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Jamaican Dogwood - Uses and Side Effects

It contains isoflavones, organic acids, ichthynone, rotenones, and tannins. Both rotenone and ichthynone have produced toxic effects; rotenone may be carcinogenic. The liquid extract possesses sedat...

It contains isoflavones, organic acids, ichthynone, rotenones, and tannins. Both rotenone and ichthynone have produced toxic effects; rotenone may be carcinogenic. The liquid extract possesses sedative, hypnotic, antitussive, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic properties. Jamaican dogwood is available as dried bark and liquid extract.Safety Risk Because of its rotenone and ichthynone components, Jamaican dogwood is toxic and should be avoided.Reported usesJamaican dogwood is used for anxiety, neuralgia, migraines, insomnia, and dysmenorrhea.AdministrationBecause of its rotenone and ichthynone components, Jamaican dogwood is toxic and should be avoided. Root bark and liquid extract are no longer used.HazardsAdverse reactions of Jamaican dogwood include numbness, tremors, salivation, and sweating. When used with CNS depressants or herbs with sedative properties, such as calamus, calendula, California poppy, capsicum, catnip, celery, couch grass, elecampane, golden seal, gotu kola, hops, kava-kava, lemon balm, sage, sassafras, shepherd's purse, Siberian ginseng, skullcap, St. John's wort, valerian, wild lettuce, and yerba mate, it may enhance sedative effects.Children shouldn't use Jamaican dog-wood because neuromuscular depressant effects are potentiated in this age group. Pregnant and breast-feeding patients should avoid use as well.Clinical considerationsAdvise patient not to use Jamaican dogwood because of its potential toxicity and the lack of data regarding its efficacy.Elderly patients are more sensitive to Jamaican dogwood's toxic effects. Suspect toxicity and contact the health care provider if patient complains of numbness, tremors, salivationArticle Submission, and sweating.Don't confuse Jamaican dogwood with American dogwood (Comus fLorida).Caution patient to keep Jamaican dog-wood out of the reach of children.Tell patient to notify pharmacist of any herbal and dietary supplements that he's taking when obtaining a new prescription.Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a conventional treatment with proven efficacy may be available.Research summaryStudies indicate that Jamaican dogwood is toxic and should be avoided due to its rotenone and ichthynone components.

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