Developed in the 19th century, ipecacuanha, or ipecacuanha syrup, is an emetic, a substance that causes a patient to vomit after ingesting. Ipecacuanha was invented as a remedy to poisoning and is still available today. However, with advances in science, safer and more effective antidotes exist.
According to "Origins and Uses of Ipecac" by H.H. Fisher, ipecacuanha syrup, discovered originally as a cure for dysentery in the 17th century, comes from the Cephaelus Ipecacuana plant. Bernadino Gomez, a 19th century Portuguese scientist, developed ipecacuanha's emetic properties.
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Safer and more efficient poison antidotes are on the market, such as activated charcoal. If you accidentally ingest a poison, call 911 or the local Poison Control Center, which will provide emergency assistance if necessary.
Also, the Journal of Adolescent Health indicates that people with eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa may abuse ipecacuanha. Ipecacuanha abuse may lead to various cardiac issues as serious as death.
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