Cracca schiedeana (Schltdl.) Standl.
Cracca toxicaria (Sw.) Kuntze
Galega sericea Lam.
Galega sinapou Buc'hoz
Galega toxicaria Sw.
Orobus sericeus Sesse & Moc.
Tephrosia emarginata Kunth
Tephrosia schiedeana Schltdl.
Tephrosia toxicaria (Sw.) Pers.
Tephrosia sinapou is an erect perennial plant, often with herbaceous stems though they can become more or less woody and persist; the plant can grow up to 100cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine. It is cultivated by various Guyana Amerindians as a fish poison and has potential for use as an insecticide[
The juice of the root and stems is used a fish poison (ichthyotoxic)[
The plant contains rotenonoids and has been used traditionally as a fish poison - rotenoids kill or stun the fish making them easy to catch, but the fish remain perfectly edible for mammals. Rotenonoids are classified by the World Health Organization as moderately hazardous. They are mildly toxic to humans and other mammals, but extremely toxic to many insects (hence their use as an insecticide) and aquatic life, including fish. This higher toxicity in fish and insects is because the lipophilic rotenonoid is easily taken up through the gills or trachea, but not as easily through the skin or the gastrointestinal tract. The lowest lethal dose for a child is 143 mg/kg, but human deaths from rotenone poisoning are rare because its irritating action causes vomiting. Deliberate ingestion of rotenone, however, can be fatal.
The compound decomposes when exposed to sunlight and usually has an activity of six days in the environment.
S. America - Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, through central America to central Mexico; Caribbean - Dominican Republic
Dry, open woods and pine forests, sunny slopes; at elevations up to 1,900 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Wild
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria; these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The root is used in the treatment of cancer[
A decoction of leafy branches is drunk to treat snakebite and is also used as an antisyphilitic[
The leaves are crushed and appplied as a hair-wash to rid the hair of lice[
A decoction of the plant (part not specified) is used to remedy blennorrhagia[
A decoction of the stems is used as a digitalis substitute for treating heart palpitations[
The plant, especially the root, contains tephrosine, a rotenone-like compound with insecticidal, pesticidal and piscicidal activities[
]. Rotenone is an isoflavone that has strong insecticidal, pesticidal and piscicidal activities, but is of relatively low toxicity to humans.
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