Definition of ipecacuanha in English:



  • 1The dried rhizome of a South American shrub, or a drug prepared from this, used as an emetic and expectorant.

    • ‘Eight understory species clustered together, but two understory species, P. emetica and P. ipecacuanha, both with unusually high root: shoot ratios, were positioned far from the centroid for understory species.’
    • ‘Large doses of ipecacuanha cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.’
    • ‘Doctors resorted to medications that purged the poison from the body - mercury laxatives, calomel, and emetics such as ipecacuanha.’
    • ‘Stimulants, in the form of turpentine emulsion and doses of ipecacuanha, reinforced the weak pulse rate and stimulated blood flow.’
    • ‘Expectorants for example guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs.’
  • 2The shrub that produces ipecacuanha, native to Brazil and cultivated elsewhere.

    1. 2.1Used in names of other plants with similar uses to ipecacuanha, e.g. American ipecacuanha.


Early 17th century: from Portuguese, from Tupi-Guarani ipekaaguéne emetic creeper, from ipe small + kaa leaves + guéne vomit.