The active ingredient in Buscopan® is derived from the leaves of an Australian native tree, known as the corkwood tree or Duboisia. Boehringer Ingelheim, maker of Buscopan®, is the world's leading grower of Duboisia, delivering by far the biggest part of the global requirement of the ingredient. Using sophisticated and environmentally-friendly farming methods, farmers in Australia grow and harvest the small shrubs. The dried leaves are used to create the high-quality pharmaceutical product.
Learn more about the fascinating story of Duboisia cultivation, and what Boehringer Ingelheim is doing to ensure that both product quality and environmental standards remain among the highest in the industry.
In the search for a safe and effective treatment for the pain of abdominal cramps, Boehringer Ingelheim learnt from the healing arts of some of the world's oldest cultures. Ancient Hindu physicians in India knew of the antispasmodic effects of a relative of Duboisia: the plant Datura. Today, the Buscopan® story starts in Ingelheim, Germany, where elite Duboisia plants are grown in greenhouses. These plants are bred to be resistant against nematodes and beetles. The best seeds are harvested and then delivered to the company´s plantations in South America and Australia for further on-site selection. Here, the shrubs grow on a large scale. The pharmaceutically important alkaloid scopolamine which is contained in the dried leaves and stalks is isolated and purified. Finally, the active precursor substance scopolamine is converted in a single chemical process into hyoscine butylbromide, the active ingredient of Buscopan®.
In 1951, the new medication was ready for commercial production. Buscopan® was launched in 1952. Today, with more than half a century of proven expertise in safe antispasmodic effectiveness, Buscopan® is the world's leading and most trusted treatment for abdominal pain.
Duboisia is a small shrub with a thick corky bark. The leaves that are used for the production of Buscopan® come from specially cultivated varieties of Duboisia, mainly grown in Australia. Duboisia is cultivated using state-of-the-art farming techniques to ensure the highest level of worker's safety and minimal environmental impact. Plantations use environmentally-friendly agricultural practices including:
In addition, a reforestation program with Eucalyptus has been started in Australia as Eucalyptus can be used by native species as a fodder plant.
Special mechanical harvester, fitted with filtered air-conditioning, protect farmers when they work. The plant nursery staff who collect and prepare the Duboisia cuttings, and other plantation workers, also wear protective clothing including overalls, gloves and safety eyewear.