The drug is an abortifacient and vesicant. It is also used in the treatment of rheumatism, dyspepsia, piles and diarrhoea and as a diuretic. It is used as a counterirritant and for skin diseases. The drug is apt to cause abortion and in Malaysia, eating the leaves is said to cause similar action. In Africa, a cold infusion of the root is used for influenza and black water fever. The powdered root is occasionally taken as a snuff to relieve headache.