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Anamirta cocculus

Anamirta cocculus

Indian berry (Anamirta cocculus)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Ranunculales
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Anamirta
Species: A. cocculus
Binomial name
Anamirta cocculus
(L.) Wight & Arn., 1834

Anamirta cocculus is an Southeast Asian and Indian climbing plant. Its fruit, Cocculus indicus, is the source of picrotoxin, a poisonous alkaloid with stimulant properties.

The plant is large-stemmed (up to 10cm in diameter); the bark is "corky gray" with white wood. The "small, yellowish-white, sweet-scented" flowers vary between 6 to 10 centimeters across; the fruit produced is a drupe, "about 1 cm in diameter when dry". [1]


Chemical substances

The stem and the roots contain quaternary alkaloids, such as berberine, palmatine, magnoflorine and colunibamine. The seeds deliver picrotoxin, a sesquiterpene, while the seed shells contain the tertiary alkaloids menispermine and paramenispermine.


Experiments based on ethnobotanical practices has shown that the plant itself to be effective in treating ringworm. Its crushed seeds are an effective pediculicide (anti-lice) and are also traditionally used to stun or kill fish or as a pesticide.([2], [3]). It is also used in homeopathic preparations in limited quantitities. In pharmacology, it is known as Cocculus Indicus.

Hard multum is a preparation made from Cocculus Indicus, etc., used to impart an intoxicating quality to beer.[1]

The wood is used for fuel and carving.[4]

Common names

The English common names are fishberry or Levant nut[5] (both referring to the dried fruit, and to the plant by synecdoche); it is variously known as ligtang, aria (Mindanao), bayati (Tagalog), and variations thereof throughout its natural distribution (the Philippines, East India, Malaysia, and New Guinea).

The name "fishberry" comes from the use of the dried fruit as a method of fishing, in which the fish is "stupified and captured"; this method, however, is considered "unsportsmanlike".[6]


  1. ^ Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Anamirta_cocculus". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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