Jamaica dogwood

Jamaica (or Jamaican) dogwood (Piscidia erythrina or Piscidia piscipula) has been used as a traditional remedy for treating nerve pain, migraine, insomnia, anxiety, fear, and nervous tension. As early as 1844, Western scientists discovered that Jamaica dogwood had pain-relieving and sweat-promoting properties. More recent scientific studies have also shown that bark extracts of this plant have anti-inflammatory, sedative, and antispasmodic (helps relieve smooth muscle spasms along the digestive tract) effects in animals.

However, Jamaica dogwood is potentially toxic. It has been used throughout Central and South America as a fish poison. This herb also contains a substance known as rotenone that has been used in insecticides to control lice, fleas, and larvae. Rotenone is believed to be nontoxic to warm-blooded animals, including people (when taken orally). Because of the potential danger from Jamaica dogwood, you should never use it without a doctor's close supervision.

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Herbal medicine

Review Date: 1/2/2015  

Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, NMD, Solutions Acupuncture, a private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

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