Know about Whiteweed

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Know about Whiteweed

Whiteweed Quick Facts
Name: Whiteweed
Scientific Name: Ageratum conyzoides
Origin Tropical Central and South America especially Brazil
Colors Black
Shapes Ribbed or angled, black achene, 1.25-2 mm long, roughly hairy, with a pappus of 5, rarely 6, rough bristles, 1.5-3 mm long with upward turning spines
Taste Bitter, pungent
Health benefits Treat rheumatism, fever, dysentery, inflammation of the nose, dropsy, wound pimples, eczema and postpartum hemorrhage
Whiteweed scientifically known as Ageratum conyzoides is a weed plant belonging to the family Asteraceae and tribe Eupatoriae. The plant is native to Southeastern North America to Central America, but the center of origin is in Central America and the Caribbean. Most taxa are found in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and Florida. Ageratum conyzoides now is found in several countries in tropical and sub-tropical regions, including Brazil.  Other common names of the plant are Ageratum, Appa Grass, Bastard Agrimony, Billygoat-Weed, Blue Top, Chick Weed, Cocks Sticks Plant, Conyzoid Floss Flower, Floss Flower, Goatweed, Mother Brinkly, Tropic Ageratum and Winter Weed. Ageratum is derived from the Greek words ‘a geras’, meaning non-aging, referring to the longevity of the whole plant. Conyzoides on the other hand is derived from ‘konyz’ the Greek name of Inula helenium which the plant resembles. In Vietnamese, the plant is called cứt lợn due to its growth in dirty areas. This family is well marked in their characteristics and cannot be confused with any other.

Plant Description

Whiteweed is an erect, pubescent, aromatic, slender, annual herb that grows about 15–100 cm high. The plant is found growing in grasslands, forests, wastelands, clearings, roadsides, riparian zones, wetlands, coastal dunes, degraded pastures and rapidly colonizes cultivated areas. The plant thrives best in rich, moist, mineral soils in areas with high air humidity and tolerates shade. The plant has shallow, fibrous roots.


Leaves are opposite, 20-100 mm long, 5-50 mm wide, on hairy petioles 5-75 mm long, broadly ovate, with a rounded or narrowed acute base and an acute or obtuse or sometimes acuminate tip and toothed margins. Both leaf surfaces are sparsely hairy, rough with prominent veins and when crushed the leaves have a characteristic odor which is reminiscent of the male goat.

Flower & Fruit

The plant has branched; terminal or axillary inflorescence bears 4-18 flower heads arranged in showy, flat-topped clusters. Individual flower heads are light blue, white or violet, are carried on 50-150 mm long peduncles and are 5 mm across, 4-6 mm long with 60-75 tubular flowers. The flower head is surrounded by two or three rows of oblong bracts which are green with pale or reddish-violet tops. The bracts are 3-5 mm high, outer ones 0.5-1.75 mm wide, sparsely hairy, evenly toothed in the upper part, with an abruptly acuminate, acute tip. Flowers are 1.5-3 mm long and scarcely protrude above the bracts. Flowering normally takes place from Jul to September. Flowers are followed by ribbed or angled, black achene, 1.25-2 mm long, roughly hairy, with a pappus of 5, rarely 6, rough bristles, 1.5-3 mm long with upward turning spines. A large majority of the plants in the family are herbaceous while trees and shrubs are comparatively rare. Different parts of the plant are used in several traditional medicines.

