Jacobaea vulgaris Gaertn. - syn.Senecio jacobea L. - Asteraceae
(common) ragwort, St.James-wort, Jacobs-Greiskraut, Jacobskreuzkraut
Erect biennial or perennial herb, 0.30-1(-1.50)m high, native to Europe, West Asia, naturalized in America, Australia; leaves parted, lower ones petioled; flowers golden-yellow, 15-20mm across.
„The hepatotoxic alkaloids known to occur in tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.) are also present in honey produced from the nectar of this species. These alkaloids, which inclued senecionine, seneciphylline, jacoline, jaconine, jacobine, and jacozine, are potentially carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic and may pose health hazards to the human consumer.“
[Pyrrolizidine alkaloids: their occurrence in honey from tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea L.)., Deinzer, M.L., Thomson, P.A., Burgett, D.M., Isaacson, D.L., Science, 195(4277), 1977, 497-499]
„Dried tansy ragwort, which contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, was fed as 25% of a complete diet to goat kids and to lactating dairy goats. Of 11 animals, 4 died, showing signs of chronic pyrrolizidine alkaloid poisoning, including hepatocellular degeneration, hepatocyte swelling, megalocytosis, and bile duct proliferation. The chronic lethal dose of the dried, ground plant ranged from 1.2 to 4 kg/kg of body weight. Goats were more resistant to tansy ragwort toxicosis than cattle and horses, in which intakes of 0.05 to 0.20 kg/kg of body weight are lethal.“
[Toxicity of tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) to goats., Goeger, D.E., Cheeke, P.R., Schmitz, J.A., Buhler, D.R., American journal of veterinary research, Vol.43(2), 1982, 252-254]
Plants contain jacobine (41-100% of total PA), seldom jacoline (45%) as main PA.
„Plants were classified as jacobine, erucifoline, mixed or senecionine chemotypes based on presence and absence of the PAs jacobine or erucifoline. Due to the presence of jacobine, total PA concentration in jacobine chemotypes was higher than in erucifoline chemotypes… Most populations consisted either of the jacobine chemotype or of the erucifoline chemotype, sometimes in combination with mixed or senecionine chemotypes.“
[Variation in pyrrolizidine alkaloid patterns of Senecio jacobaea., Macel, M., Vrieling, K., Klinkhamer, P.G., Phytochemistry, Vol.65(7), 2004, 865-873]
The dried aboveground parts were formerly used in traditional medicine to treat pain and inflammation (externally as poultice). As the plant contain liver-toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids it is no longer considered safe.
[Medicinal Plants of the World. Ben-Erik Van Wyk and Michael Wink, Pretoria 2004, 297]
Fuchs, L., New Kreüterbuch, t.425 (1543)
Senecio jacobea © Rolf Marschner (2017), www.botanische-spaziergaenge.at