Nux Vomica


Botanical Name : Strychnos Nux-vomica (LINN.)
Family: Loganiaceae
Genus: Strychnos
Species: S. nux-vomica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonyms: Poison Nut. Semen strychnos. Quaker Buttons.
Part Used: Dried ripe seeds.
Habitat: India, in the Malay Archipelago

The Strychnine tree (Strychnos nux-vomica) also known as Nux vomica, is an evergreen tree native to southeast Asia, a member of family Loganiaceae. It grows in open habitats, usually attaining a size about 25 meters tall.

It is a major source of the highly poisonous alkaloid strychnine, derived from the seeds inside the tree’s round, green to orange fruit. However, the tree’s bark also contains poisonous compounds, including brucine.

Description: 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 are removed when ripe, cleansed, dried and sorted; they are exported from Cochin, Madras and other Indian ports. 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.

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Constituents: -Nux Vomica contains the alkaloids, Strychnine and Brucine, also traces of strychnicine, and a glucoside Loganin, about 3 per cent fatty matter, caffeotannic acid and a trace of copper. The pulp of the fruit contains about 5 per cent of loganin together with the alkaloid strychnicine.

General use
Nux vomica is one of the most frequently used homeopathic remedies, especially for acute conditions. Homeopaths prescribe this polychrest for hangovers, back pain, digestive problems, headaches, allergies, colds, flu, emotional stress, constipation, menstrual problems, and hemorrhoids.

Nux vomica affects the nervous system. When taken by a healthy person the remedy causes muscle spasms and cramps, and even convulsions. It affects all five senses and bodily reflexes and causes extreme sensitivity to light, touch, noise, and smells.

Nux vomica is the homeopathic remedy that is created from the seeds of the strychnos nux vomica tree. Also known as poison nut or vomiting nut, this tree is an evergreen tree that is native to East India, Burma, Thailand, China, and Northern Australia.

The tree belongs to the Loganiaceae family and has small flowers and orange colored fruits that are the size of an apple or orange. Inside the fruit are five seeds surrounded by a jelly-like pulp. The ash gray seeds are round and measure 1 in (2.5 cm) in diameter and are .25 in (0.6 cm) thick. The seeds are coated with downy hairs that give them a satiny appearance.

Medicinal Action and Uses: The propertiesof Nux Vomica are substantially those of the alkaloid Strychnine. The powdered seeds are employed in atonic dyspepsia. The tincture of Nux Vomica is often used in mixtures – for its stimulant action on the gastro-intestinal tract. 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. Strychnine, the chief alkaloid constituent of the seeds, also acts as a bitter, increasing the flow of gastric juice; it is rapidly absorbed as it reaches the intestines, after which it exerts its characteristic effects upon the central nervous system, the movements of respiration are deepened and quickened and the heart slowed through excitation of the vagal centre. The senses of smell, touch, hearing and vision are rendered more acute, it improves the pulse and raises blood pressure and is of great value as a tonic to the circulatory system in cardiac failure. Strychnine is excreted very slowly and its action is cumulative in any but small doses; it is much used as a gastric tonic in dyspepsia. The most direct symptom caused by strychnine is violent convulsions due to a simultaneous stimulation of the motor or sensory ganglia of the spinal cord; during the convulsion there is great rise in blood pressure; in some types of chronic lead poisoning it is of great value. In cases of surgical shock and cardiac failure large doses are given up to 1/10 grain by hypodermic injection; also used as an antidote in poisoning by chloral or chloroform. Brucine closely resembles strychnine in its action, but is slightly less poisonous, it paralyses the peripheral motor nerves. It is said that the convulsive action characteristic of strychnine is absent in brucine almost entirely. It is used in pruritis and as a local anodyne in inflammations of the external ear.

The main alkaloids in the seeds are strychnine and brucine. These alkaloids give the seeds their bitter taste. Strychnine by itself is extremely poisonous, but when given in small doses to humans it promotes appetite, aids digestion, and increases the frequency of urination. In the nineteenth century it was used as a central nervous stimulant. In larger doses, however, strychnine produces a loss of appetite, hypersensitivity, depression, anxiety, and rigidity and stiffness of arms and legs. Toxic doses may cause convulsions and death. Some historians think that Alexander the Great died from drinking wine poisoned by strychnine.

Medicinal use of the nut dates back to the middle of the sixteenth century, where it was written about extensively by Valerius Cordus. Germans used the nut as a treatment for worms, rabies, hysteria, rheumatism, gout, and as an antidote for the plague.

Uses in Homeopathy

In homeopathy, Nux-v. — as it is commonly abbreviated — is one of the most commonly prescribed remedies, used for patients who are competitive, ambitious, driven,and irritable.

\The seeds of the tree are ground until powdered then mixed with milk sugar. This solution is then diluted and succussed to create the final preparation.

Nux vomica is available at health food and drug stores in various potencies in the form of tinctures, tablets, and pellets.

If symptoms do not improve after the recommended time period, a homeopath or healthcare practitioner should be consulted.

The recommended dose should not be exceeded, as the strychnine in nux vomica is poisonous. People should be careful to use only preparations made by established manufacturers, as cases of accidental strychnine poisoning from non-homeopathic herbal preparations containing nux vomica have been reported.

Side effects
There are no known side effects at recommended dosages, but individual aggravations may occur.

When taking any homeopathic remedy, use of peppermint products, coffee, or alcohol should be avoided. These products may cause the remedy to be ineffective.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider


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