Meaning of ipecacuanha in English:


Pronunciation /ˌɪpɪkakjʊˈanə/


(also ipecac)
mass noun
  • 1The dried rhizome of a South American shrub, or a drug prepared from this, used as an emetic and expectorant.

    ‘Doctors resorted to medications that purged the poison from the body - mercury laxatives, calomel, and emetics such as ipecacuanha.’
    • ‘Expectorants for example guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Stimulants, in the form of turpentine emulsion and doses of ipecacuanha, reinforced the weak pulse rate and stimulated blood flow.’
    • ‘Large doses of ipecacuanha cause nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.’
  • 2The shrub that produces ipecacuanha, native to Brazil and cultivated elsewhere.

    Cephaelis ipecacuanha, family Rubiaceae

    1. 2.1Used in names of other plants with similar uses to ipecacuanha, e.g. American ipecacuanha.


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