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  • Ipecacuanha (Psychotria ipecacuanha) of family Rubiaceae is a flowering plant, the root of which is most commonly used to make syrup of ipecac, a powerful emetic. Its name comes from the Tupi i-pe-kaa-guéne, translated as 'road-side sick-making plant'. It is native to Brazil.
  • Ipecac’s major constituents are the alkaloids emetine and cephaline. The roots also contain tannins and small amounts of anthraquinone glycosides.3 The alkaloids have several important actions, including activation of brain centers that can induce vomiting, inhibition of the sympathetic nervous system, and inhibition of protein synthesis.


  • Ipecac is a remedy of first importance in many respiratory disorders. These conditions are similar to those indicating its employment in gastro-intestinal diseases, viz., irritation, capillary engorgement, and hypersecretion. Thus, associated with the special sedatives and asclepias and bryonia, if necessary, it is a very valuable agent, in hoarseness or congestion of the vocal cords, broncho-pulmonary congestion from colds, irritable and spasmodic coughs, and in the early stage of acute catarrhal affections, dyspnoea of pregnancy, and pertussis


  • The world trade in the areas of plant based raw materials for the pharmaceuticals, drugs, perfumery items, cosmetics is fast and increasing as evidenced by trade statistics. Although, India exported and imported large number of medicinal plants, phytopharmaceuticals and their derivatives, its share in the world trade has been rather insignificant.
  • Medicinal plants assumed commercial significance since millennia, but it is only during the last few decades that this significance has increased remarkably with the growing production as well as popularity of herbal drugs, herbal cosmetics and nutraceuticals.
  • While 80% of the world population still uses traditional medicines, in the developed countries the interest in alternative medicines has increased by 60% since 1989. In the US, consumer use of herbal products was less than 5% in 1991 which increased to about 50% in 2004.

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