Herbs Profile

Anthrapachaka (Indian Ipecac)

This climber grows all over the Indian plains. Its ‘viney’ nature reflects its ability to spread, diffuse and ascend upwards through the lungs. Anthrapachaka literally means ‘digestion in the entrails’ relating to its ability to remove parasites from the intestines.

Common name Indian ipecac (E) Sanskrit Antra-pa-caka Latin Tylophora indica/asthmatica–Folium (Asclepiadaceae)


  • Rasa (taste) Bitter
  • Vırya (energy) Cooling
  • Vipaka (post-digestive effect) Sweet
  • Guna (quality) Dry, light
  • Dos.a effect VPK=, primarily PV−
  • Dhatu (tissue) Plasma, blood, nerve
  • Srotas (channel) Respiratory, excretory


Alkaloids Tylophorine, tylophorinine (Bone 1996)


  • Sva-sa Benefits breathing
  • Anuloma Redirects the flow of vata downwards
  • Recaka Aids expiration
  • Rakta sodhana Blood cleanser


Expectorant, emetic, antispasmodic, antipyretic, alterative, antiallergenic, protozoal,  antitumour, immunosuppressant.


Lungs Asthma, bronchitis, rhinitis, hayfever; allergic conditions of the respiratory tract. Human clinical trials report the efficacy of its antiallergenic effect, proving beneficial in reducing asthma (Bone 1996).

Digestion Amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea; it has an antiprotozoal action and is antispasmodic. Seen as an effective replacement for ipecacuanha (Nadkarni 1954).

Immunity Allergies, autoimmune disorders; arthritis (Nadkarni 1954).


* Licorice, pippali in asthma, rhinitis and cough from high vata.

* Ashwagandha, bala in compromised immunity.


Nausea, as it encourages a movement upwards and outwards. Contraindicated in pregnancy.


No drug–herb interactions are known


250–500mg dried or 1 × 1–2mlper day of a 1:5 @ 45% tincture for up to 10 days continuously (maximum).


■ As it is a powerful herb with cumulative toxicity use only under the guidance of a qualified practitioner.

■ Use for a maximum of 10 days continuously in any one month and stagger treatment to avoid side-effects of possible nausea and vomiting (Tillotson 2001).

About the author

Dr. Ram Mani Bhandari

Experienced holistic doctor, healer, teacher, and writer
Specialized in Ayurvedic detox (Panchakarma)
Trained in India and Nepal, the original lands of Ayurveda
Graduate in Ayurvedic Medicine and Surgery (B.A.M.S.) from the Institute of Medicine at Tribhuwan University in Kathmandu.
Professional member of Australasian Association of Ayurveda (AAA)
Owner of Sunshine Ayurveda

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