- Family Rutaceae
- Pilocarpus microphyllus
- Pilocarpus jaborandi
- Indian Hemp, Arruda Brava, Arruda do Mato, Jamguarandi, Juarandi, Pernambuco
If used incorrectly, pilocarpine eyedrops can lead to poisoning through leakage into the nose or mouth. Symptoms include bradycardia, bronchial spasms, colics, possible cardiac collapse, convulsions, and a drop in blood pressure. A lethal dose is about 60 mg. of pilocarpine, corresponding to 5 to 10 g of the drug.
It should not be used by those sensitive to pilocarpine or those with uncontrolled asthma.
It should not be used during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
The shrubby tree grows in the northeastern part of Brazil to heights of five to twenty feet, with a trunk diameter of one to three inches. It has large feathery leaves and numerous flowers.
Explorers to Brazil in the 16th century discovered that indigenous tribes used the plant to treat mouth ulcers, colds, and flu. Samples were eventually taken to Peru, where researchers discovered that it also had the ability to promote sweating and salivation.
- stimulates secretions and smooth muscle
- alkaloids (mainly pilocarpine)
- volatile oil (0.5% mainly limonene and undecanone)
After extensive research, the alkaloid pilocarpine was identified in the plant. This substance has the ability to lower pressure within the eye of a person with glaucoma. As a result of that finding, pilocarpine is used in modern ophthamology in the treatment of glaucoma.
Through drying and storage, pilocarpine is changed somewhat into isopilocarpine.
The alkaloids affect the parasympathetic system, increasing the secretion of saliva, sweat, gastric juices, and tears, and stimulates the smooth muscle of the gastrointestinal tract, bronchi, bile duct, and bladder.
Jaborandi is used mainly in the treatment of glaucoma, but it has also been used for epilepsy, convulsions, gonorrhea, ischuria, and as an anesthetic for mucous membranes, for fever, influenza, pneumonia, gastrointestinal inflammations, kidney disease, psoriasis, neurosis, and poisonings.
Today, it is used mainly as an agent for the manufacture of pilocarpine and in homeopathic remedies.
In Mexican traditional medicine, Jaborandi is used to treat rheumatism, pleurisy, and dropsy. It is also said to have a history of use as an emetic in Brazil.