LATIN NAME: Ipecacuanha
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: The Ipecacuanha shrub, native to Central and South America, was named by Portuguese colonists, who called it “roadside sick-making plant” in recognition of its ability to induce vomiting. Varying doses of its root can produce a variety of symptoms that includes mild appetite stimulation, sweating, expectoration, vomiting, gastritis, inflammation of the lungs, and cardiac failure. Other health disorders can display symptoms similar to those of mild ipecac poisoning, and it is these symptoms that homeopathic practitioners hope to counteract when they prescribe ipecac. The homeopathic remedy is made from the root, the most potent part of the plant. The root is dried and then ground into coarse powder, which is diluted either in milk sugar, as a dry substance or in a water-alcohol base. Both preparations are weakened to a nontoxic level. For information on homeopathic medicine, see page 1027.
TARGET AILMENTS: Persistent nausea, vomiting, motion sickness; menstrual problems; asthma; dry, irritating cough accompanied by wheezing; diarrhea, flu with nausea, colic, gastroenteritis. (Take internally.)
SIDE EFFECTS: None expected.