Family ► Rubiaceae.
Habitat ► Native to tropical America. Now cultivated in Darjeeling, Assam, in the Nilgiris, and in Sikkim.
English ► Ipecac, Ipecacuanha.
Action ► Root—Antiprotozal, expectorant (in low doses), diaphoretic, emetic (in high doses); used in amoebic dysentery, stubborn cough, whopping cough (for liquefying bronchial phlegm).
Key application ► As expectorant, emetic. (The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia.)
The root contains isoquinoline alkaloids (consisting mainly of emetine and cephaeline); tannins (ipecacuanha and ipecacuanhic acid; glycosides including a monoterpene isoquinoline derivative); saponins; a mixture of gly-coproteins; starch; choline; resins.
The alkaloids are clinically useful in the treatment of amoebiasis.
Emetine and cephaeline are emetic due to their irritating effect on stomach; cephaeline is more toxic. Emetine is a standard antiamoebic principle. In smaller doses, both are expectorant.
The fluid extract is 14 times stronger than the syrup of the crude drug. The powder is toxic at 1-2 g.
Emetine accumulates in liver, lungs, kidneys and spleen; traces are detectable after 40-60 days. (Francis Brinker.)
Family ► Caesalpinaceae. Habitat ► Cultivated in Punjab. English ► Locust Bean; St. John's Bread, Carob tree.
Unani ► Kharnub Shaami.
Action ► Pod and husk from seed— antidiarrhoeal (stools in gastroenteritis and colitis are known to solidify within 48 h).
The pods contain tannin from 0.88 to 4.09%.
Pulp of the pod contains 30-70% sugars, fats, starch, protein, amino acids, gallic acid; leucoanthocyanins and related phenolics. Leaves contain catechols.
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