Calumba - Some Benefits on Usage of Calumba
Common Trade Names
Multi-ingredient preparations: Amaro Maffioli, Appetiser Mixture, Bitteridina, Ducase, Elixir Spark, Padma-Lax, Richelet, Travel-Caps
Available as capsules and an elixir that is often prepared without heating as a cold infusion.
The root of the Jatorhiza palmata plant is dried and powdered. The powder changes color from green to brownish black as it rapidly absorbs moisture from the air and decomposes. The plant is native to Mozambique and Madagascar.
The plant yields columbamine, jateorhizine, palmatine, three yellow crystalline alkaloids, and columbin, a colorless crystalline principle.
In studies with anesthetized mice, columbin decreased the time of urethane- and alpha-chloralose-induced sleep and prolonged the sleep time of hexobarbital-treated mice.
No human studies have been reported, but anecdotal evidence suggests calumba's use as an antidiarrheal and antiflatulent and for treating chronic enterocolitis, gastritis, and indigestion. It is seldom used as a cathartic or digestive aid because of its morphinelike effects.
In an animal study using mice, 20 to 40 mg/kg/day P.O. was given for 5 days.
Traditional uses suggest the following doses:
Oral: 2 tsp of boiled root as tea every hour.
Single drops: 20 gtt of extract or 2.5 g of tincture can be used.
GI: constipation, epigastric pain and vomiting (with large doses).
Antacids, histamine 2 antagonists: May produce an additive effect in the GI tract. Reevaluate the need for both acid-modifying entities.
Contraindications And Precautions
Avoid using calumba in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown.
Recommend other drugs to the patient who needs an antidiarrheal.
Advise the patient to consult a health care provider before using herbal
preparations because a treatment that has been clinically researched and proved effective may be available.
Calumba overdose can lead to paralysis and unconsciousness.
Advise women to avoid using calumba during pregnancy or when breast-feeding.
Points of Interest
Calumba is cultivated for use as a flavoring agent and a dye.
Because human clinical trials are lacking, calumba cannot be recommended for use. More studies are needed in animals and humans to establish safety and efficacy. Given the safety and efficacy of approved antidiarrheals, further investigation and development of calumba for this application are of questionable value.
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