Compilation by Armando Gonzalez Stuart, PhD.
Other Common Name:
Cudweed, cotton grass, rabbit tobacco, white cudweed
Common names in Spanish:
Gordolobo*, chichic tzompotonic, lobito, manzanilla del campo, manzanilla del río, papaconi, tlacochichic, tzompotonic.
*In various parts of Mexico, at least 12 related species of plants belonging to the Gnaphalium or Pseudognaphalium genera are also known by the common name of “gordolobo” (White, 2002).
Where is it found?
This plant grows throughout Northern Mexico and parts of the Southwestern United States (Allred and Ivey, 2012).
Parts of the plant used:
The stem, leaves, and flowers.
How is it used?
The stem and flowers are decocted in water to make a tea. Sometimes, the decoctions are also applied topically as a wash for various skin problems.
What is it used for?
The principal medicinal use of various species of gordolobo is for respiratory ailments including asthma, and bronchitis (Rodríguez-Ramos and Navarrete, 2009). The tea is also taken for colds, catarrh, fever, coughs, laryngitis, sore throat, sinusitis, pneumonia, emphysema. It is also antiseptic and antiviral. The decoction of the plant is applied topically to hemorrhoids as an anti-inflammatory. Everlasting tea promotes venous circulation and treats varicose veins, as well as gastrointestinal problems. Externally it acts as a muscle relaxant, as well as a wash for boils and skin infections. The tea is ingested to treat edemas (swelling) due to heart failure. The decoction is also applied for ear problems (Jiménez, 2012; Quattrocchi, 2012; Mendoza-Castelán and Lugo-Pérez, 2012; Chávez-Castañeda et al., 2003; Argueta, 1994).
In Chile, the leaves and stems of 3 related South American species, G. glandulosum, G. lacteum, and G. vira vira, are taken as a tea to treat coughs, bronchial, and pulmonary problems (Quattrocchi, 2012; Duke et al., 2009).
Certain plants belonging to the genera Gnaphalium and Senecio are included in the same botanical family (Asteraceae) and commonly known in Spanish as gordolobo (Schoenhals, 1988). However, these species contain very toxic and possibly carcinogenic compounds known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are directly toxic to the liver of humans and animals (Stillman et al., 1977).
Safety / Precautions
- Avoid internal use during pregnancy and lactation.
- Due to potential liver toxicity, do not ingest gordolobo tea for extended periods of time.
- People who are allergic to ragweed or other members of the daisy family should consult with a healthcare professional before using this plant.
Before you decide to take any medicinal herb or herbal supplement, be sure to consult with a health care professional first. Avoid self-medication and self-diagnosis: Always be on the safe side!
Allred K, Ivey R. Flora Neomexicana Vol. 3.
Raleigh, NC: Lulu Press; 2012; pp. 166-167.
Argueta, A. (Editor). Plantas Medicinales de Uso Tradicional en la Ciudad de México.
México, D.F.: UNAM; 2014; pp. 67-68
Chávez-Castañeda ML, Franco-Flores I, González MC. Tlaltenco; Tradición Herbolaria y Remedios Caseros. Coapa, Mexico: Ce-Acatl; 2003; p. 40.
Duke J, Bogenschutz-Godwin M, Ottensen R. Duke’s Handbook of Medicinal Plants of Latin America. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2009.
Jiménez A. Herbolaria mexicana 2a ed.
Madrid: Mundi-Prensa; 2012; p. 215.
Mabberley D. Mabberley’s Plant Book 3rd ed.
London: Cambridge University Press; 2008; pp. 365,708.
Mendoza-Castelán G, Lugo-Pérez R. Plantas Medicinales en los Mercados de México.
Chapingo, Estado de México: Universidad Autónoma Chapingo; 2011; pp. 420-421.
Quattrocchi, U. World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants, Vol 5.
Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press; 2012; p. 736.
Rodríguez-Ramos F, Navarrete A. Solving the confusion of gnaphaliin structure: gnaphaliin A and gnaphaliin B identified as active principles of Gnaphalium liebmannii with tracheal smooth muscle relaxant properties. J Nat Prod. 2009;72(6):1061-4.
Schoenhals L. A Spanish-English Glossary of Mexican Flora and Fauna.
Mexico City: Summer Institute of Linguistics: 1988; p. 52.
Stillman AS et al. Hepatic veno-occlusive disease due to pyrrolizidine (Senecio) poisoning in Arizona. Gastroenterology. 1977;73(2):349-52.
White R. Elsevier’s Dictionary of Plant Names of North America Including Mexico.
Amsterdam: Elsevier; 2003; p. 90.