Nux Vomica

Other Name(s):

Brechnusssamen, Kuchla, Kupilu, Noix Vomique, Nuez Vomica, Nux Vom, Poison Nut, Quaker Buttons, Shudha Kupilu, Strychni Semen, Strychnos Seed, Strychnos nux-vomica, Vishamushti, Vomiquier.


Nux vomica is a plant. The seed is used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, nux vomica is used for diseases of the digestive tract, disorders of the heart and circulatory system, diseases of the eye, and lung disease. It is also used for nerve conditions, depression, migraine headache, symptoms of menopause, and a blood vessel disorder called Raynaud's disease.

Other uses include treatment of “tired blood” (anemia), as a tonic, and as an appetite stimulant.

Men use nux vomica for erectile dysfunction (ED, impotence).

In manufacturing, nux vomica is used as rat poison. That's because it contains strychnine and brucine, two deadly chemicals.

How does it work?

Nux vomica contains strychnine and other chemicals that affect the brain and cause muscle contractions. This can lead to convulsions and death. Strychnine in amounts that are too small to produce symptoms can still be a serious problem. Small amounts of strychnine build up in the body with continued use, especially in people with liver disease. This can cause death in a period of weeks. Strychnine poisoning can be detected with laboratory tests.

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of nux vomica for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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Side Effects

Nux vomica is UNSAFE. Taking nux vomica for more than a week, or in high amounts of 30 mg or more, can cause severe side effects. Some of these side effects include restlessness, anxiety, dizziness, neck and back stiffness, spasms of jaw and neck muscles, convulsions, seizures, breathing problems, liver failure, and death.

Special Precautions & Warnings

No one should take nux vomica, but certain people are especially at risk for toxic side effects. These side effects are especially dangerous if you have any of the following conditions:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking nux vomica can harm both mother and child. Don't use it.

Liver disease: The strychnine in nux vomica can cause liver damage or make liver disease worse. Don't use it.


The appropriate dose of nux vomica depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for nux vomica. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


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Reviewed on 6/14/2021

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Deng, X., Yin, F., Lu, X., Cai, B., and Yin, W. The apoptotic effect of brucine from the seed of Strychnos nux-vomica on human hepatoma cells is mediated via Bcl-2 and Ca2+ involved mitochondrial pathway. Toxicol.Sci 2006;91(1):59-69. View abstract.

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Sukul, A., Sarkar, P., Sinhababu, S. P., and Sukul, N. C. Altered solution structure of alcoholic medium of potentized Nux vomica underlies its antialcoholic effect. Br.Homeopath.J 2000;89(2):73-77. View abstract.

Sukul, A., Sinhabau, S. P., and Sukul, N. C. Reduction of alcohol induced sleep time in albino mice by potentized Nux vomica prepared with 90% ethanol. Br.Homeopath.J 1999;88(2):58-61. View abstract.

Sukul, N. C., De, A., Dutta, R., Sukul, A., and Sinhababu, S. P. Nux vomica 30 prepared with and without succession shows antialcoholic effect on toads and distinctive molecular association. Br.Homeopath.J 2001;90(2):79-85. View abstract.

Sukul, N. C., De, A., Sinhababu, S. P., and Sukul, A. Potentized Mercuric chloride and Nux vomica facilitate water permeability in erythrocytes of a fresh-water catfish Clarius batrachus under acute ethanol intoxication. J Altern.Complement Med 2003;9(5):719-725. View abstract.

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Umamaheswari, M., Asokkumar, K., Somasundaram, A., Sivashanmugam, T., Subhadradevi, V., and Ravi, T. K. Xanthine oxidase inhibitory activity of some Indian medical plants. J Ethnopharmacol 2-12-2007;109(3):547-551. View abstract.

Van Eenoo, P., Deventer, K., Roels, K., and Delbeke, F. T. Quantitative LC-MS determination of strychnine in urine after ingestion of a Strychnos nux-vomica preparation and its consequences in doping control. Forensic Sci Int 1-28-2006; View abstract.

Yin, W., Wang, T. S., Yin, F. Z., and Cai, B. C. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of brucine and brucine N-oxide extracted from seeds of Strychnos nux-vomica. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003;88(2-3):205-214. View abstract.

Zhang, X., Xu, Q., Xiao, H., and Liang, X. Iridoid glucosides from Strychnos nux-vomica. Phytochemistry 2003;64(8):1341-1344. View abstract.

Hardman JG, Limbird LL, Molinoff PB, eds. Goodman and Gillman's The Pharmacological Basis of Therapeutics, 9th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 1996.

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