Basic Information




Species                       : Cephaelis ipeicacuanha (Brot.) A. Rich

Local Name                 : Ipecac (Nep)

Synonym                    : Ipecac

Family                         : Rubiaceae

Habitat                       : A low, Straggling shrub. Thrives best in forests, as it requires well-drained, acidic

                                                                                                and sandy loams, rich in humus, calcium,  phosphate, potash, magnesia and lime

Distribution                : Distributed to sub-temperate and tropical region.

Sikkim                         : Ranipool, Singtam.

Out side                      : A native to Bolivia and Brazil, cultivated in Mungpo (West Bengal), Nilgiris (South India), Joraht in Assam, Khasi and Jaintia Hills in

                                     Meghalaya, Nilambur in Kerala.

Morphological information

A straggling shrub with much branched beaded roots up to 30 cm long. Stems and rhizomes with longitudinal striations. Leaves opposite, oblong-ovate, elliptic or obovate. Flowers white, arranged in heads on solitary terminal peduncles. Fruits dark purple berries, black when ripe. Seeds whitish, plano-convex, two in each fruit.

Flowering                  : April-July

Fruiting                     : August  -October

History                      :

Parts                        : Root.

Status                      : Cultivated, endangered in wild.


Besides the alkaloids, the roots also contain the glycosides, ipecoside and ipecacuanhin (ipecacuanhic acid) and a crystalline colouring matter, erythrocephalin, choline, ascorbic acid, D- mannitol and a phytosterol. The presence of several glycosidic tannins, mallic and citric acids, saponin, resin, fat, calcium oxalate and a large amount of starch is also reported.



Traditional: The root paste is applied externally in case of cuts, wounds and sores by the local people and it is also used in case of food poisoning (Kapat).



1. Anonymous (1961). The Wealth of India (Vol. 3). Publications and Information Directorate, CSIR. New Delhi. 432- 436. 2.  Progress Report of the Project "Studies on Medicinal Plants of Sikkim" (1998- 2001). State Council of Science and Technology for Sikkim.