The medicinal power of vomiting nut

The fallow nut tree is an evergreen deciduous tree that can reach a height of 25 meters. The tree produces fruits that are quite bitter; These fruits contain the emetic nuts that can be used for therapeutic purposes. The tree is native to an area that includes South-East Asia; you see it from India to Northern Australia. In the Philippines, Java, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Pakistan, China, Burma, Thailand, Laos and Sri Lanka. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of vomiting nut / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Poison to humans
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Vomit nut, a tonic for the nervous system and body
  • Broken nut, good for digestion
  • Dose
  • Considerations
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Poison to humans

The emetic nut contains strychnine and is therefore a highly toxic product; it is strongly discouraged to experiment with strychnine yourself; just 30mg can be fatal for some people. However, for snails and hornbills, the vomit nut is not poisonous but a food source.


In Latin, the fallow nut tree is called Strychnos nux-vomica . Nux means ‘nut’ and vomica stands for ‘vomit’; hence the name braaknoot in Dutch.

Active substances

The seed of the vomit tree is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. It contains the following important active ingredients: indole alkaloids such as strychnine, brucine and the side alkaloids colubrines, icajin, vomicine, novacine, pseudostrychine and isostrychine.

Vomit nut, a tonic for the nervous system and body

The emetic nut has a stimulating effect on the central nervous system; it is a tonic or tonic for the whole body. It is possible that people are tired due to a certain illness; then vomiting nut does not work. For the elderly, vomiting nut would be a solution, or a standardized dose of 2 mg strychnine could be an option to strengthen someone. The sensory functions, breathing and circulation become more powerful through the use of strychnine from emetic nut. Furthermore, mental and physical well-being increases. Brucine, together with strychnine, is responsible for improved stimulus transmission in the central nervous system. These substances or the emetic nut itself are sometimes contained in a mix of strengthening agents. In phytotherapy it could be prescribed for:

  • Mental fatigue,
  • physical exhaustion,
  • Reduced blood flow,
  • Decreased breathing,
  • Physical weakness due to old age.

Broken nut, good for digestion

Fallow nut tastes sharply bitter and as such, like many bitter products, is good for digestion. It stimulates the appetite and improves digestion in general. It can be used for the following diseases:

Vomit nuts / Source: Lalithamba, Flickr (CC BY-2.0)

  • Atony or decreased tone,
  • Nervous stomach complaints,
  • Chronic alcoholism.

Some components of vomiting nut can neutralize snake venom.


There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Powder: 50mg three times a day, with a maximum of 100mg each time and 300mg per day.
  • Fallow nut extract: 10mg three times a day and 45mg per day.
  • Tincture: 500mg three times each time.


No side effects are known at therapeutic doses.

  • The use of emetic nut has been almost completely abandoned due to the possible, very serious consequences of an overdose.
  • Fallow nut extract works better than isolated strychnine.
  • High doses may be the cause of poisoning symptoms accompanied by experiences of anxiety, increased sensitivity to light and sound, muscle stiffness, convulsions and, in the worst case, can lead to death due to stiffening of the diaphragm and depression of the respiratory center.
  • Nut emetic preparations are incompatible with compounds that precipitate alkaloids such as tannins and alkalis.
  • Never use vomit on your own, but follow the instructions of a herbal therapist.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.