Euphorbia tirucalli (also known as Aveloz, Firestick Plants, Indian Tree Spurge, Naked Lady, Pencil Tree, Sticks on Fire or Milk Bush (Afrikaans Melkbos)is a shrub that grows in semi-arid tropical climates.
It has a wide distribution in Africa, being prominently present in northeastern, central and southern Africa. It may also be native in other parts of the continent as well as some surrounding islands and the Arabian peninsula and has been introduced to many other tropical regions. It is often used to feed cattle or as hedging.
E. tirucalli is a hydrocarbon plant produces a poisonous latex which can, with little effort, be converted to the equivalent of gasoline. This led chemist Melvin Calvin to propose the exploitation of E. tirucalli for producing oil. This usage is particularly appealing because of the ability of E. tirucalli to grow on land that is not suitable for most other crops. Calvin estimated that 10 to 50 barrels of oil per acre was achievable. It has also been used in the production of rubber, but this was not very successful.
E. tirucalli also has uses in traditional medicine in many cultures. It has been used for cancer, excrescence, tumors, and warts in such diverse places as Brazil,India,Indonesia and Malaysia. It has also been used for asthma, cough, earache, neuralgia, rheumatism, toothache, and warts in India and Malaysia.
E. tirucalli has been promoted as an anticancer agent, but research shows that it suppresses the immune system, promotes tumor growth, and leads to the development of certain types of cancer. Euphorbia tirucalli has also been associated with Burkitt’s lymphoma and is thought to be a co-factor of the disease rather than a treatment. Wikipedi