Ipecac or vomit

Rubiaceae – Rubiaceae.

Parts used: root.

Pharmacy name: Ipecacuanha root (vomit) – Ipecacuanhae radix (formerly: Radix Ipecacuanhae).

Botanical description. The birthplace of this evergreen shrub (20-40 cm in height) is the tropical rainforests of Brazil. Numerous adventitious roots and several stems develop from its thin and short rhizome, bearing from 2 to 6 pairs of opposite leaves with short petioles. Some of the adventitious roots thicken and look knotty and ringed. Small 5-membered white flowers are located in capitate inflorescences surrounded by involucre leaves. The fruits are black drupes about the size of a pea.

Collection and preparation. Pharmaceutical raw materials are obtained from nodular thickened adventitious roots. They are dug all year round, the collection is interrupted only during the rainy season. Ipecac is grown specifically in Brazil, India and Malaysia.

Active ingredients: all kinds of alkaloids (emetine, cefelin, psychotrin) and iridoids.

Healing action and application. First of all, it is necessary to say about the emetic action, because of which this plant got its name. In this capacity, ipecac was widely used in medicine in the past, but now this property no longer plays a special role. Its modern use is mainly due to the ability of the main alkaloids of this plant (in small doses) to stimulate secretion. This is an effective cough remedy, which is used when it is necessary to thin out viscous sputum and facilitate expectoration. Doctors still willingly prescribe ipecac tincture with marshmallow syrup for coughs. Numerous ready-made cough suppressants also contain the active ingredients of the emetic root. However, for self-treatment by preparing and using tea, ipecac is not suitable.

Use in homeopathy. Homeopathy uses Ipecacuanha in low dilutions (D 1 and D 1 ) mainly against viscous sputum in the bronchi. With gastrointestinal infections, with summer diarrhea, hay fever, typhoid and paratyphoid, higher dilutions are preferred (D 1 -D 1 .

Side effects. Ipecac powder is very irritating to the skin, causing inflammation and itchy blisters. The eyes and mucous membranes of the respiratory tract are also strongly irritated. Ingestion in larger doses, as already indicated, causes vomiting, so this remedy can be used only as directed by a doctor.

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