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Indian Berry

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  • Botanical: Anamirta cocculus
  • Family: Menispermaceae
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Indian Berry

Botanical

Anamirta cocculus

Family

Menispermaceae

Known as

Cocculus indicus, Scheinmyrte, Indische Scheinmyrte, Kokkelskörnerstrauch, Kokkelspflanze

Old Use

medical

Parts Used

fruit

Aroma

herbaceius

Medicinal

convulsions

Hormone & Sexual Organs

night sweats

Mind & Nerves

dizziness

Description

A poisonous climbing plant with ash-coloured corky bark, leaves stalked, heart-shaped, smooth, underside pale with tufts of hair at the junctions of the nerves and at the base of the leaves, the flowers are pendulous panicles, male and female blooms on different plants; fruit round and kidney shaped, outer coat thin, dry, browny, black and wrinkled, inside a hard white shell divided into two containing a whitish seed, crescent shaped and very oily.

Properties & Uses

Some people take levant berry to treat abnormal movement of the eyeball and dizziness. Picrotoxin that is taken from levant berry seeds is used for epilepsy, night sweats, and as a stimulant.

Some people apply levant berry powder directly to the skin to treat a skin disease called scabies. 

In India, levant berry leaves are inhaled as snuff to relieve malaria. Whole fruits are used for paralyzing fish and killing birds or dogs. Jungle tribes apply picrotoxin taken from the seeds to arrow tips for hunting. Picrotoxin used to be used to paralyze fish in the fishing industry. Extracts are applied to the skin for treating lice.

Cautions

The picrotoxin it contains can cause death, even in small amounts. Accidentally taking levant berry requires immediate medical attention. Levant berry cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, coordination problems, depression, spasms, twitching, increased saliva, vomiting, increased emptying of the bowels, rapid breathing, drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, decreased heart rate, unconsciousness, and death.

Distribution

India, Ceylon, Malabar.

Constituents

The stem and the roots contain quaternary alkaloids, such as berberine, palmatine, magnoflorine and columbamine. The seeds deliver picrotoxin, a sesquiterpene, while the seed shells contain the tertiary alkaloids menispermine and paramenispermine.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.