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Ageratina adenophora (Buds).jpg
Sticky Snakeroot (Ageratina adenophora)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Supertribe: Helianthodae
Tribe: Eupatorieae
Genus: Ageratina

About 250; see text.

Ageratina (snakeroot) is a genus of more than 330[1][2][3][4] perennials and rounded shrubs in the family Asteraceae.

These plants grow mainly in the warmer regions of the Americas and West Indies. Over 150 species are native to Mexico.[5] Some flourish in the cooler areas of the eastern United States. Two Mexican species have become a pest in parts of Australia and Taiwan.[4] Ageratina used to belong to the genus Eupatorium, but it has been reclassified.

The genus name Ageratina means "like Ageratum"[6] and consists of Ageratum and -ina, the feminine form of the Latin adjectival suffix -inus.


The inflorescence consists of multiple fluffy, red or pinkish-white capitula in clusters. These lack the typical ray flowers of the composites.

They have multiple, much-branched woody stems. The petioles are rather long. The leaves are triangular, serrate and opposite with a foul-smelling, musky scent.



Milk from cows that have eaten snakeroot can cause illness if ingested because the milk becomes toxic. Symptoms of milk sickness include vomiting.

Medicinal Use[edit]

Ageratina pichinchensis is a traditional Mexican treatment for superficial fungal infections of the skin. These plant extracts contain encecalin which has activity to inhibit and kill the fungus. Studies have compared its effectiveness in treating toenail fungus with ciclopirox.[8][9][10]

Long used in India to treat snakebite, epilepsy, mental disorders. It was also discovered to be useful in regulating hypertension discovered in 1949, but it causes various side effects. Used to treat schizophrenia due to the alkaloid reserpine it contains.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ageratina". The Plant List. Version 1.1. 2013. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  2. ^ Nesom, Guy L. (2006). "Ageratina". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 21. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  3. ^ Ulloa Ulloa, Carmen; Jørgensen, Peter Møller. "Ageratina". Árboles y arbustos de los Andes del Ecuador [Trees and shrubs of the Andes of Ecuador] (in Spanish) – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  4. ^ a b Peng, Ching-I; Chung, Kuo-Fang; Li, Hui-Lin. "Ageratina". Flora of Taiwan – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  5. ^ a b c d e Turner, B. L. (2010). "Four new species of Ageratina (Asteraceae): Eupatorieae) from Oaxaca, Mexico" (PDF). Phytologia. 92 (3): 388–99. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011.
  6. ^ Keil, David J. (2012). "Ageratina". In Jepson Flora Project. Jepson eFlora. The Jepson Herbarium, University of California, Berkeley.
  7. ^ Turner, B. L. (2010). "Ageratina villarrealii (Asteraceae: Eupatorieae), A new species from Sierra de Zapaliname, Coahuila, Mexico" (PDF). Phytologia. 92 (3): 362–65. Archived from the original (PDF) on July 27, 2011.
  8. ^ "Snakeroot leaf extract, proven as toenail fungus natural treatment". May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-06-02.
  9. ^ Romero-Cerecero, Ofelia; Román-Ramos, Rubén; Zamilpa, Alejandro; Jiménez-Ferrer, Jesús Enrique; Rojas-Bribiesca, Gabriela; Tortoriello, Jaime (2009). "Clinical trial to compare the effectiveness of two concentrations of the Ageratina pichinchensis extract in the topical treatment of onychomycosis". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 126 (1): 74–78. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.08.007. PMID 19683043.
  10. ^ Romero-Cerecero, Ofelia; Zamilpa, Alejandro; Jiménez-Ferrer, Jesús; Rojas-Bribiesca, Gabriela; Román-Ramos, Rubén; Tortoriello, Jaime (2008). "Double-Blind Clinical Trial for Evaluating the Effectiveness and Tolerability ofAgeratina pichinchensisExtract on Patients with Mild to Moderate Onychomycosis. A Comparative Study with Ciclopirox". Planta Medica. 74 (12): 1430–1435. doi:10.1055/s-2008-1081338. PMID 18671197.

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