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Puha – (Sonchus oleraceus)


Puha is also known as sow thistle or hare's lettuce. Medicinally, this plant is used similar to dandelion. Related to the dandelion and the daisy, this plant looks like a cross between a dandelion and a thistle. The stems are hollow and branched, while the flowers look a lot like a dandelion blossom. This plant readily grows anywhere, and in many countries it has been listed as a noxious weed.


Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Puha has been used as a blood purifier. It is also used for hemorrhage, constipation and cervical abnormalities. In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is known to clear heat and toxin from the body, invigorate the blood and stop bleeding, clear damp heat and to cool the blood. In western herbalism, the herb has been used as an abortifacient, to treat cancer, diarrhea and infections.

It is anti-inflammatory and calms the nerves. It is said to be a cure for opium addiction. It is good for the liver and to promote milk production in nursing mothers. It is also a mild laxative and narcotic. The herb has also been used as a gynecological aid, to promote menstruation and to treat fevers. It has sedative qualities. It may also have anti-cancer qualities. This herb has been used as a tonic to support the systems of the body.

Externally – Puha is used for boils and carbuncles. It can stop bleeding and has been used as a poultice (made from the leaves) and as a remedy for toothache. The latex sap can be used to treat warts.

Other Uses – Puha is eaten raw or cooked in salads or other dishes. The milky sap was used as chewing gum by the Maori people of New Zealand. The latex in the stem contains rubber, but not enough to use commercially. The herb is also used as an insecticide.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Mix with plantain leaves, clover and salt. This decoction should be drunk when the placenta is retained after childbirth.

Parts Used

Stem, leaves, roots, sap – The stem, leaves, root and milky sap are the portions used medicinally.


Pregnant women should not take this herbal remedy due to its emmenogogue qualities. It may cause bleeding and miscarriage. Excessive use of stem juice may cause gastrointestinal cramping and anal irritation. This plant may be mildly toxic, especially if you are sensitive to plants in the daisy family.

Preparation and Dosage

Puha is normally taken as an infusion or decoction. If you use a commercial preparation, follow the directions you find on the label. In formulation, take 10 to 15 grams.

Puha Herbal Remedies Top