Jamaican Dogwood

Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Chijol, Cornouiller de Jamaïque, Dogwood Jamaica, Erythrina piscipula, Fishfudle, Fish Poison Bark, Fish-Poison Tree, Ichthyomethia piscipula, Jabín, Jamaica Dogwood, Jamaican Cornouiller, Piscidia, Piscidia communis, Piscidia erythrina, Piscidia piscipula, West Indian Dogwood.


Jamaican dogwood is a plant. The root bark is used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, Jamaican dogwood is used for anxiety and fear, for sleep problems (especially sleeplessness due to nervous tension), and as a daytime sedative. It is also used for painful conditions including nerve pain, migraines, and menstrual cramps.

Be careful not to confuse Jamaican dogwood and American dogwood.

How does it work?

Jamaican dogwood might cause sleepiness, decrease pain and swelling (inflammation), and decrease muscle spasms in internal organs.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Jamaican dogwood for these uses.

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).

Side Effects

Jamaican dogwood is LIKELY UNSAFE and poisonous when taken by mouth for self-medication. Jamaican dogwood is an irritant and can cause numbness, tremors, salivation, and sweating.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Jamaican dogwood is LIKELY UNSAFE for anyone to use, but people affected by the following conditions are particularly sensitive to the toxic effects and should avoid use.

Children: Jamaican dogwood is LIKELY UNSAFE for children when taken by mouth. They are especially sensitive to the poisons this plant contains. Do not give Jamaican dogwood to children.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It is LIKELY UNSAFE for pregnant women to take Jamaican dogwood by mouth. It can affect the uterus. It is also LIKELY UNSAFE for breast-feeding women to take Jamaican dogwood by mouth because of the poisons it contains.

Surgery: Jamaican dogwood might slow down the central nervous system (CNS), causing sleepiness. There is a concern that it might slow down the CNS too much when combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery. Stop using Jamaican dogwood at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Sedative medications (CNS depressants)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Jamaican dogwood might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking Jamaican dogwood along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.


The appropriate dose of Jamaican dogwood 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 Jamaican dogwood. 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.

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