Terry gave me a little potted petty spurge which was full grown to about five inches in a few weeks, with green flowers.  I put it outdoors and Mary thought it was a weed, picked it and threw it aside.  I tried to replant it but it was dead.  Apparently it had seeded because in a matter of days there were a dozen baby plants springing up!  They were the genuine thing, yielding a drop of white biologically active sap when a leaf was plucked.

This is Clip One from the on line literature.

Euphorbia peplus (petty spurge,[1][2] radium weed,[2] cancer weed,[2] or milkweed[2]) is a species of Euphorbia, native to most of Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia, where it typically grows in cultivated arable land, gardens, and other disturbed land.[c1][3][4]

Outside of its native range it is very widely naturalised and often invasive, including in Australia, New Zealand, North America, and other countries in temperate and sub-tropical regions.[1]


It is an annual plant growing to between 5–30 cm tall (most plants growing as weeds of cultivation tend towards the smaller end), with smooth hairless stems. The leaves are oval-acute, 1–3 cm long, with a smooth margin. It has green flowers in three-rayed umbels. The glands, typical of the Euphorbiaceae, are kidney-shaped with long thin horns.[4]

This is Clip Two from on line literature on ingenol mebutate.

Medicinal uses

The plant’s sap is toxic to rapidly replicating human tissue, and has long been used as a traditional remedy for common skin lesions, including cancer.[5] The active ingredient in the sap is a diterpene ester called ingenol mebutate. A pharmaceutical-grade ingenol mebutate gel has approval from the US Food and Drug Administration.In four multicenter, randomized, double-blind studies, we randomly assigned patients with actinic keratoses on the face or scalp or on the trunk or extremities to receive ingenol mebutate or placebo (vehicle), self-applied to a 25-cm2 contiguous field once daily for 3 consecutive days for lesions on the face or scalp or for 2 consecutive days for the trunk or extremities. Complete clearance (primary outcome) was assessed at 57 days, and local reactions were quantitatively measured.

In a pooled analysis of the two trials involving the face and scalp, the rate of complete clearance was higher with ingenol mebutate than with placebo (42.2% vs. 3.7%, P<0.001). Local reactions peaked at day 4, with a mean maximum composite score of 9.1 on the local-skin-response scale (which ranges from 0 to 4 for six types of reaction, yielding a composite score of 0 to 24, with higher numbers indicating more severe reactions), rapidly decreased by day 8, and continued to decrease, approaching baseline scores by day 29. In a pooled analysis of the two trials involving the trunk and extremities, the rate of complete clearance was also higher with ingenol mebutate than with placebo (34.1% vs. 4.7%, P<0.001). Local skin reactions peaked between days 3 and 8 and declined rapidly, approaching baseline by day 29, with a mean maximum score of 6.8. Adverse events were generally mild to moderate in intensity and resolved without sequelae.

Ingenol mebutate gel applied topically for 2 to 3 days is effective for field treatment of actinic keratoses. (Funded by LEO Pharma; ClinicalTrials.gov numbers, NCT00742391, NCT00916006, NCT00915551, and NCT00942604.)

So there I was with healthy petty spurge plants and the above info.  I started experimenting on the actinic keratosis on my face.