Chick weed is an annual plant which grows in an invasive manner and can easily colonize an open field. It is also known as bandotan in Indonesia and as goat weed in Nigeria. On average, ageratum conyzoides can grow to 1500mm tall. It usually grows during the rainy season and dies off during dry season after producing fruits, which house several spore-like seeds.
Ageratum conyzoides leaves are edible and are used as livestock folder. It has several amazing health benefits, which may be due to its many bioactive compounds, as several studies show that goat weed is effective for treatment of several diseases such as malaria, inflammation, oxidative stress, bacterial and fungal infections such as Aspergillus spp.
Phytochemical Properties of Chick Weeds
Chick weed is endowed with several bioactive constituents which include monoterpenes, tryterpenes, sesquiterpenes, benzofuran, chromene, chromone, and coumarin, flavonoids, alkaloids, and steroids, and essential oils, which confer the numerous health benefits to goat weed.
Health Benefits of Chick Weed
1. Chick Weed Is Used As A Pain Relief
Chick weed is effectively used in the treatment of acute pain and other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis as an analgesic agent, where it inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and increases articular mobility without showing any side affect.
One of the mechanisms by which goat weed enforce its pain relieving properties is by the inhibition prostaglandins synthesis through the mechanism of peripheral pain inhibition, leading to its analgesic effect.
The phytochemicals responsible for the analgesic properties of goat weed include precocene I, precocene II, and 6-vinyl-7-methoxy-2, 2-dimethylchromene. Some alkaloids and flavonoids have also been indicated to possess analgesic properties.
2. Chick Weeds Possess Anti-inflammatory Agents
Goat weed possesses strong anti-inflammatory bioactive compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, glycosides, tannins, and other polyphenolic compounds. Quercetin performs its anti-inflammatory activity in rheumatoid arthritis by suppressing the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines and decreasing lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase (COX-2) production. In synovial tissues, quercetin suppresses the production of NLRP3.
Kaempferol, another anti-inflammatory agent, suppresses the production and release of NF-kB. It also inhibits the production IFN-ϒ and IL-2, pro-inflammatory compounds.
3. Chick Weeds Possess Antimicrobial Properties
The health benefit of chick weed is also seen in its antimicrobial properties. This amazing herb contains antimicrobial bioactive components, which inhibit oxidase enzymes in bacterial. In another study explored the health benefits of essential oil of goat weed, stone breaker proved it possesses potential antimicrobial components against Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumonia. This shows that goat weed can be used in treating urinary tract infection and pneumonia.
4. Chick Weed In Malaria and Typhoid Fever
The roots and leaves of chick weed can be used in the treatment of malaria and typhoid fever due to its bioactive compounds which possess antimicrobial activity against Salmonella typhi and plasmodium species. The plant can be uprooted, washed and infused in a hot water and allowed to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes. Then it should be allowed to stay in the water over night, and then taken morning and night till the patient is fully recovered.
5. Possess Antioxidant Agent Agents
The name, Ageratum conyzoides is derived from ancient Greek word, agerus, meaning stay young while conyzoides, derived konyz, means plant. This could be due to its antioxidant agents that retards aging as a result of reactive oxygen species and lipid peroxidase activities. As an antioxidant agent, goat weed may be used in treating several oxidative stress related diseases such as Erectile dysfunction, Arterioscleroses, Diabetes mellitus and even cancer.
An increased level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) causes the activation of Rho-kinase 2, which increases the contraption of corpus cavernosum (CC) smooth muscles in diabetic patients. This ROS under diabetes also inhibit the endothelia nitric oxide synthase (NOS), and thereby causing a decrease in the CC smooth muscle relaxation. This leads to vasculogenic erectile dysfunction.
The antioxidant properties of stone breaker is employed in the mopping up of ROS and increasing nitric oxide productions. The nitric oxide so produced is a vasodilator, which is employed in correcting erectile dysfunction.
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C. Ashande, P. T. Mpiana, and K. N. Ngbolua, “Ethnobotany and pharmacognosy of Ageratum conyzoides L. (Compositae),” Journal of Advancement in Medical and Life Sciences, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 1–6, 2015.
Kamboj and A. K. Saluja, “Ageratum conyzoides L.: a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile,” International Journal of Green Pharmacy (IJGP), vol. 2, no. 2, 2008.
Kaur and N. K. Dogra, “A review on traditional uses, chemical constituents and pharmacology of Ageratum conyzoides L. (Asteraceae),” International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biological Science Archive, vol. 5, no. 5, pp. 33–45, 2014.
L. RK, V. Valte, and Z. Sailo, “A study of the analgesic effect of aqueous extract of the whole plant of Ageratum conyzoides Linn. in experiments on animal models,” Indian Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 28–32, 2019.