Drugs A - Z
Gumweed (Grindelia camporum)
Generic Name: Grindelia
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Asteraceae (family), August flower, California gumplant, grindelia, Grindelia camporum, Grindelia robusta, Grindeliae herba, Grindelie, gum plant, gumplant, gum weed, hardy grindelia, rosin weed, scaly grindelia, tar weed, tarweed.
Gumweed is a traditional medicine of California Native Americans, such as the Chumash people. Gumweed was used clinically from the 1880s until 1960 in the United States and the United Kingdom for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and poison ivy rash. Gumweed use in clinics was discontinued in 1960 when a new law required medicines to have proven efficacy in clinical trials. The plant contains grindelane diterpenoids of unknown pharmacological activity.
There are no high quality trials supporting the use of gumweed for asthma, bronchitis, dermatitis, or any other condition. High quality clinical trials of gumweed are needed in these areas.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Asthma, blood purification, bronchial irritation, bronchitis, burns, colds, coughs, diuretic, laxative, lice, mouth and throat inflammation, pain, rash, skin diseases, sores, tonic, wounds.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for gumweed. Traditionally, 2 grams of chopped or powdered gumweed, or 2 milliliters of the fluid extract has been used.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for gumweed in children, and use is not recommended.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to gumweed.
Side Effects and Warnings
Based on 80 years of clinical experience and thousands of years of use by California Native Americans, gumweed has a low rate of adverse effects in most healthy people, although this has not been confirmed by clinical trials. Side effects may include slowed heart rate, increased blood pressure, central nervous system depression (in large doses), or lung or kidney irritation.
Plant preparations should not be used in the eye since they may contain bacteria or fungi. Bacteria and fungi can erode the cornea leading to the need for corneal transplants or the loss of vision. Dropping a solution of gumweed in ethanol onto the eye is not recommended due to the possibility of ethanol (alcohol) irritating the eye.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Gumweed is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Taking any alcohol and gumweed preparation is not recommended in pregnant women because alcohol may cause the fetal alcohol syndrome (birth defects).
Interactions with Drugs
Gumweed may decrease the effects of some antihypertensives (drugs that lower blood pressure), since it may increase blood pressure. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, as dosing may need monitoring.
Gumweed may increase the effects of some diuretics, since it may increase urine production.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Gumweed may decrease the effects of antihypertensive (blood pressure lowering) herbs such as Rauwolfia serpentina. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, as dosing may need monitoring.
Gumweed may increase the effects of diuretic herbs such as juniper.
Theoretically, gumweed may have additive effects with selenium supplements, since the plant may contain significant amounts of selenium. Too much selenium can interfere with keratin biosynthesis and has other toxic mechanisms as well.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): James David Adams, Jr., PhD (USC School of Pharmacology); J. Katherine Bryan, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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Anonymous. The therapeutic effects of Gindelia robusta. Lancet 1890;135:565.
Calderone V, Chericoni S, Martinelli C, et al. Vasorelaxing effects of flavonoids: investigation on the possible involvement of potassium channels. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol 2004;370:290-298.
Canavan D, Yarnell E. Successful treatment of poison oak dermatitis treated with Grindelia spp. (Gumweed). J Altern Complement Med 2005;11(4):709-710.
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Strike SS. Ethnobotany of the California Indians volume 2. Aboriginal uses of California's indigenous plants. 1994.
Timmermann BN, Hoffmann JJ, Jolad SD, et al. Diterpenoids and flavonoids from Grindelia discoidea. Phytochem 1986;25:723-727.
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Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.