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, ipecac
1. a low-growing South American rubiaceous shrub, Cephaelis ipecacuanha
2. a drug prepared from the dried roots of this plant, used as a purgative and emetic
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Cephaëlis ipecacuanha ), a small shrub of the family Rubiaceae, growing wild in Brazil’s tropical rainforests and cultivated in the tropics of both hemispheres. The stem length is 15–40 cm and can be as much as 60 cm. The leaves are opposite; the small flowers are gathered into hemispherical heads; and the roots have beadlike bulges. Ipecacuanha roots (and the roots of C. acuminata, which are similar in chemical composition) contain 2–3 percent alkaloids (emetine, cephaeline, and others) and are used in medicine as an expectorant. They are used to make extracts, water and alcohol infusions, and syrups. In small doses they cause thinning and discharge of phlegm; in large doses they act as an emetic.


Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
At its annual 2003 meeting, the AAP changed its long-standing recommendation on the use of syrup of ipecac. Parents should no longer have a bottle at home.
Kornberg and Dolgin (1991) performed a prospective randomized study that examined the use of syrup of ipecac before activated charcoal in one group of pediatric ingestions, versus the use of activated charcoal alone.
The family should also have a bottle of syrup of ipecac. Ask the parents to show you where they keep the ipecac.
The ideal scenario for using syrup of ipecac is the case in which a parent walks in, sees his or her 3-year-old eating large quantities of aspirin, and calls your office in a panic.
Post the poison control number in a visible location; keep syrup of ipecac available if needed; educate your children; etc.
The study reports, "In several cases, caregivers who had previously administered syrup of ipecac at home stated that they preferred activated charcoal because of the lack of persistent vomiting and associated mess."
A study of over 55,000 cases of children under 6-years-old who swallowed a drug found that over 90% of the cases could be managed at home if there was syrup of ipecac in the home.
Syrup of ipecac is easy to give to a child because it requires a small dose and has a mild taste.
Is it better to use syrup of ipecac or activated charcoal in cases of accidental poisonings?
Over 50% of the providers said they had syrup of ipecac on hand, but only half of them could locate the bottle and read the label to the interviewer.
Keep syrup of ipecac on hand, in case your physician or poison control center instructs you to give it to your child to induce her to vomit and clear her stomach.
Syrup of ipecac, which is available over-the-counter, is the drug usually used to produce vomiting.