Erigeron canadensis / Canadese fijnstraal

Canadese fijnstraal, Erigeron canadensis L., is een één- tot tweejarige zomerbloeier uit de Composietenfamilie. Ze kiemt in de late herfst en vormt dan een rozet. De bladeren in de rozet zijn spatelvormig en naar de top toe getand. In de daaropvolgende zomer bloeit de plant. De rozet is dan meestal verdroogd. Hoger aan de geribde tot geribbelde stengel zijn de bladeren lijn-lancetvormig en gaaf en de rand heeft recht afstaande haren. De plant als geheel is behoorlijk behaard. Aan de penwortel zitten bovenaan zijwortels en van daaruit groeit het wortelstelsel de diepte in.

Tijdens de bloei zijn er meestal erg veel kleine eivormige hoofdjes van hooguit 5 mm in doorsnee. De hele bloeiwijze is een sterk vertakte pluim. Aan de zijtakken zijn de hoofdjes trosvormig gerangschikt. Doordat de onaanzienlijke straalbloemen, met linten van nog geen mm, al snel verwelken en dan pappus laten zien ziet de plant er al vlug grijzig uit. Dat wordt nog bevorderd doordat de omwindselblaadjes terugkrullen en de bloembodem wat boller wordt.

De oorspronkelijk uit Noord Amerika afkomstige pioniersoort breidt zich, na in de 17e eeuw in Europa te zijn ingevoerd, nog steeds uit en is algemeen met uitzondering van het noordoosten van ons land. Je vindt de soort op open en droge zandige omgewerkte grond op akkers, op verwaarloosde ruderale plekken en ook tussen plaveisel en dergelijke.

Frans: Vergerette du Canada, Duits: Kanadisches Berufkraut, Engels: Canadian fleabane

Canadian horseweed: Canadian betekent "Canadees". Dit is de Engelse benaming voor de eerste wetenschappelijke naam. Horseweed betekent "paardenkruid". Dit is een algemene benaming voor (on)kruid dat te vinden is op de paardenweide.
Fleabane: Dit betekent zoiets als "vlooien verdoemer/verdrijver". Vroeger werd deze plant  in de brand gestoken. De rook hiervan zou vlooien verdrijven.

De Franse naam is  Érigéron du Canada: De andere wetenschappelijke naam is Erigeron canadensis. Dus Érigéron is het eerste deel. Erigeron' is afgeleid van het Griekse termen Eri wat "vroege" en Geron wat "oude man" betekent. Dat alles duidt op het grijs en harige pluisjes (pappus) aan de top van het zaad.  Du Canada betekent "uit Canada".

Duitse namen:Kanadisches Berufkraut: Kanadisches betekent weer "canadees". Berufkraut betekent "beroepskruid". Hiermee word bedoeld dat een beroep gedaan werd gedaan op dit kruid om een bepaalde ziekten/ongemakken te genezen/onderdrukken.
 Weiße dürrwurz:  Weiße betekent "witte". en  Dürrwurz bestaat uit twee delen. Dürr betekent "mager".  Wurz komt van Würze en betekent "kruid". Ik kwam één keer de verklaring tegen dat dit de algemene term is voor planten die niet volledig tot bloei komen en dus een mager uiterlijk vertonen. Deze (witte) fijnstraal voldoet hier helemaal aan.

Traditional uses: The plant was used for the treatment of wounds, swellings, and pain caused by arthritis in Chinese folk medicine [37]. Zuni people insert the crushed flower of Conyza canadensis variety into the nostrils to crush sneezing and relieving rhinitis [38]. The leaves of Erigeron canadensis were prepared as tonic to be used in the treatment of diarrhea, diabetes and hemorrhages [39]. The plant was used in folk medicines in the northern areas of Pakistan for the treatment of various pathological conditions including acute pain, inflammation, fever and the microbial infections including urinary infections, respiratory tract infections, diarrhea and dysentery [40]. In Korea, the plant was used to treat allergic diarrhea, stomatitis, otitis media, conjunctivitis, and acute toothache [41]. The plant was also used as an antithelmintic, a mild hemostyptic, for uterine bleeding, gout, rheumatic symptoms, dropsy, tumors, and bronchitis. In African folk medicine, it was used in the treatment of granuloma annulare, sore throats, urinary tract infections and for medicinal baths. In homeopathic medicine, Erigeron canadensis was used for bleeding of the bladder, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia and metrorrhagia, gastritis, hepatitis and cholecystitis [42].

