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Jaborandi

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  • Botanical: Pilocarpus pennatifolius
  • Family: Rutaceae
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Jaborandi

Botanical

Pilocarpus pennatifolius

Family

Rutaceae

Known as

Arruda do Mato. Arruda brava. Jamguarandi. Juarandi.

Old Use

medical

Parts Used

leaves

Medicinal

dropsy, earache, fever, hair loss, jaundice, kidney weakness

Heart & Circulation

vascular

Infection & Inflammation

fever

Respiratory System

catarrh, cough

Skin & Hair

hair loss

Properties

diaphoretic, diuretic, galactagogue

Description

The shrub grows from 4 to 5 feet high; the bark is smooth and greyish; the flowers are thick, small, and reddish-purple in colour, springing from rather thick, separate stalks about 1/4 inch long. The leaves are large, compound, pinnate with an odd terminal leaflet, with two to four pairs of leaflets. They are chiefly exported from Ceara and Pernambuco, and only the leaflets are officinal, though they arrive mixed with petioles and small fruits. The colour is brownish-green, the margin entire, with a notch cut out at the blunt tip of the leaf, which except in the case of the terminal leaflet, is unequal at the base. They are hairless, leathery, with large oil-glands, from 2 1/2 to 4 inches long, and when crushed have a slightly aromatic odour. The taste is bitter and aromatic, becoming pungent. The powder is dark green or greenish brown.

Properties & Uses

The crude drug is rarely used, its virtues being due to the alkaloid, Pilocarpine. It is antagonistic to atropine, stimulating the nerve-endings paralysed by that drug, and contracting the pupil of the eye. Its principal use is as a powerful and rapid diaphoretic. It induces also free salivation and excites most gland secretions, some regarding it as a galactagogue.

Jaborine, of which there is a small quantity in the leaves, resembles atropine, and is antagonistic to pilocarpine, so that an impure pilocarpine may vary largely in effect.

Jaborandi may irritate the stomach and cause vomiting and nausea, as may pilocarpine, even when given as a subcutaneous injection, but these symptoms yield to morphine. It is useful in psoriasis, prurigo, deafness depending on syphilitic disease of the labyrinth, baldness, chronic catarrh, catarrhal jaundice, tonsillitis, and particularly dropsy. Probably it is most popularly known in preparations for the hair. In small doses it quenches thirst in fever or chronic renal diseases. It is contra-indicated in fatty heart or pleurisy.

Cautions

none known

Distribution

Brazil

Constituents

A volatile oil, containing dipentene and other hydrocarbons, tannic acid, a peculiar volatile acid, and potassium chloride. The principal constituents are the three alkaloids, Pilocarpine (not found in all species), Isopilocarpine and Pilocarpidine. Pilocarpine, only in the proportion of 0.5 per cent, is found as a soft, viscous mass yielding crystalline salts, freely soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform, and only slightly soluble in water. The nitrate should melt at 1.78ø C. It is a white, crystalline powder, soluble in 95 per cent alcohol, and giving a yellowish solution with strong sulphuric acid. Various hypodermic solutions are prepared from it.

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.