This natural remedy uses the seeds of the tree as its main ingredient. However, the seeds contain both strychnine and brucine, which are both toxic in large doses.
People use nux vomica for a variety of issues. In this article, learn about the possible benefits and risks of nux vomica.
Nux vomica is toxic in large doses.
Few large-scale studies exist on the possible benefits of nux vomica.
Of the research that is available, it is essential to note that the studies may focus on one specific part of the plant, such as the flower, seed, or leaf.
Therefore, the results may not be the same for all parts of the plant.
Possible benefits of nux vomica include:
This research may show that nux vomica could have some potential benefits. However, the same study also confirms that the two major active compounds, brucine and strychnine, are poisonous at high doses.
A 2015 study found that the extract from nux vomica leaves has a promising analgesic, or pain-relieving, effect. The researchers said this could be due to the antioxidants in the plant.
However, the homeopathic treatment comes from the seeds, not the leaves.
Other researchers studied the effects of removing much of the strychnine from the seed. Their research found that removing this compound improved the analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects of nux vomica.
The researchers said that this was probably due to the presence of brucine. Brucine reduced swelling and markers of pain in an animal model. More research is needed to determine if it has the same effect in humans.
A 2012 study tried to determine if nux vomica could help treat diabetes. Using an animal model for their test, researchers found that an extract from the seeds was better at controlling blood sugar than the control substance.
Research in 2015 tested a variety of plants for their potential effect on the influenza, or flu, virus. An extract from the stem bark of the nux vomica plant showed the highest potential to fight against the flu.
Other proposed benefits
Some practitioners of homeopathic medicine claim that nux vomica can help treat a range of conditions, including:
- numbness in the hands or legs
- digestive issues, such as heartburn and nausea
- headaches and migraines
- light sensitivity
- irritability or moodiness
- back pain
- menstrual problems
- male infertility
However, there is little evidence to back up these claims. Additionally, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) list nux vomica under the chemical hazard strychnine, which is a pesticide and poison.
What the research says
Researchers have not yet found nux vomica to be a safe or effective treatment.
Current research into the use of nux vomica is limited and inconclusive.
Some research finds beneficial compounds in some parts of the plants, but these results may not apply to the seeds or extracts that are available on the market.
While certain parts of the plant may show promise, the current evidence suggests it may be too soon to recommend nux vomica to treat any health condition.
Side effects and risks
Side effects of nox vomica can be severe. The compound may harm the central nervous system, leading to symptoms, such as:
- a stiff neck
- stiff facial muscles
- blue skin
- excitability and fast reflexes
People may be more likely to experience side effects after taking higher doses or when taking nux vomica over a more extended period.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use nux vomica because researchers do not know the possible effects it may have on the developing fetus or baby.
People with liver problems should also avoid nux vomica as it may cause liver damage.
Anyone who is considering using nux vomica should contact their doctor before doing so.
While some people recommend nux vomica to help treat certain health conditions, there is no direct evidence about the safety or effectiveness of this compound.
For most people, however, the toxicity and possibility of harmful side effects or complications from taking nux vomica outweigh the potential benefits.
Always speak to a doctor before taking new supplements or natural remedies.