A practical guide for nutritional and traditional health care.

Cocculus Indicus
Indian Cockle

Anamirta paniculata

Plants belonging to the species called Anamirta paniculata bear fruits that are generally called Cocculus indicus or the Indian cockle. Plants belonging to the species are lofty, wooded, climbers that are native to eastern regions of India as well as the Malay Archipelago. They are often known as Levant berries - they have been named so because earlier they were carried from India passing through Alexandria and ports situated at the Levant.

Cocculus indicus is basically a small fruit roughly 12 mm long and having a deep brown or almost black color. The shape of this fruit has a marked similarity to the human kidney. While one surface of the fruits is either shrunk or sometimes somewhat concave, the other surface is distinctly arched. You are able to easily make out a little scar left behind by shoot on the flattened or concave side of the fruit and close to it you will notice a small distinction - which is actually the fruit's apex. This fruit develops from the swelling on the surface away from the carpel, which grows much faster compared to the ventral. As a result of this, the fruit's apex remains close to its base, which the rear surface turns out to be noticeably curved. Cocculus indicus has an uneven pericarp, which is delicately crumpled. Although the pericarp is slender, it is wooded.

Cocculus indicus contains a solitary seed that is loaded with oil. Two analogous lenticular fleshy growths of the mesocarp and endocarp wholly pack the concave having the shape of a cup. When you cut the fruit length wise along the carpel's middle line and get rid of the two bisected parts of the seed, you are able to easily notice the fleshy endocarp and mesocarp. Alternately, you can also somewhat see the fleshy ingrowths when you slice the fruit crossways. Irrespective of whether you cut the fruit lengthwise or crosswise, its oily seed demonstrates a section having a curved shape. While the fruit itself does not possess any smell, the pericarp tastes bland. But the seed of cocculus indicus is extremely bitter tasting. Ripened fruits are collected and dried up and later exported either from Mumbai or Chennai in India.

This climbing plant produces seeds that form the resource of a poisonous alkaloid known as picrotoxin. In the past, the seeds of this plant were mashed and used in the form of a medication to treat ringworm, besides being used in the form of a pediculicide (a medication that kills lice). The seeds were also used for various other purposes, including adulterating beer illegally with a view to augment its intoxicating value and in the form of an aid to catch fish by hand. When thrown into the water, the seeds of Anamirta cocculus are consumed by fish readily causing them to be intoxicated, which makes it easier to catch them.

It is interesting to note that earlier thieves also employed the poisonous seeds of this plant to drug their victims.

Besides India, this extremely poisonous plant is also indigenous to neighbouring Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia. The bark of this climbing plant has a light hue resembling cork, while the leaves are smooth green. Plants belonging to the Anamirta cocculus species are gender specific and bear either male or female blooms - never will you find flowers of both sexes growing on the same plant. The size of the fruits borne by this plant is comparable to that of a pea.

The shell of the seeds of Anamirta cocculus possesses emetic properties, while the fruit's kernel encloses a poisonous substance known as the picrotoxic acid. People who get poisoned by consuming these seeds experience a number of unpleasant symptoms including  vomiting, queasiness, protruding eyes, shaking while walking, muscle irritation that leads to spasms and twisting of the entire body, forming of foams at the mouth, incensed tongue as well as gums, breathing troubles and/ or rapid breathing. The symptoms abate for a while only to return even more aggressively. The poisonous substance present in the seeds works in the same manner as camphor, especially on our brain. Interestingly, camphor is also the main remedy for poisoning due to the seeds of Anamirta cocculus! Renowned German physician Samuel Hahnemann, who is also known as the father of homeopathy, first utilized this poisonous substance internally.

Parts used



Cocculus indicus is used to prepare a homeopathic remedy, which is an aid for people traveling by train, automobile, boats and plane, especially when it is not possible to stand up for prolonged periods and the trip gives rise to a feeling of weakness. In addition, this homeopathic remedy has also proven to be very effective for people who have been exhausted by tension and strain. Cocculus indicus is ideal for treating a variety of conditions, including vertigo, motion sickness, jet lag, insomnia or sleeplessness, lack of appetite and also a horrible pain in the region of the lumbar (lower back). You may also use this homeopathic remedy prepared from a climbing shrub native to India to cure debility, sensitivity to noise as well as numbness. Some people are often sad and find it difficult to concentrate on anything. These symptoms usually deteriorate further when they are talking, moving, thinking about food and smoking. Cocculus indicus is the ideal homeopathic remedy for alleviating these conditions.

Cocculus indicus is also an effective homeopathic remedy for headaches owing to mental stimulation, nervousness, lack of adequate or quality sleep, irritation or grief. This type of headache begins at the back of the neck and head and gradually spreads to the spine. People suffering from this type of headache experience a nasty pain and it seems that a cord has been firmly tied around their head. They also feel as if their head is empty. The pain deteriorates further when the individual is lying down or when he/ she is riding.

The homeopathic remedy Cocculus indicus is also an effective remedy for several conditions endured by women, including leucorrhea (white mucous discharges from the vagina) and dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation). Some women experience an intermittent colic pain in the region of their uterine that leads to hemorrhoids during their menstrual period. In addition, such women also feel so feeble that they are even afraid to stand up.

This homeopathic remedy is also useful for treating mental symptoms attributed to nervousness or grief. People who require this remedy feel as if the time is passing very quickly and they are unable to tolerate contradictions. They also understand or realize things very slowly and usually do not have the precise word to articulate their thoughts. They suffer from a poor memory and often forget what they have just read.

Individuals who are said to belong to the Cocculus temperament have a propensity to be so concerned about other people that they often interfere with others affairs. While they are looking after their loved people who are sick, such individuals have a propensity to even overlook their own health and may easily become tired or feel depressed. When such people are under stress, they usually become nervous, quiet and absentminded.

Cocculus indicus is an excellent homeopathic remedy for people who have been feeling weary and exhausted for a long time, but they are unlikely to admit that they are drained. In addition, such tiredness may generally be accompanied by sleeplessness, fainting and memory loss (fugue).


Cocculus indicus is a homeopathic remedy prepared from the seeds of a climbing shrub called the Indian cockle (botanical name Cocculus indicus). Preparing this remedy involves grounding and permeating the seeds in alcohol, which yields the mother tincture. It is worth mentioning here that homeopathic remedies are created by scientifically dilution and succussion of medicines with a view to ensure that not even the slightest trace of the original substance used to prepare the medicine remains in the end product or the homeopathic remedy that is used to treat numerous conditions.

Homeopathic remedies are not only safe for use, but also do not result in any side effects, as they are extremely diluted blends of substances that occur naturally. Although the homeopathic remedy Cocculus indicus does not interact with any conventional medicines, it is essential that before using it, you should consult your physician like you would check with your physician before undergoing any alternative treatment or taking any dietary supplement.

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