Antiinflammatory effect: The petroleum ether and ethanolic extract from the epigean part of the plant exhibited significant anti-inflammatory effect on rats with a carrageenin and formalin oedema. Eight sesquiterpenic hydrocarbons with the highest anti-inflammatory activity were found in the petroleum ether fraction (beta-santalene, beta-himachalene, cuparene, alpha-curcumene, gamma-cadinene and three other unidentified hydrocarbons) [49]. The anti-inflammatory activities and the underlying molecular mechanisms of the methanol extract from Erigeron canadensis (ECM) was studied in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophage cells. ECM significantly inhibited inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS)-derived NO and cyclooxygenase2 (COX-2) derived PGE2 production in LPSstimulated RAW264.7 macrophages. These inhibitory effects of ECM were accompanied by decreases in LPS-induced nuclear translocations and transactivities of NFκB. Moreover, phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPKs) including extracellular signalrelated kinase (ERK1/2), p38, and c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) was significantly suppressed by ECM in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages [64]. 

Anticancer effect: Aqueous and organic extracts of 25 selected species from four tribes of Hungarian Asteraceae were screened in vitro for antiproliferative activity against HeLa (cervix epithelial adenocarcinoma), A431 (skin epidermoid carcinoma) and MCF7 (breast epithelial adenocarcinoma) cells, using the MTT assay. Erigeron canadensis extracts from the roots were more effective than those from other organs and the MCF7 cells were slightly more sensitive than the other two cell lines, as demonstrated by the IC50 values. The n-hexane extracts of the roots of Erigeron canadensis exhibited the highest activity. However, Erigeron canadensis demonstrated a substantial antiproliferative effect. Antiproliferative IC50 values were (HeLa 17.4-18.72 for herba and 6.47- 12.94 for root, MCF7 7.93-15.8 for herba and 3.32- 9.17 for root, A431 11.6-21.46 for herba and 9.47- 20.12 for root, μg/ml), and cytotoxic activities (% ± SEM) (HeLa 68.37 ± 2.27- 71.09 ± 1.16 for herba and 85.76 ± 1.85- 95.28 ± 0.19 for root, MCF7 81.22 ± 1.79- 81.42 ± 0.72 for herba and 88.94 ± 0.64- 95.98 ± 0.57 for root, A431 59.00 ± 1.40- 72.55 ± 0.86 for berba and 86.99 ± 2.15- 98.06 ± 8.59 for root) [65-67]. The compounds isolated from the plant were evaluated for their antiproliferative activities. They were exerted considerable cell growth-inhibitory activity against human cervix adenocarcinoma (HeLa), skin carcinoma (A431), and breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cells. Some of the active components, including conyzapyranone B; 4 E,8 Z-matricaria- γ-lactone and spinasterol, proved to be substantially more potent against these cell lines than against noncancerous human foetal fibroblasts (MRC-5) [44]. Studying of cytotoxicity of the plant essential oil showed that the IC50 value of the essential oil was 0.027 in MTT assay against HaCaT keratinocyte cell line [57].

Anti-gastric ulcer: The 70% ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Erigeron canadensis was found to protect against gastric ulcer induced by HCl/ethanol in mice. The administration of HCl/ethanol produced lesions on the gastric mucosa which were significantly and dose-dependently reduced from 74.4%, ulceration percentage to 14.4%, in the animals pretreated with % ethanolic extract of the aerial parts of Erigeron canadensis orally at the doses of 1 (54.6 - 10.2mm2 ), 10 (21.6 - 6.4mm2 ) and 100 mg/kg (10.6 - 4.5mm2 ). In the group pretreated with extract at the dose of 100 mg/kg, the protective effect was higher than that of sucralfate used as a reference drug. Under histological evaluation, pre-treatment with extract reversed the alterations such as inflammation, edema, hemorrhage and a great loss of epithelium cells presented by HCl/ethanol treated stomachs, and the histological aspect was similar to those observed in normal stomach and the group treated with the reference drug [41].

file:///media/fuse/drivefs-0714a859531ebfa73d8510782a345dbd/root/erigeron.pdf



Monograph Eclectic Medicine Erigeron canadensis

Erigeron is an herbaceous plant whose active growing period extends from spring to mid-summer.  It can be found in woods, fields, roadsides and waste places and ranges in height from a half a foot to two and a half feet tall.  Its leaves alternate and are simple and can be described as heart shaped.   According to the Connecticut Botanical Society, on common fleabane, the base of the leaves clasp the hairy stem, this is the characteristic that distinguishes common fleabane from the similar species daisy fleabane and prairie fleabane (Erigeron strigosus). The heads of the plants flower in spring and contain up to as many as 35 heads with many numerous yellow or pink florets.  One head can sometimes contain as many as 400 blooms that are less than an inch in diameter.  It can be wildcrafted in abundance during flowering season which is usually July, August and September. Young leaves and seedlings can be cooked or dried for later use.  Its leaves are edible and can be eaten in salads or cooked as a vegetable like spinach. They contain the minerals calcium, phosphorous, and potassium in fairly high proportions.  I had the opportunity to taste erigeron myself during an herb walk at the Eclectic School of Herbal Medicine.  I thought that the leave had a peppery taste and have since used small amounts to spice up salads.

