Drugs A - Z

Jequirity (Abrus precatorius)

Generic Name: Abrus precatorius

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Abrin, abrin A, abrin B, abrin C, abrus a chapelet, Abrusabrus (L.) W. Wight, Abrus cantoniensis, Abrus precatorius, Linn., Abrus pulchellus, abrus seed, aivoeiro, arraccu-mitim, ayurvedic phytomedicine, bead vine, black-eyed Susan, blackeyed Susan, Buddhist rosary bead, cain ghe, Carolina muida, colorine, coral bean, crab's eye, crabs eye, deadly crab's eye, Glycine abrus L., graines reglisse, gunchi, gunja, hint meyankoku, hung tou, Indian bead, Indian licorice, Indian liquorice, jequerit, jequirity bean, jequirity seed, jumble beads, juquiriti, lady bug bean, lady bug seed, legume, Leguminosae (family), liane reglisse, love bean, lucky bean, ma liao tou, ojo de pajaro, paratella, paternoster, peonia de St. Tomas, peonia, peronilla, phytotoxin, Pois rouge, prayer beads, prayer head, precatory bean, rakat, reglisse, rosary beads, rosary pea, ruti, rutti, Seminole bead, tentos da America, temtos dos mundos, tento muido, to-azuki, tribal pulse, weather plant, weesboontje, wild licorice.

Background

Abrin, a constituent of jequirity (Abrus precatorius), is toxic and ingestion of one bean by a child may be fatal. However, the boiled seeds of Abrus precatorius L. are eaten by the residents of the Andaman Islands in India; boiling the seeds reportedly deactivates the toxins. Abrin is being investigated for the treatment of experimental cancers and is used as a "molecular probe" to investigate cell function.

In folk medicine, jequirity is used orally to quicken labor, as an abortifacient (induces abortion), oral contraceptive, to treat diabetes and chronic nephritis (kidney inflammation), and as analgesic (pain reliever) in terminally ill patients. The whole plant has been used for ophthalmic (eye) inflammations.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Abdominal pain, abortifacient (induces abortion), abscesses, acne, allergies, animal bites, anodyne (pain reliever), anthelmintic (expels worms), anticonvulsant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-platelet agent, anti-suppurative (drains pus), antitumor, aphrodisiac, asthma, blennorrhea (mucous discharge), boils, bronchitis, cancer, colds, colic, conjunctivitis (pink eye), contraceptive, convulsions, cough, diabetes, diarrhea, diuretic, emetic (induces vomiting), epilepsy, evil spirits, expectorant (promotes coughing up of mucous), emollient (softens and soothes skin), febrifuge (fever reducer), fever, fractures in animals, gastritis (inflamed stomach), gonorrhea (STD), graying hair, headache, hemostat, insecticide, jaundice, laxative, leukemia, leukoderma (loss of skin pigmentation), malaria, nephritis (kidney inflammation, chronic), night-blindness, purgative (strongly laxative), rabies (prevention), rheumatism, sedative, snakebite, sores, spermatorrhea (involuntary loss of semen without orgasm), tetanus, schistosomiasis (tropical parasitic disease, urinary), uterine tonic.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for jequirirty. Abrin, a constituent of Abrus precatorius seeds, is toxic and its ingestion can be fatal. A common traditional dose is 5 grams of ground jequirirty root paste daily, which has been used for cramping, diarrhea, spermatorrhoea (involuntary loss of semen without orgasm), and abdominal pain. To expel worms (anthelmintic), 1 teaspoon of ground, dried jequirirty seeds once a day for two days has been taken by mouth. Ground Abrus precatorius and Curcumalonga roots have also been applied to wounds.

Children (under 18 years old)

There is no proven safe or effective dose for jequirirty in children.

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