KAJRA, Strychnos nux-vomica


Latin name:  Strychnos nux-vomica

English names: nux vomica, poison nut, Quaker buttons, strychnine tree

Sanskrit name: Kunchala, Kajra

Medicinal parts used: Seeds

Strychnos nux-vomica is the name of an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, especially India and Myanmar, and cultivated elsewhere. Its dried seeds or beans, and sometimes its bark (called nux vomica) are used in herbal remedies. The seeds contain organic substances, strychnine and brucine, that are used in herbal remedies.

The seeds of the Strychnos nux-vomica tree are removed from the ripened berries of the tree and dried in the sun. Sometimes they are heated or further processed, which may reduce the amount of poison in the seeds. Various herbal preparations are made from the dried seeds.

Therapeutic use:

  • In herbal medicine, it is recommended for liver cancer, upset stomach, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, intestinal irritation, hangovers, heartburn, insomnia, certain heart diseases, circulatory problems, eye diseases, depression, migraine headaches, nervous conditions, problems related to menopause, and respiratory diseases in the elderly.
  • In folk medicine, it is used as a healing tonic and appetite stimulant.
  • It is used in Chinese herbal medicine to unblock channels and obstructions, reduce swelling, alleviate pain, and to treat abscesses and yin-type ulcers.
  • It is useful in general weakness and local inflammation and chronic diarrhoea.
  • It is used in circulatory failure and to increase the heart beat and blood pressure. It improves the pulse and used in heart failure. It is administered through hypodermic injection.
  • It is a potent antioxidant and the mechanism of action could be through the scavenging of free radicals.
  • It is said to be more beneficial in general paralysis and paraplegia than in hemiplegia, and also in local paralyses, as of the bladder, in amaurosis, impotence, spermatorrhoea, tremor of the muscles produced by habitual intoxication, etc

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