Culpeper, in his book “The Complete Herbal” from the 17th century, called the plant “Flea-wort” because the seeds looked like fleas both in color and brightness but turned black when the plant grows old. He described the root of the plant as “not long, but white, hard and woody.”  He notes the edible nature of the plant when taking about having the seeds fried to treat the belly and the mucilage of the seed made with rose-water and sugar for burning fevers.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Assistant in Drug and Medicinal Plant Investigations, Botanical Investigations and Experiments, Bureau of Plant Industry, Alice Henkel, in her 1904

Bulletin No. 188 entitled “Weeds Used as Medicine”, in 1904, Canadian Fleabane had the common name “blood stanch”, which indicated the use of this plant for the “arresting of hemorrhages from various sources and the bleeding of wounds.”  She also notes that it was useful for diarrhea and dropsy.  One interesting fact that she note in her 1904 bulletin is the prices of commonly used medicinal herbs.

She indicates that the price per pound for erigeron or fleabane in the United States, in 1904, ranged from 6 to 8 cents per pound.  She describes how it was used in the U.S. as a fresh herb on distillation which yielded a volatile oil sold as “oil of fleabane”.  At that time the entire herb was used as medicine and was gathered during flowering period and carefully dried.  Her description is as follows: “it has a faint, agreeable odor and a somewhat astringent and bitter taste.”

She describes fleabane as an annual weed belonging to the Aster family with a stem, which was bristly-hairy, or sometime smooth which varied in height, according to soil type and condition.  Sometimes only 3 inches high in favorable soil but could be up to 10 feet high. The plants that grew larger branched near the top and the leaves usually hairy, scattered along the stem and narrow with unbroken margins with the lower ones slightly toothed.  White flowers were produced between June and November and were numerous containing an abundance of seed.

(Henkel, Alice, Assistant in Drug and Medicinal Plant Investigations, Botanical Investigations and Experiments, Bureau of Plant Industry. U. S. Department of Agriculture: Farmer’s Bulletin No.188. “Weeds Used in Medicine”: Washington: Government Printing Office 1904: 36-37)

During my research on the history of Erigeron, I found many turn of the century documents describing effective medicinal uses.  I discovered many wonderful fathers of herbalism and eclectic medicine.  I found myself fascinated by the information that I learn while reading their documents.  To my surprise, the discovery that hit me the hardest in an emotional way was that our federal government once promoted and encouraged the use of herbs and weeds as medicine.  I read through almost the entire Bulletin written by Alice Henkel, Assistant in Drug and Medicinal Plant Inventions from the Department of Agriculture and felt a sense of deep betrayal because in this country, we once had knowledge of inexpensive and effective ways to treatment ailments with common natural remedies.  I am not insinuating that modern medicine has not had wonderful discoveries that have led to life extension and health for so many Americans and people around the world, because I know it has, but it seems to me, after further research, that it has also caused much harm in the pursuit of profit.  As I contemplated this bulletin further and read through other old documents, I do believe that modern medicine is wonderful in the treatment of acute illnesses and injuries but falls short in the care of chronic ones.

I never realized how far we have drifted in the field of medicine from our origins and could benefit tremendously from rediscoving the wisdom of many of the herbalist that came before us.  I could only imagine how medicine was practiced before the development of the American Medical Association and for-profit pharmaceutical companies, before the invention of commercial farming practices and the “science” of newly created GMO products, before the invention of Industrial Animal Factories and concentrated animal feeding operations, when food, herbs, and weeds were our medicine and people where not commodities but humans and individuals.

I was conflicted.  I was someone who spent my career in medicine, working in hospitals but now, longing to return to basic herbal medicinal treatments and caring, family, country doctors, that are now seen by most of the established medical community as a “fringe, alternative”, practiced only by those without education or abilities for mainstream medical school, on patients who think they have exhausted their options in traditional medicine and too ignorant to know the difference.  It saddens me and I now have a stronger desire and motivation to somehow change this view and the future course of this direction.  Becoming a Clinical Herbalist was my first step, not only in my personal endeavor to return to my roots and heritage but to initiate this change.

