Specification & Spread

Pilocarpus leaves — folia jaborandi
Small-leaved pilocarpus – pilocarpus microphyllus lemaire (maranham jaborandi)
Spike pilocarpus — pilocarpus pinnatifolius lemaire (paraguay jaborandi) and etc.
Rue family — rutaceae.
The name «jaborandi» refers to leaves collected from various species of pilocarpus.

These are small evergreen trees or shrubs up to 3-4 m tall, with clear cicatricial traces of fallen leaves on the trunks and branches. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, unpaired and pinpistose. The sizes of leaves and folioles vary greatly in different species, but the shape of separate leaves is always elliptical. There is a small notch at the apex, which is a characteristic feature for all types of pilocarpus. The edge is solid, the veins of the second order are arched along the edge of the leaf. In the transmitted light, the numerous translucent spots, immersed in the mesophyll with essential oil are visible.

The flowers are regular, with a five-toothed green calyx and a pentapetalous brownish-purple leathery corolla with a diameter of up to 1 cm. There are 5 stamens with red threads and bright yellow anthers and a pestle with an upper ovary which are gathered in apical multiflorous drooping brushes up to 40 cm long.

The fruit is a rippled yellow capsule containing 2-5 shiny black seeds.

Spreading. Naturally it grows in the undergrowth of tropical forests of South and Central America. With medicinal purposes it is cultivated in a number of countries with tropical and subtropical climates. In Russia, the species of pilocarpus grow only in the greenhouses of some botanical gardens.

Harvesting. The separate foliole from cultivated plants are harvested.


The leaves of all types of pilocarpus contain:

  • alkaloid pilocarpine (up to 0.3%)
  • and are the source of its industrial production. The synthesis of pilocarpine was carried out by N.A. Preobrazhensky and his staff in 1933.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

The separate dried foliole of pilocarpus are used as raw materials for preparations. From it, the method of steam distillation produces an aromatic oil containing a large amount of pilocarpine and other alkaloids.

Properties and application


  • stimulates peripheral M-cholinergic receptors,

and causes:

  • increased secretion of digestive and
  • bronchial glands,
  • a sharp increase in sweating,
  • constriction of the pupil (with a simultaneous decrease in intraocular pressure and improved trophism of eye tissue),
  • improving the tone of the smooth muscles of the bronchi,
  • intestines,
  • gall bladder,
  • uterus.

Pilocarpine antagonists are atropine and other M-anticholinergic preparations.

Application of pilocarpus

Pilocarpine is widely used in ophthalmic practice:

    • for lowering intraocular pressure in glaucoma,
    • as well as to improve the trophism of the eye, atrophy of the optic nerve, with hemorrhages in the vitreous body.

Pilocarpine is also used:

      • for cessation of mydriatic action after the application of atropine, homatropine, scopolamine and other M-anticholinergics,
      • for pupil dilation in ophthalmic examinations.

When it is instilled in the usual concentrations in the conjunctival sac of the eye, pilocarpine is little absorbed and does not have a pronounced systemic effect.

    • hypersensitivity to any ingredient of the preparation
    • pregnancy and lactation
    • children’s age up to 14 years