Kupilu, Poison Nut (Strychnos nux-vomica)

Kupilu (Strychnos nux-vomica) is a medium-sized tree with a short and twisted trunk. The wood of the tree is close-grained, white in color, and extremely resistant and durable. The plant has uneven branches that are covered with smooth, ash-gray bark; the tree's young shoots are dark green in color. The leaves are basic opposing, oval, about 4 inches long and 3 inches wide, shining and smooth on both the upper and lower surfaces. Flowers are quite tiny, greenish-white, and funnel-shaped. Flowers are grouped in short terminal cymes, and the flowers of this plant have a highly terrible odor. The fruits have a magnificent orange hue, roughly the size of a large apple, and are encircled by a firm rind or coating. The fruit's flesh is soft and white, covered in a jelly-like substance that contains five seeds with a soft fuzzy covering. Fruit seeds are extracted from succulent pulp once they have ripened. The seeds are fashioned like a flattened disc and have hairs growing from the center of the sides. For medical reasons, hard, dark gray seeds are cleaned, dried, separated, and purified.


Kupilu is native to South East Asia and Australia's tropical and subtropical climates. In India, it is found in moist deciduous and semi-evergreen forests of Maharashtra, spreading across the Konkani and Shayadri foothills of the Western Ghats up to 400m altitude.

General Information

Nux vomica is also known by the names Quaker Buttons, vishamushti, Deadly Nut, nux vomica, nux vomique, and strychnous semen. An extensively recognized toxic plant in Indian Ayurvedic medicine is kapilu. In Ayurveda, it is discussed under upvisha gana. Strychnine, which is included in this herb, has long been used in traditional medicine to treat a variety of illnesses. The herb's poison, according to Acharya Charka, can be purified (shodhana) and used as an excellent medication. However, it becomes poisonous at greater dosages.

This herb's seeds have aphrodisiac, appetizer, digestive, purgative, and stimulatory properties. Following cleansing, it is used to create a variety of formulations in Ayurveda. The principal chemicals found in this plant are:




Loganic acid





This poisonous herb was employed in England in the 17th century to exterminate unwanted animals. Today, this herb is used to treat a variety of illnesses in a range of formulations, including oil, tincture, powder, and liquid extract.

Special note about Nux Vomica

Since kuchla is a dangerous herb, it must be purified before using it medicinally. The following describes its techniques of purification.

Kuchla seeds are boiled for three hours after being wrapped in cotton fabric and dipped in cow's milk. The seeds are boiled for three hours, after which they are pulverized and their skin removed. For the next seven days, these seeds are boiled in cow's milk once again. Seeds are cooked in dhee and powered after being cleansed for seven days.

Kuchla seeds are fried in ghee over low heat until they become yellow in preparation for an emergency. Remove the outer skin from these cooked seeds and crush the hot pulp right away for medical purposes.


Kingdom - Plantae

Order - Gentianales

Family - Loganinaceae


Hindi name - Kuchla

English name - Nux vomica

Telugu name - Mushini ginjalu, Mushti vittulu

Bengali name - Kunchila

Marathi name - Kajara

Gujarati name - Jherkuchla, Zerkochala

Tamil name - Yettikottai

Malayalam name - Kajjeel

Arabian name - Ajaraki, Habbul gurav

Parse name - Kuchula, Phuloosemaahi

Botanical Name - Strychnos nuxvomica

Ayurvedic Properties


Hindi / Sanskrit


Rasa (Taste)

Tikta, Katu

Bitter, Pungent

Guna (Physical Property)



Virya (Potency)



Vipaka (Post-Digestive Effect)



Effects on Dosha

It aggravates pitta dosha while balancing the vata and kapha doshas.

Practical uses

  • The leaves of Nux vomica are used to make a poultice that helps cure wounds and chronic ulcers quickly. The decoction of the leaves is particularly helpful for paralytic problems. Apply fruit pulp externally to alleviate paralysis.
  • The root of this shrub is used to treat cholera, sporadic fever, and poisoning from snakebite.
  • Aside from being a great appetizer, seeds can also be used to alleviate colic in the abdomen, stimulate the digestive fire, treat piles, and treat other abdominal ailments.
  • This herb's roots have anthelminthic properties, making them a highly efficient remedy for worm infestation.
  • Moreover, it is utilized to treat a number of mental illnesses, including epilepsy, psychosis, convulsions, nerve debility, hysteria, and anxiety.
  • Additionally, it is used to treat nocturnal urine incontinence and urine retention.
  • This plant is used to treat impotence, spermatorrhoea, overall tiredness, sexual debility, and erectile dysfunction in men.
  • Face paralysis is treated using an external nux vomica seed paste.
  • These days, diabetes is a big concern. This herb is used to decrease blood sugar levels that are too high.
  • It balances the vata and kapha doshas.

Part used





Dried ripe seeds


  • 30 to 50 mg of seeds taken orally are considered hazardous.
  • It is advisable to take 60–125 mg of pure seeds.
  • 3–5 drops of oil

Side Effects

It is not recommended to take nux vomica for longer than a week. Mothers who are nursing or pregnant should not use it. Nux-vomica contains strychnine, which completely destroys liver tissue. A larger dosage of it could have a number of negative effects, such as:

  • Convulsions
  • Neck and back stiffness
  • Renal failure
  • Finally causes death
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Jaw and neck spasms

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