Although the word “xanthium” may conjure up visions of the exotic Far East, it is the generic name of spiny cocklebur (Xanthium spinosum L. #3 XANSP) and common cocklebur (X. strumarium L. # XANST). A familiar weed of fields and roadsides, cocklebur may have originated in the Mediterranean region and has plagued farmers and shepherds since Biblical times. Common cocklebur was considered a beneficient herb in ancient times. Its roots, seeds, and leaves were used as a diuretic and as a tonic to purify the blood. North American Indians used the leaves of spiny cocklebur to counteract hydrophobia.