From London's Ghost Acres

Ipecacuanha is a member of the flowering plant of the Rubiaceae family, with its root being used for medicinal purposes. (

Ipecacuanha is a power full emetic (enduces vomiting) and was commonly used to treat cases of poisoning. It is also an expectorant (removes secretions from the lungs) and was also used in the treatment of those suffering from colds, coughs, asthma, hoping-cough, and other chest ailments.

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Ipecacuanha Ipecacuanha

“The dried root of Cephaelis Ipecacuanha… Imported from Brazil.”[1]


“In pieces three or four inches long, about the size of a small quill, contorted and irregularly annulated. Colour brown in various shades. It consist of two parts, the cortical or active portion which is brittle, and a slender white woody centre. Powder, pale brown, with a faint nauseous odour, and a somewhat acrid and bitter taste.” ½-2 grains to act as an expectorant, 15-30 for an emetic. Used in the preparations of:[2]

  • Pilula Conii coposita
  • Pilula Ipecacuanhae cum Scilla
  • Pulvis Ipecacuanhae compositus
  • Trochisci Ipecacuanha
  • Trochisci Morphiae et Ipecacuanhae
  • Vinum Ipecacuanhae

Preparations of Ipecacuanha

Compound Pill of Hemlock / Oilula Conii Composita[3]

  • extract of hemlock (2 ½ oz), ipecacuanha, in powder (1/2 oz), treacle (as needed)
  • dose: 5-10 grains

Pill of Ipecacuanha with Squill / Pilula Ipecacuanhae Cum Sillae[4]

  • compound powder of ipecacuanha (3 oz), squill, in powder (1 oz), Ammoniacum, in powder (1 oz), treacle (as needed)
  • dose: 5-10 grains

Compound Powder of Ipecacuanha / Pulvis Ipecacuanhae compositus [5]

  • syn: pulvis ipecacuanhae cum opio, 1864
  • ipecacuanha, in powder (1/2 oz), opium, in powder (1/2 oz), sulphate of potash, in powder (4 oz)
  • dose: 5-15 grains
  • used in preparations of: pilula ipecacuanha cum scillae

Ipecacuanha Lozenges / Trochisci Ipecacuanhae [6]

  • ipecacuanha in powder (180 grains), refined sugar, in powder (25 oz), gum acacia, in powder (1 oz), mucilage of gum acacia (2 fl oz), distilled water (1 fl oz, or more if needed)
  • dose: 1-3 lozenges

Morphia and Ipecacuanha Lozenges / Trochisci Morphiae et Ipecacuanhae [7]

  • hydrochlorate of morphia (20 grains), ipecacuanha, in fine powder (60 grains), tincture of tolu (1/2 fl oz), refined sugar, in powder *24 oz), gum acacia, in powder (1 oz), mucilage of gum acacia (as needed), distilled water (1/2 fl oz)
  • dose: 1-6 lozenges

Wine of Ipecacuanha / Vinum Ipecacuanhae[8]

  • ipecacuanha, bruised (1 oz), sherry (1 pint)
  • dose 5-40 minims

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Classified by Savory as an Emetic (Remedies Which Occasion Vomiting) and as an Expectorant (Remedies Which Assist the Expulsion of Secretion from the Lungs). [9]

“Is unquestionably the most valuable and the safest of the vegetable emetics, evacuation the stomach certainly and completely, without any material consequent debility, and being milder and safer in its operation than the generality of such medicines; and having this peculiar advantage, that is it does not operate by vomit, it discharges itself by the usual evacuations.” [10]

It can be used to treat colds, coughs, asthma, hooping-cough, and other diseases of the chest when combined with other expectorants and formed into a lozenge.[11]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Ipecacuanha

  • Aloes, Socotrine: powdered ipecacuanha included in “Dr. Baillie’s Pills for Indigestion and Costivness.”[12]
  • Calomel: when combined with ipecacuanha the sudorific properties are increased [13]
  • Dover’s Powder (fr Poudre d’Ipecacuanha Composee): ipecacuanha counteracts negative side-effects common with opium, and opium dose the same for the ipecacuanha. “The combined influence of both, exciting the cutaneous capillaries, produces a powerful and certain sudorific effect.” Used to treat gout, rheumatism, diabetes, dropsy, diarrhoea, dysentery, and fevers. Ipecacuanha wine is included in a liquid version of Dover’s powder provided by Savory, which is intended for use in children.[14]
  • Extract of Henbane : when treatment using henbane causes cramps, spasms, or convulsions, ipecacuanha or James’s Powder can be administered. Ipecacuanha is included in “Anti-Spasmodic Pills”[15]
  • Gum Balbanum: given in combination with ipecacuanha and a narcotic for best results[16]
  • Potash, Carbonate of: ipecacuanha wine included in “Effervescing Expectorant Draught”[17]
  • Tartar Emetic: combined with ipecacuanha to form a more effective emetic[18]
  • Wine of Ipecacuanha: Used as an emetic, and is especially useful when treating infants. Can be combined with water and a simple syrup to form an “Emetic Mixture”[19]

