ipecacuanha

(redirected from ipecacuanhas)
Also found in: Dictionary, Medical.

ipecacuanha

, 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Ipecacuanha

 

(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.

REFERENCE

Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.