Clinical Use:

According to Felter and Llyod, erigeron was used for watery diarrhea from chorea. They recorded that Oil of erigeron, was not astringent to taste but acts as an astringent and has a styptic influence which is why it is good for local application for hemorrhoids and small wound bleeds but should be combined with oil since it is too acrid to be used alone.

According to King’s American Dispensatory, Felter & Lloyd, an infusion can be given hot or cold for the stomach. A stuff of powered leaves can be used for epistasis and syrup is effective for cough, pneumonia and blood tinged bronchial expectoration.

In traditional North American herbal medicine, Canada fleabane was boiled to make steam for sweat lodges, taken as a snuff to stimulate sneezing during the course of a cold.   Today, it continues to be valued for its astringent properties and for its use in the treatment of gastro-intestinal problems such as diarrhea and for the effective treatment of bleeding hemorrhoids as an anti-rheumatic, diuretic, emmenagogue, styptic, and many other traditional uses.

Studies and Recent research:

According to older literature quoted, Erigeron canadensis has many medicinal benefits.  There needs to be further researched for its medical properties.  I could not find primary sources for current research on Erigeron canadensis but did find references to three clinical recent trials mentioned in the blog on the website “Herbs-Treat and Taste”, in an article entitle “HORSEWEED OR FLEAWORT – NORTH AMERICAN HERB: HISTORY, USES AND HEALTH BENEFITS OF HORSEWEED”.  There was no auther listed but I have listed the website below.

http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2012/04/horseweed-or-fleawort-north-american.html

The website used Erigeron canadensis synonymously with Conyza canadensis and noted erigeron antibacterial and antiaggregating effects on serum platelets in vitroin a research article in Medical Chemistry Research Vol.18 (6) 2009, pp 447-458 “Antibacterial, antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of extracts of Conyza canadensis (L) Cronquist growing in Tunisia” Edzir Hayat et al.)

The author also notes that a study by Beata Olas et al. (2006) “Antioxidant and antiaggregating effects of an extract from Conyza canadensis on blood platelets in vitro” also found that  “the natural polysaccharide extract from Conyza canadensis has anti-aggregatory and anti-oxidative activities and therefore may be beneficial in the prevention of peroxynitrite-related diseases, such as cardio-vascular and inflammatory diseases.”

The last study they address wason the plant extracts and conducted in Hungary by Boglárka Csupor-Lôffler et al.  “Antiproliferative Constituents of the Roots of Conyza canadensis” (2011).  The study found that there was “considerable cell-growth inhibitory activity against human cervix adenocarcinoma (HeLa), skin carcinoma (A431) and breast adenocarcinoma (MCF-7) cells”.

Warnings:
Do not take during pregnancy or if allergic to ragweed, daisies, and related plants: Canadian fleabane may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to the Asteraceae/Compositae plant family. Members of this family include ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies, and many others.

Potential or Reported Drug-Herb Interactions:  None indicated

Resources:
  • Harvey Wicks Felter, M.D. and John Uri Lloyd, PHR, M., PhD “King’s American Dispensatory” nineteenth edition, third revision, Vol I, Cincinnati, The Ohio Valley Company, 317-321 Race Street, 1905: 1355
  • Harvey Wicks Felter, M.D. and John Uri Lloyd, PHR, M., PhD “King’s American Dispensatory” nineteenth edition, third revision, Vol II, Cincinnati, The Ohio Valley Company, 317-321 Race Street, 1905: 714-721
  • Henkel, Alice, Assistant in Drug and Medicinal Plant Investigations, Botanical Investigations and Experiments, Bureau of Plant Industry. U. S. Department of Agriculture: Farmer’s Bulletin No.188. “Weeds Used in Medicine”: Washington: Government Printing Office 1904: 36-37
  • The Physiomedical Dispensatory by William Cook, M.D., 1869, 229-230
  • THOS. S. BLAIR, M. D. “A Practitioner’s Handbook Of Materia Medica And Therapeutics” The Medical Council, 4105 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa : 40
  • Wood, M. “The Practice of Traditional Western Herbalism”:
  • Wood, M. “The Earthwise Herbal”:  143-146
  • https://archive.org/stream/kingsamericandis01kinguoft#page/n5/mode/2up
  • https://archive.org/stream/kingsamericandis02kinguoft#page/n5/mode/2up
  • http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Erigeron+canadensis
  • http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/gcc-121495
  • https://www.eopugetsound.org/species/conyza-canadensis-var-canadensis




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