Strychnos nux-vomica Linn.



Strychnos nux-vomica Linn.
Strychnos nux-vomica Linn.
Name and taxonomy:
Scientific name :
Strychnos nux-vomica Linn.
Common Name:
Kajra (Marathi), Kuchla (Hindi), Nux-vomica, Poison Nut,
Snake-wood, Strychnine Tree (English)
Threat status:
Trade name:
Nux-vomica, Kuchla.
It is a medium-sized tree with a short thick trunk usually 10-13
m high and 0.9-1.8 m in girth. In favourable conditions, trees
can grow as high as 25-30 m. attaining a girth of 2-2.5 m. The
wood is hard, white and close-grained. The branches are
irregular and are covered with a smooth ash coloured bark.
The young shoots are of a deep green color with a shiny coat.
The leaves have an opposite arrangement, short stalked and
are oval shaped, with shiny coat and are glabrous on both
sides. The leaves are about 6-10 cm long and 3-6 cm wide.
Distribution, Habitat
and Climatic
The plant is distributed in semi evergreen and moist deciduous
forests of Maharashtra spreading across Konkan, Sahyadri
foot hills of Western Ghats up to altitudes of 360 m).
The tree is found growing in region where maximum
temperature varies from 35 to 45 celsius and minimum
temperature varies from 4 to 18 celsius, and where rain fall
ranges from 750 to 3750 mm. The tree is shade bearer,
growing under a moderate canopy even in semi-evergreen
forests. It produces root suckers and is free from damage by
browsing, as animal (except goats) avoid it. In moist forest, the
tree is evergreen, but in dry areas it sheds the leaves for a
short time.
Part used
Fruit / Seed / leaves / bark.
Uses and Economic
The various parts of Strychnos nux-vomica Linn. are
recommended for upset stomach, vomiting, abdominal pain,
constipation, intestinal irritation, hangovers, heartburn,
insomnia, certain heart diseases, eye diseases, depression,
migraine headaches, nervous disorders, problems related to
menopause in women, and respiratory diseases in the elderly.
In folk medicine, it is used as a healing tonic and appetite
stimulant. Nux-vomica is a common homeopathic medicine
prescribed for digestive problems, sensitivity to cold, and
irritability. It improves the pulse and raises blood pressure and
is of great value as a tonic to the circulatory system in cardiac
failure. It is used in pruritis and as a local anodyne in
inflammations of the external ear. The powdered seeds are
employed in atonic dyspepsia. The leaves are applied as a
poultice on wounds and ulcers.
Seed / Fruit
The flowers are small with a pale green color and are funnel
shaped. They bloom in the cold season and produce a foul
The fruits are about the size of a
large apple with a smooth and
hard shell which when ripened is
of a lovely orange color. The fruit
is soft and white with a jelly-like
pulp containing five seeds
embedded in and covered with a
soft woolly substance.
Collection method:
Seed extraction / presowing treatment:
The seeds are removed from the fruit when ripe. They are
then cleaned, dried and sorted. The seeds have the shape of
a flattened disk completely covered with hairs radiating from
the center of the sides. This gives the seeds a very
characteristic sheen. The seeds are very hard, with a dark
gray horny endosperm where the small embryo is housed that
gives off no odour but possess a very bitter taste.
Seed storage:
In gunny bags or containers up to 2-3 months
Nursery techniques /
Germination and regeneration of this species is very poor.
Presently this species is rarely seen in the forests and has
been included in the list of endangered species. There is acute
shortage of seeds and seedlings of S. nux-vomica.
TFRI, Jabalpur (2009) has recommended that 72 hrs soaking
of seeds in cow dung slurry gives maximum 88% germination.
Seeds are broadcasted in raised beds after treatment.
Germinated seeds pricked out in polybags. In the vegetative
propagation cuttings or root suckers after from the basal end
are pricked out and transplanted in polybags.
Silviculture / Planting
One year old saplings planted in field in 60 cm deep pits.
Harvesting /
Fruits, leaves and bark of moderate aged trees are collected.
Special thing to
Strychnos nux-vomica Linn. is a powerful poison in large
doses, producing titanic convulsions and eventually death. In
comparatively lesser doses it may result in mental
derangement. In the indigenous medicine, it is used as a
tonic, stimulant and febrifuge and its preparations are
prescribed for nervous disorders. In Konkan, small doses of
the seeds are given with aromatics in colic In Cambodia seeds
are used as an emetic. They are also used in the preparation
of medicated products for hair and scalp.
Strychnos nux-vomica seeds contain an effective
mammalian poisons called Strychnine and Brucine and at
present they are used more as a poison than as a drug. It is
also useful as an insecticide to kill vermin in fields. Nuxvomica seeds are often adulterated with the seeds of S.
potatorum, S. nux-blanda, etc.
Two candidate plus trees have been identified by the research
wing at Malgaon site of Dodamarg Research Range. Saplings
are being prepared by Dodamarg Resesach Range.