Puneet Varma

Anamirta cocculus

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Kingdom  Plantae
Family  Menispermaceae
Scientific name  Anamirta cocculus
Rank  Species
Order  Ranunculales
Genus  Anamirta
Higher classification  Anamirta
Anamirta cocculus anamirtacocculusjpg
Similar  Anamirta, Cocculus, Menispermaceae, Menispermum, Strychnine tree

Anamirta cocculus (Marathi: काकमारी) is a Southeast Asian and Indian climbing plant. Its fruit, Cocculus indicus, is the source of picrotoxin, a poisonous alkaloid with stimulant properties.


Anamirta cocculus Pollavally pollakkurua anamirta cocculus Markazhi

The plant is large-stemmed (up to 10 cm in diameter); the bark is "corky gray" with white wood. The "small, yellowish-white, sweet-scented" flowers vary between 6 and 10 centimeters across; the fruit produced is a drupe, "about 1 cm in diameter when dry".

Anamirta cocculus Pollavally pollakkurua anamirta cocculus Markazhi

Chemical substances

Anamirta cocculus anamirtacocculuspollakka1 DEPARTMENT OF DRAVYAGUNAVIJNANAM

The stem and the roots contain quaternary alkaloids, such as berberine, palmatine, magnoflorine and columbamine. The seeds deliver picrotoxin, a sesquiterpene, while the seed shells contain the tertiary alkaloids menispermine and paramenispermine.


Anamirta cocculus httpsuploadwikimediaorgwikipediacommonsthu

Its crushed seeds are an effective pediculicide (anti-lice) and are also traditionally used to stun fish or as a pesticide. In pharmacology, it is known as Cocculus Indicus.

Anamirta cocculus FileAnamirta cocculus 02JPG Wikimedia Commons

Although poisonous, hard multum is a preparation made from Cocculus Indicus, etc., once used (by 19th century brewers) to impart a more intoxicating quality ("giddiness") to beer than provided by the alcoholic content alone. Charles Dickens referred to those engaging in such practices as "brewers and beer-sellers of low degree,... who do not understand the wholesome policy of selling wholesome beverage." Although appearing in many homeopathic volumes and at least two brewers' guides, the use of such preparations was outlawed in England, during the mid-19th century, with fines of £500 for sale and £200 for use of the drug.

The wood of the plant is used for fuel and carving.

Common names

The English common names are Indian berry, fishberry, or Levant nut (both referring to the dried fruit, and to the plant by synecdoche) and coca de Levante in Spanish; it is variously known as ligtang, aria (Mindanao), bayati (Tagalog), and variations thereof throughout its natural distribution (the Philippines, East India, Malaysia, and New Guinea).

The name "fishberry" comes from the use of the dried fruit as a method of fishing, in which the fish is "stupified and captured"; this method, however, is considered "unsportsmanlike".


Anamirta cocculus Wikipedia

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