Strychnos nuxvomica L.

Strychnos nuxvomica L.  (LOGANIACEAE)
Common names
Kannada: Hemmushti, Kasaraka.
Tulu: Kayar.
Malayalam: Kanjiram.
Sanskrit: Dirghapatra, Vishamushti.
Tamil: Etti, Kanjirai.
Telugu: Mushti, Mushidi.

Description:  Large deciduous trees, up to 30 m tall with short sharp axillary spines; bark thin, grey, smooth or rough with lenticels. Leaves broadly elliptic or orbicular, 7-15 x 4-8 cm, attenuate at base, obtuse or acute at apex, glabrous and shining; basal nerves 3-5; nerves distinctly looped along the margins; petioles 0.6 – 1.3 cm long. Flowers numerous in 2-5 cm long terminal pedunculate pubescent compound cymes, greenish white, scent of fenugreek. Calyx pubescent outside, lobes 5. Corolla-tube cylindric, lobes 5, hairy inside below. Stamens 5; filaments short. Ovary ovoid, 2-locular; style glabrous; stigma capitate. Fruit a berry, globose, ca 5 cm in diam., smooth, orange-red. Seeds 3-4, flat, discoid, ca 1.8 cm in diam., much compressed, grey.

Flowering & Fruiting : March – June.

Distribution: India: Almost throughout. Western Ghats, W. Coast, Deccan  in deciduous forests, up to 1300 m.  Sri Lanka.

Uses: Wood white, turning yellowish grey, hard, close grained, used for various purposes. Nuxvomica is useful as an insecticide to kill vermin in fields. Root febrifuge, anticholerin; stem-bark and wood anticholerin, used in epilepsy, dysentery, fever and dyspepsia; leaf applied as a poultice on wounds and ulcers; fruit diuretic emmenagogue, appetizer, tonic, antiparalytic, astringent, antirheumatic, used in fever, jaundice, leucoderma, diseases of blood, piles, ulcers, anaemia, lumbago, ringworm; seed tonic, stimulant, febrifuge, emetic, used in nervous disorders, colic and forms a constituent of medical preparations for the scalp.  It is used in “Samirgaja Kesari” prescribed in the diseases of nervous system, in ‘Shul Heran Yoga’ prescribed for diarrhoea and in ‘Vishva-tapa Haran Ras’ given for fevers. The seeds are deadly poisonous but are not used as such. In indigenous systems, for internal use, the seeds repeatedly boiled in cow’s urine or milk, the seed-coat and embryo are removed and the dry powdered kernel is incorporated in the medicine.