Kupilu, Poison Nut (Strychnos nux-vomica) - Properties, Benefits, Dosage
Description of Plant
Kupilu (Strychnos nux-vomica) is medium sized tree with short and crooked trunk. Wood of the tree is close grained, white colored, very hard and durable. Plant bears irregular branches that are covered with smooth and ash grey colored bark; young shoots of the tree are dark green in color. Leaves are simple opposite, oval about 4 inch long and 3 inch broad, shiny and smooth from both upper and lower surface. Flowers are very small, greenish white and funnel shaped. Flowers are arranged in small terminal cymes and flowers of this plant have very disagreeable odor. Fruits are lovely orange colored, about the size of large apple and surrounded by hard rind or covering. Flesh of the fruit is soft and white with jelly like substance covered 5 seeds with soft woolly covering. After ripening of fruit seeds are removed from fleshy pulp. Seeds are flattened disc shaped covered by hairs from the center of the sides. Hard and dark grey colored seeds are cleaned, dried, sorted and purified for medicinal purposes.
Kupilu is native to tropical and sub-tropical regions of South East Asia and Australia. In India it is distributed in moist deciduous and semi evergreen forests of Maharashtra widely spreading across Konkani and shayadri foothills of Western Ghats up to altitude of 400mts.
Strychinine tree, nux vomica, nux vomique, poisonous nut, semen strychnous, nux vom, vishamushti and quaker buttons are common names of Nux vomica. Kapilu is well known poisonous plant in Indian ayurvedic medicine system. It is described under upvisha gana in Ayurveda. From the ancient times strychnine found in this herb is considered as folk medicine for treating numerous disorders. According to acharya charka poison of this herb is used as brilliant drug after purification (shodhana). But in higher doses it acts like a poison.
Seeds of this herb are aphrodisiac, appetizers, digestive, purgative and stimulant in nature. In Ayurveda after purification it is used to prepare numerous formulations. Major chemical compounds available in this plant are:
- Loganic acid
During 17th century in England this poisonous herb is used to destroy superfluous animals. In present times a number of preparations from this herb like oil, tincture, powder and liquid extract are used to treat number of disorders.
Special note about Nux Vomica
Kuchla is a poisonous herb and for its medicinal uses purification of Kuchla is necessary. Its purification methods are described below:-
- Kuchla seeds are wrapped in cotton cloth and these seeds are dipped in cow's milk and boil them for three hours. After 3 hours of boiling seed are crushed and skin of the seeds are removed. Again these seeds are boiled in cow's milk for next 7 days. After 7 days of purified seeds are fried in dhee and powered.
- For the emergency use, Kuchla seeds are fried in ghee at low flame till color of seeds becomes yellow. Take out these fried seeds and remove outer skin and grind this hot pulp immediately for medicinal use.
- Kingdom - Plantae
- Order - Gentianales
- Family - Loganinaceae
- Hindi name - Kuchla
- English name - Nux vomica
- Telugu name - Mushini ginjalu, Mushti vittulu
- Bengali name - Kunchila
- Marathi name - Kajara
- Gujarati name - Jherkuchla, Zerkochala
- Tamil name - Yettikottai
- Malayalam name - Kajjeel
- Arabian name - Ajaraki, Habbul gurav
- Parse name - Kuchula, Phuloosemaahi
- Botanical Name - Strychnos nuxvomica
|Hindi / Sanskrit||English|
|Rasa||Tikta, Katu||Taste||Bitter, Pungent|
|Vipaka||Katu||Metabolic Property (After Digestion)||Pungent|
Effects on Dosha
It balances vata and kapha dosha and it aggravates pitta dosha.
|Charak Samhita||Sushrut Samhita|
Ancient Verse about Nux-Vomica
The Bhavprakash nighantu Twenty Eighth edition of 2010: verse 66-68, page no-556.
It states that tinduk, jalad, dhirgpatrak, kapilu, kulak, kaaktinduk, kaakpiluk, kaakendu, vishtindu and markattinduk all are synonyms of nux vomica. This herb is bitter in taste with cold effects. It possesses light properties, aggravates vata dosha and causes delirium. It causes intoxication and it act as absorbent. It is used to cure pitta and kapha dosha and very effective for treating bleeding disorders.
The Bhavprakash nighantu with elaborated Hindi commentary by Padmashri prof. K.C.Chunekar, edited by Late Dr. G.S.Pandey: Twenty Eighth edition of 2010: Amradiphala varga; verse 66-68, page no-556.
Practical uses of Nux Vomica
- Poultice of leaves of nux vomica are used for treating chronic ulcers and wounds for quick healing while decoction of leaves are very beneficial for paralytic complaints. Pulp of the fruit applied externally to relieve paralysis.
- Root of this herb is used in the treatment of cholera, intermittent fever and poisoning caused by venomous bites.
- Seeds are good appetizers, used in stimulation of digestive fire and used to reduce abdominal colic and very beneficial in other abdominal disorders and to cure piles.
- Roots of this herb act as anthelminthic and very effective in treating worm infestation.
- It is also used to treat various mental disorders like anxiety, delirium, convulsions, nerve debility, hysteria and epilepsy.
- It is also used for treating urine retention and nocturnal urine incontinence.
- In males this herb is used for treating erectile dysfunction, sexual debility, general exhaustion, spermatorrhoea and impotence.
- External paste of nux vomica seeds are used in the treatment of facial paralysis.
- Diabetes is major problem these days and this herb is used to lower down high sugar level of blood.
- It is used to pacify vata and kapha dosha.
- Dried ripe seeds
- Oral dose of 30-50mg seeds are toxic in nature
- 60-125mg dose of purified seeds is recommended.
- Oil - 3-5 drops
Nux vomica is not recommended for more than one week. It is not safe for pregnant and lactating mothers. Strychnine in nux-vomica causes complete damage to liver. Its higher dose may cause various side effects that may include:-
- Jaw and neck spasm
- Neck and back stiffness
- Renal failure
- Finally causes death
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