Piscidia erythrina

Piscidia erythrina                      Common name: Jamaican Dogwood

Part Used:  Root bark

Constituents: Isoflavonoids (ichthynone, jamiacin, piscidone, rotenone, sumatrol, lisetin), glycosides (piscidin), calcium oxalate, acids (piscidic, malic, succinic, tartaric), alkaloids (only in stem), resin, volatile oils, tannins, saponin

Medicinal actions:  Nervous system relaxant, sedative, hypnotic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, bitter, antispasmodic

Medicinal use:  Is used for spasm and associated pain of uterus and skeletal muscle. It is indicated in insomnia, dysmenorrhea with associated nervous and/or musculoskeletal tension, migraine headaches and neuralgia. Is of great use for pain, general distress, inflammatory fever, rheumatism, spasmodic cough, bronchitis, intestinal colic, gall-stone colic, renal colic, labor pains, facial neuralgia, ovarian neuralgia, sleeplessness, delirium, and toothache. Will ease muscle spasms and cramps, especially of nervous origin.


  • Isoflavonoid (rotenone) is antispasmodic and a cardiac sedative. It is also an insecticide and has anti-cancer activity and is responsible for the plant’s toxicity.

Pharmacy: Decoction: 1 tsp/cup, TID. Dried root bark: 1-2g, TID. Tincture (1:2, 60%), 3-6ml QD.

Toxicity: It is narcotic and should not be used in excess of the prescribed dosage range. May cause nausea.  If given in high enough doses, piscidia will cause bradycardia and if given in toxic amounts will cause convulsions, general paralysis, and death.

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