The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

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Ipecac

Scientific Names

Ipecac

  • Euphorbia ipecacuanhae L.
  • Madder family

Common Names

  • Wild ipecac

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Parts Usually Used

Leaves, root
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Wild ipecac is a large-rooted perennial with underground stems; the plant grows 3-12 inches tall with a stem that is smooth, succulent. The leaves are inserted at the joints; rounded to linear, green to purple. Solitary flowers are on long stalks; the “cups” have 5 glands, with narrow, white, yellow, green, or purple appendages. Blooms in April to May.
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Where Found

Found in sandy soil; mostly coastal. New Jersey to Florida. Found in southwestern Brazil.
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Medicinal Properties

Emetic, laxative, vermifuge
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Because it induces vomiting, this herb is often abused by teenage girls suffering from bulimia, an eating disorder characterized by gorging and purging.
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Uses

Native Americans used the leaf tea for diabetes; root tea as a strong laxative and emetic, for pinworms, rheumatism; poulticed the root on snakebites. This herb induces vomiting and is therefore a good remedy for food poisoning and other kinds of ingested poisoning.
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How Sold

Sold as Syrup of Ipecac in pharmacies
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Warning

It is not always appropriate to induce vomiting in cases of poisoning. Call your doctor or the local poison alert hotline before inducing vomiting or giving any drug to a poison victim.

Extremely strong laxative. The juice from the fresh plant may cause blistering. The herb is very toxic except in diluted syrup form.

Keep out of the reach of children and teenagers.
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Bibliography

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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