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Pitcher Plant

What other names is Pitcher Plant known by?

Eve's Cups, Fly-Catcher, Fly-Trap, Herbe Crapaud, Huntsman's Cup, Nepente, Oreille de Cochon, Petits Cochons, Pitcher Plant, Purple Pitcher Plant, Purple Side-Saddle Flower, Sarapin, Sarracenia, Sarracénie Pourpre, Sarracenia purpurea, Side-Saddle Plant, Smallpox Plant, Water-Cup.

What is Pitcher Plant?

Pitcher plant is a plant. The leaf and root are used as medicine.

Pitcher plant is taken by mouth for digestive disorders, particularly constipation; for urinary tract diseases and fluid retention; as a cure for smallpox; and to prevent scar formation.

A pitcher plant extract (Sarapin) is given as a shot. Sarapin is a grandfathered FDA-approved prescription product. Healthcare providers inject Sarapin for relieving pain in the back, neck, and other locations in the body.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Digestive disorders.
  • Constipation.
  • Urinary tract diseases.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Preventing scar formation.
  • Pain, when given by injection.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pitcher plant for these uses.

How does Pitcher Plant work?

Pitcher plant contains tannins and other chemicals that are thought to help with some digestive tract problems. There is some evidence that suggests that pitcher plant extract may affect nerves involved in pain sensation.

Are there safety concerns?

A certain pitcher plant extract called Sarapin seems to be safe when injected by a qualified health professional. It is UNSAFE when injected in areas of pain and swelling (inflammation) or when injected by an unqualified person. Pitcher plant injections can cause some side effects including feelings of heat or heaviness. Injections might also worsen symptoms.

There isn't enough information to know if pitcher plant is safe when taken by mouth or what the possible side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of pitcher plant during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Pitcher Plant.

The appropriate dose of pitcher plant 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 pitcher plant. 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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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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Reviewed on 9/17/2019

Fleming T, ed. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd ed. Montvale: Medical Economics 2000.

Guidance for FDA Staff and Industry: Marketed Unapproved Drugs - Compliance Policy Guide. Chapter 4(440). Updated September 16, 2011. Accessed at: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074382.htm.

Manufacturer Information. Sarapin. Injection technique in pain control. High Chemical Company. Information not dated.

McCalla CX. Instantaneous cure of acute frontal cephalalgia. Manufacturer information from High Chemical Company; 1995.

Medical Economic. Physician's Desk Reference. Montvale:Medical Economics, 1999:1289.


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