Traditional uses and benefits of Whiteweed

  • Infusion is used for treating sore throats, colic, atony of the digestive tract, and as a tonic.
  • Infusion are also used for reducing a high temperature.
  • Mucilaginous leaves are mashed and the juice used to calm a sore throat and for colds; concentrated decoction for chiggers; infusion is diuretic and anti-diarrheic; emollient.
  • Leaves are put in water and the liquid is drunk for body itches, the so-called “faja skin” or “fafa skieng”.
  • Leaves are crushed and applied to heal open wounds.
  • Whole plant is anti-inflammatory and anti-allergic.
  • Juice of the fresh plant, or an extract of the dried plant, is used in the treatment of allergic rhinitis and sinusitis.
  • Juice of the fresh plant is also useful in treating post-partum uterine hemorrhage.
  • Juice of the root is antilithic.
  • Paste of the root, mixed with the bark of Schinus wallichii, is applied to set dislocated bones.
  • Leaves are dried and applied as a powder to cuts, sores and the ruptures caused by leprosy.
  • An effective cure for most cuts and sores, though it does not affect a complete cure for leprosy.
  • Leaves are also used externally in the treatment of ague.
  • Juice of the plant is used to treat cuts, wounds and bruises.
  • Paste of the leaves is used as a poultice to remove thorns from the skin.
  • Paste made of the leaves mixed with equal amounts of Bidens pilosa, Drymaria cordata, Galinsoga parviflora and the rhizome of Zingiber officinale is used to treat snakebites.
  • Juice of the flower heads is used externally to treat scabies, whilst a paste of them is used to treat rheumatism.
  • Tea made from the flower heads mixed with Ocimum tenuifolium is used to treat coughs and colds.
  • Decoction of the fresh plant is used as a hair wash, leaving the hair soft, fragrant and dandruff free.
  • Ageratum conyzoides was reported as one of several plant species used for prostate problems in folkloric ethno medicine in Trinidad and Tobago.
  • Ageratum conyzoides is a plant used in traditional medicine for mental and infection diseases, cephalgia, dyspnea, enteralgia and fever.
  • conyzoides leaves were reported to be used externally to heal wounds, cuts, scratches or itches and internally, decoctions of roots are taken for treating coughs by the Temuan tribe in Ulu Langat, Selangor, Malaysia.
  • Decoctions obtained from boiling whole plant parts were used to treat asthma, while leaves obtained from white-flowered types of this species were used to alleviate toothache.
  • In Peninsular Malaysia, the Malays poultice wounds externally with the leaves, which have been heated and oiled.
  • For itch, a poultice of the leaves mixed with those of Phyllanthus pulcher or Justicia is used.
  • Pounded plant material is applied to the abdomen of children for severe diarrhea.
  • Plant decoction is used for fever and dysentery.
  • Plant has also been reported to be used for urinary disorders.
  • In Java, the leaves are used as a paste mixed with chalk for wounds and a paste of the roots rubbed on the body for fever in Java.
  • Crevost and Petelot reported that the Annamites apply a poultice of the leaves to the hair.
  • Ageratum conyzoides is used to treat inflammation of the nose, dropsy, wound pimples, eczema and postpartum hemorrhage and to regulate menses allergic sinusitis in Vietnam.
  • Juice of the fresh leaves is pounded, mixed with salt and used as vulnerary in Philippines.
  • Sometimes the leaves are cooked in coconut oil and the medicated oil is applied to wounds.
  • Boiled decoction of stem, roots and flowers are used for stomach disorders.
  • Plant decoction is used for cough, colds, fever, skin disease and high blood pressure.
  • Plant is used for bleeding due to external wounds, furuncle, eczema, carbuncle and as poultices for headaches.
  • Plant juice is dropped into the ear to treat otitis media.
  • Masango people eat the leaves with cola fruit and salt to treat pain in Gabon.
  • Leaves are used to treat cuts and wound, fever, painful menstruation.
  • Leaves cooked in palm oil are taken as remedy for sexually transmitted diseases.
  • conyzoides is used to treat fever, measles, postpartum hemorrhage and snake bites in Benin.
  • It is used for skin diseases; wound healing, diarrhea and pain associated with navel in children in Nigeria.
  • Leaf decoction is used to treat human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS in Nigeria.
  • Leaves juice/extract/decoction are used to treat headache, rib pain, intercostal pain, body side pain, asthma and inflammatory disorders like rheumatism and arthritis and macerated whole plant is used for treating dyspnea in republic of Congo.
  • Plant is used to treat abdominal pain in Ivory Coast.
  • Ageratum conyzoides was used to treat epilepsy by traditional healers in Tanzania.
  • Leaves are used as a diuretic in urinary diseases, and in Mauritius, the leaves are used to treat diarrhea, skin infection and gas in the stomach in Mauritius and Rodrigues.
  • Leaves are used for Candida body infection and grounded leaves mixed with Shea butter as an ointment are used to massage inflamed painful area in the neck in Kwara State, central Nigeria.
  • Plants were commonly used for dermal or digestive problems and fever/malaria.
  • Tribals of Bangangte in Western Cameroon employed the juice from the plant for peptic ulcer.
  • Leaves are used in tea for diarrhea and the leaf sap is used as a coagulant in Madagascar.
  • Plant is used to treat wounds and burns in India and Central Africa.
  • Leaf juice is used to treat eye diseases, macerated leaves used as antiseptic for wounds to stop bleeding and hemorrhagic diarrhea, mycotic skin infection, furuncle, eczema, and carbuncle in Kenya.
  • Leaf and root decoctions are used for coughs; and root decoctions used for chest pains.
  • Leaves and roots are used for headache; leaves are used for intercostal rib pain and side-body pain, asthma and anti-inflammatory problems in Republic of Congo.
  • Macerated plant is used for dyspnea.
  • Grounded leaves are used for infectious diarrhea, fever, malaria and nausea; aerial plant parts are used for giddiness and postpartum hemorrhage in Benin.
  • Plant extract is drank as a remedy for cough in Northwest Argentina.
  • Aerial plant part infusion is used in the treatment of diabetes in Mexico.
  • It has been used in Brazilian folk medicine to treat various ailments such as Metrorrhagia, fevers, dermatitis, inflammation, arthritis, rheumatism, diarrhea and diuretics.
  • Flowers and leaves are used in the form of an infusion for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Plant is used as an analgesic and anti- inflammatory in Brazil.
  • Leaves are used to treat malaria and yellow fever.
  • Aerial parts are used as a tonic, stimulant and emenagogue.
  • Plant is used to treat leprosy and the essential oil is sued as lotion for purulent ophthalmia in India.
  • In India, the tribals of Sonaghati of Sonbhadra district, Uttar Pradesh, used the plant to treat tumour and swelling and as an antidote to snakebite and stings.
  • Leaf sap is applied on fresh cuts in Nepal.
  • Leaves are applied to cuts and wounds for anti-hemorrhagic and antiseptic properties.
  • Leaves and aerial parts for cuts, wounds and to treat stomach upset.
  • Juice of the fresh plant or an extract of the dried plant is used in the treatment of Sinusitis.
  • Juice also treats post-partum uterine hemorrhage.
  • Paste of flower heads treats rheumatism.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Whiteweed

