, are the "spice" of natural compounds and alkaloids. This to me seems to be a self evident truth.

The flowers also contain an interesting phytochemical called diterpenes. It has been used in folk medicine to cure fevers supposedly. I wouldn't suggest being a test subject though. I do find it thoroughly fascinating that a lot of plants which most believe to be harmful today though, have in some way shape or form been utilized in history without any deaths and supposed health benefits. Perhaps this is due to the Arndt-Schulz Law, which is a medical law that states any poison in a dilute enough dosage is beneficial to life processes, aka has the potential to be utilized as a medicine. We can see this with Penicilin for example, as a lethal dose of the fungus is possible, while small consistent dosages can actually heal and infection. This is very fascinating indeed! I'm proud to be spreading this seemingly hidden truth, and hope that people will be wise and not blindly consume things that they don't well understand. I hope to encourage a shift in perception on this matter, at a mainstream societal level. Thanks for stopping by.


  • Yakubu, A. I., & Mukhtar, M. D. (2011). In vitro antimicrobial activity of some phytochemical fractions of Euphorbia pulcherima L.(Poinsettia). Journal of medicinal plants research, 5(12), 2470-2475.

  • Evans, F. J., & Kinghorn, A. D. (1977). A comparative phytochemical study of the diterpenes of some species of the genera Euphorbia and Elaeophorbia (Euphorbiaceae). Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 74(1), 23-35.

  • Bell, R. (1987). Medicinal and poisonous plants of the holiday season. The American Biology Teacher, 49(8), 423-426.

  • Helmstädter, A. (2008). “Is there a tonic in the toxin?” The Arndt-Schulz law as an explanation for non-linear dose-response relationships. Info, 29.