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Home » Plant infomation

Strychnos nux-vomica  L.


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Botanical Name


Strychnos nux-vomica L.

English Name


Snakewood Strychnine Tree, Poison Nut and Nux-vomica



Strychnos colubrina, Wight., Strychnos ligustrina, Blume.





General Info


A medium-sized tree with a short, crooked, thick trunk, the wood is white hard, close grained, durable and the root very bitter. Branches irregular, covered with a smooth ash-coloured bark; young shoots deep green, shiny; leaves opposite, short stalked, oval, shiny, smooth on both sides, about 4 inches long and 3 broad; flowers small, greeny-white, funnel shape, in small terminal cymes, blooming in the cold season and having a disagreeable smell. Fruit about the size of a large apple with a smooth hard rind or shell which when ripe is a lovely orange colour, filled with a soft white jelly-like pulp containing five seeds covered with a soft woolly-like substance, white and horny internally. The seeds have the shape of flattened disks densely covered with closely appressed satiny hairs, radiating from the centre of the flattened sides and giving to the seeds a characteristic sheen; they are very hard, with a dark grey horny endosperm in which the small embryo is embedded; no odour but a very bitter taste.

Herb Effects

In the mouth it acts as a bitter, increasing appetite; it stimulates peristalsis, in chronic constipation due to atony of the bowel it is often combined with cascara and other laxatives with good effects; stimulant (seed); alleviates spasms (fruit and leaf) and relaxes muscles (root bark).

Herbal Monograph
King's American Dispensatory
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy


Active Ingredients

Strychnine and brucine (these two have toxic properties; strychnine is the most potent alkaloid of this plant); alpha-amyrin, strychnia acid (leaf, seed and root and stem bark); chlorogenic acid, choline, linoleic acid, palmitic acid, xylose (seed); vomicine (fruit).

Chemistry of Active Ingredients
Product Categories






Product Categories
Strychnine 6899-11-2 Not Available C21H22N2O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Brucine 70206-61-0 Not Available C23H26N2O4 Click Here To Enlarge
Chlorogenic acid 327-97-9 3-[3-(3,4-dihydroxyp
cyclohexan e-1-carb
oxylic acid
C16H18O9 Click Here To Enlarge
Choline 67-48-1 2-hydroxyethyl-trime
C5H14NO+ Click Here To Enlarge
Linoleic acid 8024-22-4 octadeca-9,12-dienoi
c acid
C18H32O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Palmitic acid 66321-94-6 hexadecanoic acid C16H32O2 Click Here To Enlarge
Xylose 25990-60-7 oxane-2,3,4,5-tetrol C5H10O5 Click Here To Enlarge
Vomicine 28596-09-0 Not Available C22H24N2O4 Click Here To Enlarge


Medicinal Use

For epilepsy and dysentery (stem bark); as a nervine tonic, in paralysis (due to lead poisoning), neuralgia, chorea, debility, impotence, spermatorrhea, rectal prolapses, blindness, heartburn, incontinence (urinary), rashes (from syphilis and leprosy); to treat fever, lack of digestive power, in atonic dyspepsia (seed powder).


Chandel et al., Biodiversity in Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in India.

The Himalaya Drug Company.

Bentley and Trimen, Medicinal Plants.

Sharma, Classical Uses of Medicinal Plants.



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