Herbs & Plants

Ipomoea purga

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Botanical Name :Ipomoea purga
Family: Convolvulaceae – Morning-glory family
Genus :Ipomoea L. – morning-glory
Species: Ipomoea purga (Wender.) Hayne – jalap
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Asteridae
Order: Solanales

Synonyms: Convolvulus purge Wender.; Ipomoea schiedeana Zucc.; Exogonium purge (Wender.) Benth. y Convolvulus officinalis Pelletan. and Convolvulus Pelletan officinalis.

Common Names:The purge, jalap, jalap root, lemongrass and umbrella (McDonald, 1994: Martinez, 1979), black Mechoacan. Tolompatl, tlanoquiloni and camotic in Nahuatl, Totonac language suyu (Martinez, 1979).

Habitat : Ipomoea purga is native to Mexico and it is naturalized in other parts of the neotropics. It grows on  woodland on the eastern slopes of the Mexican Andes.

Ipomoea purga is a Perennial herb, lying on the ground and entangled in other plants. Size: The stems of up to 7 m long.

Stem: Branching, smooth, twining climbing, green or purple, without hairs.

Leaves: Alternate, ovate, up to 12.5 cm long and 7.7 cm wide, slightly pointed, the margins entire, base cordate to aflechada, without hairs. Los pecíolos de hasta 6 cm de largo, lisos, sin pelillos. Petioles up to 6 cm long, smooth, without hairs.

Inflorescencia: De 1 a 2 flores sobre largos pedúnculos, en las axilas de las hojas. Inflorescence: 1 to 2 flowers on long stems in the axils of the leaves.

Flowers: The calyx of 5 sepals dark green, overlapping one another, somewhat unequal, the outer slightly larger than the interior, up to 10 mm long and up to 7 mm wide, the apex with a tiny notch, margins are integers and somewhat translucent; the corolla magenta-purple, trumpet-shaped tube (up to 6 cm long) very thin (slightly swollen at its middle), which widens towards the apex abruptly forming an almost limbo circular, slightly 5-angled (up to 6 cm in diameter), without hairs, stamens 5 somewhat unequal, exceeding the corolla, the filaments white, without hairs, style white, slightly longer than the stamens, without hairs.


Nuts and seeds: dried fruit, a capsule conical, up to 10 mm long and up to 8 mm wide, without hairs, which opens at maturity to release seeds. Las semillas 4, negras, globoso-triangulares, cubiertas de pelillos. Seeds 4, black, globose-triangular, covered with hairs.

Root: It has a swollen root, up to 10 cm in diameter, and additionally a small tuberculitos.

Click to see the pictuires :

Ipomoea purga is rather difficult to break down, but if triturated with cream of tartar, sugar of milk, or other hard salts, the process of pulverization is much easier, and the powder rendered much finer. When in powder form in order to ingest, the color is a pale grayish-brown.

Ipomoea purga was discovered by Spanish conquistadores while settling among Mexican native peoples. It was introduced to Europe in 1565 as a medical herb used to treat an array of illnesses up until the 19th century when better medical practices had been discovered.
Requires a well-drained humus-rich soil in a sunny position. This species is not very frost tolerant, though it might be possible to grow it outdoors in a very sheltered position in the mildest areas of Britain. Either cut the plant back or thin out the shoots in the spring. 218245

Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. Semi-ripe cuttings in the summer.

Chemical constituents:
Ipomoea purga resin can be dissolved in either alcohol or diethyl ether. The resin that is insoluble in ether is odorless while the resin insoluble in alcohol does have an odor and is typically a brownish color. The convolvulinolic acid (C28H52O14)that is produced in Ipomoea purga can be broken down into a sugar molecule (C6H12O6) and a form of crystallized convolvulinolic acid (C16H30O3) when diluted.

Medicinal Uses;
Jalap is such a powerful cathartic that its medicinal value is questionable.  Even in moderate doses it stimulates the elimination of profuse watery stools, and in larger doses it causes vomiting.When applied to a wound, it is said to induce purgation.

The tuber is a resinous acrid herb with an unpleasant taste that is often used as a purgative. It is taken internally in the treatment of constipation, colic and intestinal parasites. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Disclaimer : 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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