Definition of jalap in US English:



  • A purgative drug obtained chiefly from the tuberous roots of a Mexican climbing plant.

    This drug is obtained from Ipomoea purga, family Convolvulaceae

    • ‘Accordingly, the expedition's medical kit contains substances to induce vomiting (ipecac, white vitriol, tartar emetic) and to loosen the bowels (jalap, rhubarb, cream of tartar, Glauber's salts, calomel, magnesia, assafoetida).’
    • ‘Rush's strategy with serious fevers was to purge with powerful doses of calomel and jalap, followed by bleeding until the patient fainted.’
    • ‘A paste of the roots mixed with milk works as a laxative but with violent cathartic effect compared to the purgative jalap Ipomoea purga from which the true and milder jalap is extracted.’


Mid 17th century: from French, from Spanish ( purga de) Jalapa (see Jalapa).