Ipecac is a herbaceous plant belonging to the family of Rubiaceae. It reaches more than 40 cm. High, with opposite leaves are up to 7 cm. Long, dark green on the upper surface and lighter on the bottom. It is grown mainly in the rainforests of Brazil, India and Malaysia, other varieties found throughout Central America. It is a plant known since antiquity, especially for his virtues emetic, ie the ease with which to induce vomiting.
Ipecac blooms before summer, collecting the roots when the plant is wilted, as it is at this point that greater concentration is active. The roots are presented in fragments more or less tortuous, with a diameter of between 4 and 10 mm., Depending on the species of origin and age of the plant at the time of collection. The surface is brown and is ringed. The bark is thick, grayish-section and is sometimes seen leaving a visible central ring of small diameter and light brown. These roots can be accompanied by a piece of rhizome. The flavor of the root is a little bitter, somewhat acrid and nauseating.
The active substances in the root of ipecac are several alkaloids found in a proportion that varies between 2 and 4%. They are in the cortex of the root and the main being the emetine and cefelina, which are accompanied by minor amounts of other minor alkaloids.
The following properties ipecac expectorant, emetic and Antiamoebic, due to the action of its alkaloids. The expectorant properties are manifested in low doses by mouth, in higher doses results in severe vomiting, increased the higher the dose. These effects occur through the vomiting center through an irritant action on the gastric mucosa and activation of the trigger zone of the area postrema of the medulla, but the contribution of the latter mechanism to-emetic effect in the doses used for acute poisoning - does not seem very important. Among the alkaloids of ipecacuanha, which presents cefelina is more pronounced emetic properties. As emetic used in syrup form, which must be given together with plenty of water to distend the stomach wall and promote vomiting, usually appear within 20 minutes. As amebicides properties, these are mainly due to emetine. Its mechanism of action works by preventing the multiplication of certain parasites.
Ipecac formerly used in a domestic, not without problems of side effects, so it started to ration its use by unskilled staff. There are currently syrups and other preparations containing ipecac root, but their use must be left to individual experts, ie physicians and pharmacists.
HABITAT: Tropical rainforest Brazil, India and Malaysia
PART USED: Root
CASTILIAN: Raicilla, ipeca
Fort Expectorant, Fort Emetic, Moderate Amebicide.
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