Xanthium strumarium

Plant Name: Xanthium strumarium

Hawaiian Name: KÏKÄNIA

English Name: Cocklebur

Family: Asteraceae (Daisy Family)

Status in Hawai’i: Alien. Moderate pest factor. Take it all!

Where it grows in Hawai’i: Dry side. Cow pastures and disturbed areas.

Part Used:Fruit or whole plant


  • Kïkänia is used in Chinese and Native American traditional medicines for rheumatic joint pains, muscle spasms, and itching.

  • It is a good choice for bladder infections, particularly those with blood in the urine. (Always get professional medical help before attempting to treat bleeding)

  • Kïkänia can be used for hay-fever and sinus headaches with discharge. It is also used for headaches at the back of the skull.

  • In Western herbalism it is used for excess sweating, excess phlegm in the lungs, and yellow diarrhea. It was used by the Iraquois for witchcraft, the Lakota in ceremonies, and was considered a “cure all” by the Rappahannock.

Cautions: Mildly toxic. Cook well to help detoxify the plant. Overdose may cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain. Use under professional supervision.