Strychnos nux-vomica Linn.

Family : Loganiaceae; Strychnaceae.

Strychnos nux-vomica

Habitat Tropical India up to an altitude of 360 m.

English Nux vomica.

Ayurvedic Kapilu, Kaakatinduka, Kaakendu, Kaakapiluka, Vishamushtikaa, Vishamushti, Vishatinduka, Kuchilaa, Ksuchalaa.

Unani Azaraaqi, Kuchlaa.

Siddha Yettikkottai.


Strychnos nux-vomica 2

Action Nervine tonic and a potent CNS stimulant. Seeds—used in emotional disorders, insomnia, hysteria, epilepsy, paralytic and neurological affections, retention or nocturnal incontinence of urine, spermatorrhoea, sexual debility and impotence, general exhaustion; as antidote to alcoholism; GIT disorders. Bark—juice given in acute dysentery, diarrhoea and colic. Root—given in intermittent fevers. In Chinese medicine a paste made of Nux vomica seeds is applied topically for treating facial paralysis.

Included among unapproved herbs by German Commission E.

The Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia of India recommends detoxified seeds in paralysis, facial paralysis, sciatica and impotency.


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The seeds contain indole alkaloids, the major one is strychnine (approx. 50% of the alkaloids); others include strychnine N-oxide, brucine and its N-oxide, alpha-and beta-colubrine, condylocarpine, diaboline, geissoschizine, icajine, isostrychnine, normacusine, novacine, pseudobrucine, pseudo-alpha-colubrine, pseudo-beta-colubrine, pseudostrychnine and vomicine (3 hydro beta colubrine). Loga nm is also present. Pseudostrychnine is non-toxic. The alkaloidal content of the seeds ranges from 1.8 to 5.3%.


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The leaves contain strychnine and brucine (together 1.6%), strychnine 0.025%; vomicine is the major constituent of leaves. The bark contains 9.9% total alkaloids (brucine 8%, strychnine 1.58%); pseudostrychnine, pseudobrucine and beta- colubrine in small amounts. The roots contain 0.99% alkaloids (brucine 0.28%, strychnine 0.71%).Strychnine, when tested for antiulcer activity in shay rat model at a dose of 0.25 mg/kg body weight, complete absence of ulceration was observed which was comparable to cimetidine. Exhausted Nux-vomica powder at a dose of 20 mg/kg body weight, and brucine at a dose of 0.25 mg/kg body weight gave protection similar to strychnine.


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Orally, 30—50 mg Nux-vomica (5 mg strychnine) is toxic.

Dosage Detoxified seed—60— 125 mg.

Medicinal plants of India ; Ayurveda

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