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The Use of Emetic Nut Tree in Ayurveda Panchakarma

Posted May 07 2010 5:55am
Found in the lower Himalayan tracts and Sri Lanka, the function of the emetic nut tree is exactly what its name says – it is used in the emesis therapy in Ayurveda. According to Ayurveda scripts, the fruit (nut) of this tree is the safest available drug for emesis. In order to clean the stomach, the rind of the fruit is collected and dipped in water overnight. The leachate is then given internally, the next morning, to induce vomiting. It is, however, always used under supervision from the health care provider.

Botanical name: Randia dumetorum or Catunaregum spinosa
Family: Rubiaceae
English name: Emetic nut tree
Hindi name: Madanphal, Mainphal

Emetic nut tree is a large deciduous armed shrub with strong straight spines.

Leaves: simple, usually fascicled on the suppressed branches, obovate, obtuse, and wrinkled.
Flowers: at first the flowers are white, later they turn yellow; fragrant, solitary or 2-3 together at the end of short branchlets.
Fruits: globose, broadly ovoid berry; smooth and yellow when ripe.
Seeds: many, embedded in the pulp.

Parts used as medicine: bark and fruits

Ayurvedic recommendation

The emetic nut tree is bitter and astringent in nature possessing emetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and antiseptic qualities. It is useful in vitiated conditions of Vata, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, bruises, cuts, pains and sprains, inflammations, gout, leprosy, skin diseases, wounds, ulcers, tumors, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, cough, asthma, bronchitis, flatulence, colic, constipation, and fever.

Bark: Astringent in taste, and emetic and antiseptic in quality, the bark is used in treating vitiated conditions of Vata, fever, diarrhea, dysentery, bruises and cuts.
Fruit: The fruit is bitter and astringent in taste and has acrid, thermogenic, emetic, anti-inflammatory, carminative, expectorant, abortifacient and antispasmodic properties. It is cool in potency and emetic in nature. The fruit is useful in conditions such as pains and sprains, inflammations, gout, leprosy, skin diseases, wounds, ulcers, tumors, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, cough, asthma, bronchitis, flatulence, colic, constipation, and fever.

Therapeutic uses

1.    The bark, being sedative in action, is used in Ayurveda to treat rheumatic pain, pain in bruises, and bone aches.

2.    The infusion of the bark is useful in diarrhea and dysentery.

3.    In traditional medicine, the fruit pulp is used as emetic agent in skin diseases, leprosy, gout, insanity.

4.    In Ayurveda, the bruised fruit is used a fish poison.

5.    In Unani system of medicine, the herb is useful in chronic bronchitis, muscular pain, paralysis, inflammations, leprosy, and boils and eruptions.

6.    The traditional healers use the dry fruit powder in the treatment of liver related diseases and gastric troubles.

7.    The aqueous paste of bark is applied around the umbilicus as first aid in cases of stomach ache.

Side effects: There are no known side effects at recommended dosages, but it is essential that the herb is administered by a professional health care provider.


1.    A research was undertaken to study the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of oleanolic acid 3-/3- glucoside (RDG-1) from Randia dumetorum. RDG-1 was isolated from the seeds of R. dumetorum. The compound showed significant anti-inflammatory activity in the exudative and proliferative phases of inflammation in the doses of 25 and 100 mg/kg orally. Significant analgesia was observed only on thermal stimulus. It did not show any antipyretic activity against Brewer's yeast induced pyrexia in the experimental animals.
[D Ghosh, P Thejomoorthy, Veluchamy: Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activities of oleanolic acid 3-/3- Glucoside (RDG-1) from Randia dumetorum (Rubiaceae). Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 1983, Vol. 15, Issue 4, pp - 331-342]

2.    A study to screen immuno-modulatory activity of methanol extract and its petroleum ether, chloroform, ethyl acetate and methanol fraction of fruits of R. dumetorum found that administration of chloroform fraction at dose 100 mg/kg produced statistically significant results as evidenced by increase in humoral antibody (HA) titre (p < 0.05), delayed type hypersensitivity (DTH) response (p < 0.001) in experimental animals.This fraction also enhanced the total WBC level in cyclophosphamide induced mylosuppression model (p < 0.001) at dose 100 mg/kg. Petroleum ether fraction and methanol fraction affected only cell mediated immunity. The researchers concluded that drug holds promise as immuno-modulatory agent.
[Satpute, K.L., et al: Immunomodulatory activity of fruits of Randia dumetorum Lamk. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy Vol. 1 (*) pp. xxx-xxx, August, 2009
Available online at ]
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