Kupilu – Nux Vomica – Uses, Dose, Purification, Side Effects

Kupilu / Nux vomica is a famous but poisonous Ayurvedic herb. It has many health benefits but should only be used after purification. It is used in Ayurvedic treatments since the time of Sushruta.

The information provided in this article is only for the purpose of education. Usage of nux vomica without doctor’s advice may lead to poisoning and death.
Botanical Name– Strychnos nuxvomica
Family– Loganiaceae, Karaskara Kula
Vernacular Names
Hindi Name- Kuchala
English Name- Nux Vomica
Telugu Name- Mushini Ginjalu, Mushti Vittulu
Bengali Name- Kunchila
Marathi- Kajara
Gujarati Name- Jherkuchala, Zerkochala
Tamil Name- Yettikottai
Malayalam Name- Kaajjeel
Arabian name – Ajaraki, Habbul Gurav
Parsi name – Kuchula, Phuloosemaahi
Kupilu - Nux VomicaSanskrit Synonyms:
Kupilu – Kutsitaha Peelu – Its fruit is is similar to that of  Pilu(Salvadora oleoide / Salvadora persica), but it is inferior to that herb, because of its poisonous nature.
Vishatinduka – Its fruit is similar to Tinduka (Diospyros tomentos), but is poisonous.
Kaka Tinduka – It is usually found in forest areas and has fruit resembling Tinduka
KakaPiluka – Similar to Pilu.

Different varieties
In Andhra Pradesh, its other species of same genus are used in the name of Kupeelu.

Throughout tropical India, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orrissa and west Bengal up to a height of altitude of 1350 m

Major chemical constituents
Brucine, Strychnine and vomicine; Kajine & Novacine ( N Methyl Pseudobrucine); strychnine & isostrychine; Cuchiloside loganic acid etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)
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Nux Vomica Qualities – 
Rasa (taste) – Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu – Light to digest
Vipaka- Katu – Undergoes pungent taste conversion after digestion.
Veerya- Ushna – hot in potency
Effect on Tridosha – Kapha Vata hara – Balances Vata and Kapha. It increases Pitta Dosha.
Category- Upavisha

Nux vomica usesNux vomica – Kupilu – uses –
Hanti Meda – lowers cholesterol, useful in obesity
Krumihara – useful in intestinal worm infestaion
Shvasahara – useful in asthma and wheezing
Gulmahara – useful in abdominal tumor, bloating
Arshohara – useful in hemorrhoids
Mushikavishahara – useful in rat bite
Vishtambhi – causes constipation
Rochana – improves taste, useful in anorexia
Agnikrut – improves digestion strength
Grahi – absorbant, useful in diarrhoea
Kushtahara – useful in skin disorders
Pramehajit – useful in urinary disorders, diabetes
Madakrut – causes intoxication
Kanthamayahara – useful in diseases of throat

Part used- Seed is the most used part of this herb. Rarely, root bark is also used. It should be purified before using for medicinal purposes.
Dosage- Seed powder – below 30 mg.
Toxic symptoms – Taking nux vomica for more than a week, or in high amounts of 30 mg or more, can cause severe side effects like  restlessness, dizziness, back stiffness, spasms of jaw and neck, convulsions, seizures, wheezing, breathing problems, liver failure and death.
It is not safe to use it in pregnant and lactating mothers.
Avoid it in children.
As per the Drugs And Cosmetics Act, the medicines containing Nux vomica should be taken only under strict medical supervision.

Kupilu Shodhana – Purification method –
Skin of seeds is removed. It is boiled with milk for 7 days. Dried.
Then it is fried in ghee and powdered.

Antidote –  Paribhadra – Erythrina variegata is used as an antidote in Kupeelu (Strychnos nux vomica) Poisoning. (PV Sharma)

Ayurvedic medicines with Kupilu ingredient:
Sulaharana Yoga – used in abdominal and neurological disorders
Ekang Veer Ras – used in neurological disorders
Vishatinduka Taila – useful in gout and skin diseases

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  1. hanmanthrao.k.panthulu says:


  2. Hi,

    As Nux Vomica increases pitta.

    If it is taken in homeopathic way (Diluted form like 30c potency) Can it cure pitta related diseases as like cures like as per homeopathy.

    Nux Vomica 30c in homeopathy used for acidity, gas , IBS (All looks like pitta related problems) .

    Is Homeopathy derived from ayurveda (Like by understanding the nature of Herbs and then using it in opposite way to cure the problems that the herbs may cause if it is taken in excessive amount)


    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      There is no principle in Ayurveda which talks about such a mild dilution. Except that we use similar herbs, I do not see much similarity between homeopathy and Ayurveda.
      Ayurveda believes in knowing the quality of the herbs and using them for their qualities.

  3. khanmanthraopanthulu says:

    Ooshnam ooshnena sheetalam. And vipareetharthakaari chikithsa. These ayurveda. methods are similar to homeo pathy

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