Definition of ipecac in US English:


(also ipecacuanha)


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

    • ‘Mohler and associates evaluated the safety of home monitoring alone, without administration of syrup of ipecac, in children younger than seven years who ingested less than 200 mg per kg of acetaminophen.’
    • ‘Expectorants for example guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs.’
    • ‘If they are taking syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting, patients with the condition may suffer irreversible myocardial damage and can die of congestive heart failure.’
    • ‘Use of ipecac should be considered in children who have ingested a potentially toxic substance in the preceding hour.’
    • ‘On June 12, a US Food and Drug Administration subcommittee voted, 6 to 4, in favor of removing ipecac from over-the-counter status.’
    • ‘Stimulants, in the form of turpentine emulsion and doses of ipecacuanha, reinforced the weak pulse rate and stimulated blood flow.’
    • ‘Syrup of ipecac has long been recommended for children who swallow potentially harmful substances.’
    • ‘Syrup of ipecac selectively administered in the home will not improve outcomes or reduce the use of emergency services in a large portion of the population served by poison control centers.’
    • ‘Large doses of ipecacuanha cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.’
    • ‘Either ipecac or apomorphine is indicated unless the patient is comatose, seizing, and/or has lost the gag reflex.’
    • ‘Syrup of ipecac, used in the treatment of childhood poisoning - although that use is now substantially discredited - is available without prescription in many jurisdictions.’
    • ‘Lack of correlation between use of syrup of ipecac and referral reduction does not mean that syrup of ipecac is ineffective.’
    • ‘Be sure to ask the pet's veterinarian of specific supplies the animal might need like anti-diarrhea medicine, syrup of ipecac to induce vomiting in case of poisoning.’
    • ‘A substance, such as syrup of ipecac, that induces vomiting.’
    • ‘Surgeons also used Dover's powder, a combination of ipecac and opium, to help the patient sweat and rid the body of poisons.’
    • ‘Syrup of ipecac is no longer recommended for routine use.’
    • ‘Segui basically saved my life with some syrup of ipecac.’
    • ‘For ingested products, they recommends a one-teaspoon dose of ipecac syrup to induce vomiting, followed by water.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Clinton says that syrup of ipecac, a chemical that induces vomiting, should be kept in households.’
    • ‘Thomas Dover, who was a pupil of Sydenham, invented Dover's Powder (opium, ipecac, licorice, and saltpeter).’
    • ‘Physicians who care for children should remind parents to dispose of any ipecac currently in the home.’
    • ‘A viscous residue in the bottom of each and a foul smell that denoted combinations of alum with white vitriol, sulphate of iron, and of acetate of lead with opium and ipecac.’
    • ‘To achieve the old intestinal heave-ho, one can go with a homemade ipecac of, say, incredibly salted water or a tasty brine shrimp colada.’
    • ‘Doctors resorted to medications that purged the poison from the body - mercury laxatives, calomel, and emetics such as ipecacuanha.’
  • 2The shrub of the bedstraw family that produces ipecac, native to Brazil and cultivated elsewhere.

    Cephaelis ipecacuanha, family Rubiaceae

    1. 2.1 Used in names of other plants with uses similar to ipecac, e.g., American ipecac (Gillenia trifoliata, family Rosaceae).


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