Diseases Treated with

General Diseases

  • Bronchitis: ipecacuanha can be administer in the instances of a troublesome cough during a bout of acute bronchitis. In chronic attacks, ipecacuanha and ipecacuanha wine are to be administered.[20]
  • Catarrh, or a Cold: ipecacuanha powder is to be included in a mixture used to treat a troublesome cough that is accompanied by laborious breathing. [21]
  • Cough: ipecacuanha and ipecacuanha wine are both used in the treatment of simple and habitual coughs. Coughs that are especially troublesome at night a dose of ipecacuanha can be given in the form of a pill.[22] Ipecacuanha wine is included in a treatment for “Severe Cough of Children of Four Years of Age"[23]
  • Cholera Morbus: “if the tongue be foul, and there be pain in the head, an emetic of ipecacuanha will be the best remedy”[24]
  • Cramps, or Spasms: ipecacuanha along with an aloetic pill, and compound extract of colocynth can encourage the peristaltic motion of the bowels.[25]
  • Dysentery: ipecacuanha can be used as an emetic during the second stage of treatment, and is combined with opium in the third stage.[26]
  • Inflammatory Sore Throat: ipecacuanha wine should be administered as an emetic from the outset of treatment[27]
  • Putrid Sore Throat: ipecacuanha should be given at the beginning of the disease in order to “cut shot the progress of the disease.”[28]
  • Typhus Fever: an emetic comprising of ipecacuanha and tartarised antimony should be given as the first treatment of the disease.[29]

Infantile Diseases

  • Croup: in the first instances of the disease, ipecacuanha and antimonial wine (or tartar emetic) should be given to induce vomiting.[30]
  • Diarrhoea : ipecacuanha is to be administered along with laudanum if blood appears in the discharge.[31]
  • Hooping or Chincogh: ipecacuanha and antimonial wine are to be given at the commencement of the disease in the evening for a week. [32]
  • Rickets: gentle emetics from ipecacuanha is part of the treatment for this disease[33]

Medical Articles Containing Ipecacuanha

Prescriptions Containing Ipecacuanha


  • Alternatives in the Form of Pill, Powder, &c.: powdered ipecacuanha [34]
  • Alternatives in the Form of Pill, Powder, &c. (331/310): powdered ipecacuanha [35]

Aperients and Cathartics

  • Dr. Copland’s Aperient Pills: ipecacuanha[36]
  • Aperient Pills for Dyspeptic Persons: ipecacuanha in powder[37]


  • Drops for Hooping-Cough: ipecacuanha wine[38]


  • Soda and Ipecacuanha Powders: powdered ipecacuanha and compound ipecacuanha powder[39]


  • Demulcent and Expectorant Draught: ipecacuanha wine[40]
  • Cough Mixture: ipecacuanha wine[41]
  • Cough Mixture (Another): ipecacuanha wine[42]
  • Cough Linctus: ipecacuanha[43]
  • Effervescing Expectorant Draught: ipecacuanha wine[44]


  • Diaphoretic Mixture: ipecacuanha wine[45]


  • Expectorant Mixture: ipecacuanha wine[46]
  • Expectorant Draught (348/327): ipecacuanha wine[47]
  • Anti-Croup Mixture of the Parisian Hospitals (348/327): ipecacuanha wine[48]
  • Hooping Cough, or Spasmodic Asthma (349/328): Ipecacuanha wine[49]


  • An Emetic Draught, in case of Poison being taken into the Stomach (Another) (350/329): ipecacuanha and ipecacuanha wine[50]
  • An Emetic Draught, in case of Poison being taken into the Stomach (Another) (351/330): ipecacuanha [51]
  • Compound Emetic Mixture: ipecacuanha wine[52]


Narcotics and Anodynes

  • Sedative Mixture: ipecacuanha wine[53]


  • Stomachic Pills (356/335): ipecacuanha in powder[54]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 166
  2. GMCGB, 166
  3. GMCGB, 237
  4. GMCGB, 239
  5. GMCGB, 263-34
  6. GMCGB, 348
  7. GMCGB, 349-50
  8. GMCGB, 368
  9. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 393.
  10. Savory, 86
  11. Savory, 87
  12. Savory, 13
  13. Savory, 36
  14. Savory, 53
  15. Savory, 64
  16. Savory, 74
  17. Savory, 122
  18. Savory, 152
  19. Savory, 171-72
  20. Savory, 212
  21. Savory, 217
  22. Savory, 218
  23. Savory, 219
  24. Savory, 221
  25. Savory, 228
  26. Savory, 228
  27. Savory, 238
  28. Savory, 249
  29. Savory, 258
  30. Savory, 270
  31. Savory, 272
  32. Savory, 274
  33. Savory, 278
  34. Savory, 310
  35. Savory, 310
  36. Savory, 313
  37. Savory, 313-14
  38. Savory, 317
  39. Savory, 322
  40. Savory, 323
  41. Savory, 323
  42. Savory, 323
  43. Savory, 324
  44. Savory, 324
  45. Savory, 326
  46. Savory, 327
  47. Savory, 327
  48. Savory, 327
  49. Savory, 328
  50. Savory, 329
  51. Savory, 330
  52. Savory, 330
  53. Savory, 332
  54. Savory, 335