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nux vomica

nux vomica (nŭks vŏmˈəkə) [key], bitter-tasting drug obtained from the poisonous seeds of Strychnos nux-vomica, a tree that grows in Sri Lanka, India, and N Australia. The dried seeds contain strychnine and brucine, both colorless crystalline alkaloids, as well as sugar, acid, and oil. In the past nux vomica was used as a tonic in the form of a tincture, or alcoholic solution, but it is not used in modern medicine. In minute quantities it has a powerful peristaltic action on the intestines and in larger doses causes convulsions and death.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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