The medicinal parts are the dried aerial parts of the flowering plant and the entire fresh plant gathered during the flowering season.
Flower and Fruit
The golden yellow composite flowers grow in dense, terminal, erect, branched cymes. The linguiform ray florets are female. The disc florets are tubular and androgynous. The capitula has a diameter of 15 to 20 mm. The involucre is cylindrical. The bracts are in a single row and are oblong-lanceolate, acuminate, and black at the tip, with a short 1- to 4-leafed epicalyx. The lateral fruit is glabrous and has drooping tufts of hair. The other fruit is covered in thick tufts of loosely attached hair.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant is biennial to perennial and grows 30 to 90 cm high. The stem is erect, branched above, and cobweb-pubescent. The basal leaves are lyrate-pinnatifid. The cauline leaves are pinnatifid with indented pinna. The lateral tips are almost at right angles and have small, 4-sectioned, slit ears that clasp the stem.
The plant is indigenous to all of Europe, Asia Minor and northern Africa, and is naturalized in North America.
Ragwort is the flowering plant of Senecio jacoboea. The plant is gathered in the wild, usually during the flowering season. The cut drug is dried away from direct sunlight.
Cankerwort, Dog Standard, Ragweed, St. James Wort, Staggerwort, Stammerwort, Stinking Nanny, Tansy Ragwort
Actions & Pharmacology
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (0.1-0.9%): the alkaloid spectrum depends upon the chemotype. Jacobine chemotype: chief alkaloid jacobine; erucifoline chemotype: chief alkaloids erucifoline and O-acetylerucifoline
Volatile oil (traces)
The toxic principles of the drug are the pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which should be assumed to be hepatotoxic and carcinogenic. Countless experiments have shown the plant to be acutely and chronically poisonous in animals.
Indications & Usage
Because of its potential carcinogenic effect, Ragwort should not be used.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Ragwort should not be taken internally since hepatotoxicity and carcinogenicity are possible due to the pyrrolizidine alkaloids with 1,2-unsaturated necic parent substances in its makeup.
Mode of Administration
The drug is used externally as a component of lotions, but should not be taken internally.
The lotion is made using 1 part of the drug and 5 parts of 10% ethanol.
The lotion is applied topically for the treatment of rheumatic arthritis.