Anamirta cocculus, Anamirta paniculata, Coca de Levante, Cocculus, Cocculus indicus, Cocculus lacunosus, Cocculus suberosus, Coculus Fructus, Coque du Levant, Fish Berries, Fish Killer, Hockle Elderberry, Indian Berry, Levant Nut, Louseberry, Menispermum cocculus, Menispermum lacunosum, Poisonberry.
Levant berry is the fruit from a vine (Anamirta cocculus) that grows in Southeast Asia. The dried fruit and seeds are used to make medicine in some parts of the world. But medicinal use has been abandoned in the US and Europe due to safety concerns. However, picrotoxin, the active chemical in levant berry, is still used in research.
Some people take levant berry to treat abnormal movement of the eyeball and dizziness. Picrotoxin that is taken from levant berry seeds is used for epilepsy, night sweats, and as a stimulant.
Some people apply levant berry powder directly to the skin to treat a skin disease called scabies.
In India, levant berry leaves are inhaled as snuff to relieve malaria. Whole fruits are used for paralyzing fish and killing birds or dogs. Jungle tribes apply picrotoxin taken from the seeds to arrow tips for hunting. Picrotoxin used to be used to paralyze fish in the fishing industry. Extracts are applied to the skin for treating lice.
How does it work?
Levant berry contains a chemical that stimulates the central nervous system, irritates the stomach and intestines, and stimulates the brain causing changes in breathing. It also slows heart rate and increases blood pressure.
Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...
- Abnormal movements of the eyeball.
- Night sweats.
- Use as a stimulant.
- Scabies, when a powder is applied to the skin.
- Lice, when extracts are applied to the skin.
- Malaria, when the leaves are inhaled.
- Other conditions.
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).
Levant berry is UNSAFE to take by mouth. The picrotoxin it contains can cause death, even in small amounts. Accidentally taking levant berry requires immediate medical attention. Levant berry cause side effects such as headache, dizziness, nausea, coordination problems, depression, spasms, twitching, increased saliva, vomiting, increased emptying of the bowels, rapid breathing, drowsiness, irregular heartbeat, decreased heart rate, unconsciousness, and death.
Levant berry may also be UNSAFE when put on the skin.
The appropriate dose of levant berry depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for levant berry. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.
The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co., 1999.