  • Epilepsy: Extract the juice from the leaves of Goat weed. Add ¼ tbsp of common salt. Put a drop in both the nostrils once a day.
  • Wounds: Extract the juice of Goat weed leaves and apply at wounds.
  • Jaundice: Extract the juice of fresh goat weed leaves. Have it two times a day.
  • Erectile Dysfunction: Make a decoction of Goat weed plant. Drink 5 ml of it twice a day.

Culinary Uses

  • Fragrant flowers and foliage are used for scenting edible coconut oil in the southeastern Polynesia.
  • Leaves are eaten in a soup called ‘olulu-ogwai’ by the Igbo communities in Nigeria.

Other Facts

  • Stems and leaves covered with fine white hairs.
  • In Hawaii and Polynesia, the fragrant flowers are used for leis, scent and medicine.
  • Plant has potential to be used as a biocontrol agent to control weeds, agricultural and veterinary insect pests and plant diseases.
  • Leaves and the flowers yield 0.2% essential oil with a powerful nauseating odor.
  • Decoction of the fresh plant is used as a hair wash, leaving the hair soft, fragrant and dandruff free.
  • Tannin extracts of goatweed showed insecticidal activity against flour beetles.


  • Ingesting A. conyzoides can cause liver lesions and tumors.
  • Essential oil of the plant was toxic to the adults of the cowpea weevil.
  • Pregnant and breast feeding women should avoid using Whiteweed.






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