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In the 1990s, people in the Ukraine widely used the radium weed plant (although it is not specified, possibly it is the latex or sap) for treating various forms of cancer, including that of the liver, stomach and uterus.
The radium weed is generally collected from the wild for therapeutic use by the locals. Radium weed is among the many species in the botanical family Euphorbiaceae. Currently, scientists have taken a lot of interest in this species for its potential to treat several forms of cancers.
However, it is advisable that you adopt extra caution while dealing with radium weed. Ensure that the plant or its sap does not come in contact with the internal membranes and the eyes. As the sap is highly corrosive, it will burn the soft tissues.
Habitat and cultivation
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Radium weed plants should never be provided with mulching, as doing so will make the stems weak and they will struggle for growth. On the other hand, harvesting the leaves constantly will ensure a continuous supply. At the same time, it will stimulate the plants to spread further.
The radium weed is an annual herb that grows up to a height of between 5 cm and 30 cm. It has been found that nearly all plants that are cultivated as weeds have a tendency to be inclined towards their smaller end. The stem of radium weed is hairless and smooth. The leaves of this herb are of oval-acute shape, measuring about 1 cm to 3 cm in length and have smooth margins. This species produces green hued flowers having three-rayed umbels. The glands of this herb are characteristic of the Euphorbiaceae and kidney-shaped having elongated slender horns.
The radium weed plant (E. peplus) has its origin in several regions, including most regions of Europe, western Asia and the northern areas of Africa. Currently, this plant is found in nearly all countries having temperate as well as sub-tropical climatic conditions. You can now find the plant in North America, Australia and New Zealand. In the United States, radium weed is considered to be an invasive toxic weed. Typically, you will find radium weed growing naturally in gardens, cultivated lands, and also in other lands, especially those that are normally disturbed.
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Self seeds readily throughout the garden, will grow in poor soils and difficult positions, but grows better in a well watered position in sun to semi sun.
Historically, it has been used for treatment of warts, corns and skin cancers and indeed, there is an ingredient in the sap that does cause regression of such skin lesions.
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Avoid contact with the eyes and internal membranes. The sap is corrosive and will burn sensitive soft tissues.