Ipecacuanha or ipecac is a plant. It is a low-growing tropical plant that grows mostly in America, having roots and rhizomes that yield emetine. A small shrub whose principal support is a smooth rhizome, the stem grows approximately 25 centimetres long. Two classes of entwined and smooth roots grow from the rhizome. The leaves are opposing petiole ovulates.
The flowers are small dark-purple berries with 2 seeds in clusters. It is used to make medicine. The dried root and rhizome are the source of the medicinally useful products. Ipecac has been widely used in syrup form as a potent and effective emetic. Ipecac powder had been used to induce sweating at the onset of influenza, and small amounts of the extract have been incorporated into cough syrups as expectorants.
The ipecacuanha is an excellent remedy to induce vomiting and diarrhoea. It is also effective as an agent for causing perspiration as mentioned before. It is no longer used commonly as it was, but many pharmaceutical products have as their base the medicinal plant, especially those that combat coughs and amoebas.
If you need to use this plant as a strong emetic, prepare an infusion with 1 to 2 grams, equal to ¼ to ½ teaspoon of powder. For general use, drink 1/3 cup three times a day. As an emetic drink ¾ cup. Because ipecacuanha is potent, an infusion should not be prepared with more than ¼ gram of powdered root, just enough to fill the joint of a teaspoon. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the powder and let stand for 5 minutes.
Ipecac is unsafe when used long-term, in large amounts, and in children under the age of one. Misuse of ipecac can lead to serious poisoning, heart damage, and death. It might stimulate the uterus and cause a miscarriage and as such should not be used during pregnancy. Not enough is known about the safety of using ipecac if you are breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.