Citrullus colocynthis, (Linne) Schrader. The dried pulp of unripe but fully-grown fruit with not more than 5 p.c. seed nor 2 p.c. epicarp, yielding not more than 2 p.c. extractive (purified petroleum benzin) nor 6 p.c. acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. S. And W. Asia, N. and S. Africa, in arid places, deserts; Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Morocco, Cape of Good Hope, Greece, Spain, Japan; cultivated.

Syn. Colocyn., Colocynth Pulp, Bitter Apple, Colocynth Apple (Fruit), Cucumber, or Gourd; Br. Colocynthidis Pulpa, Colocynth Pulp, Poma Colocynthidis; Fr. Coloquinte; Ger. Fructus Colocynthidis, Koloquinthen, Coloquinthenapfel.

Ci-trul'lus. L. Citrus, an orange, Gr..., citron, Ar. Origin -- i.e., named after color of the fruit when cut -- orange-red.

Col-o-cyn'this. L. fr. Gr...., the classic name of the plant.


Perennial tendril-bearing vine; stem angular, hispid, herbaceous; leaves many-lobed, hairy, 2.5-10 Cm. (1-4') long, subpalmately cleft on long hispid petioles; tendrils, with which it climbs, short, branching; flowers large, monoecious, both kinds similar, solitary, yellow.


before removing seed, nearly globular, 4-7 Cm. (1 3/5-3') broad, size of a small orange, usually more or less crushed and in broken pieces, with occasional patches of nearly smooth epicarp; yellowish-white; light, spongy; separable longitudinally when entire into 3 carpels, each containing, near the outer surface, the ovoid, compressed, yellowish seed; odor slight; taste intensely bitter. POWDER yellowish-white, buff and characteristically flaky -- fragments of parenchyma and vascular bundles, stone cells, aleurone grains, globules of fixed oil. Solvents: alcohol; diluted alcohol; water. Dose gr. 2-10 (.13-.6 Gm.); laxative, gr. 2-5 (.13-.3 Gm.); drastic purgative, gr. 5-10 (.3-.6 Gm.), repeated in 8-12 hours if necessary.

Commercial. -- Plant resembles closely the watermelon (C. Citrullus -- an annual with larger, smoothish leaves, and much larger sweetish fruit), and has been cultivated in English gardens since 1551. It is a very old medicine, the pulp, constituting 24.5 p.c. of the peeled fruit, being the portion that alone should be used; the separated and rejected seed possess slight bitterness, but also a fixed oil, 12.72 p.c., that, upon removal of testa, renders the kernels (one-half oil) somewhat prized in Africa for food, bread, etc. There are two varieties: 1, Peeled (Turkey), the smaller, best, usually from the maritime plain between the mountains of Palestine and the Mediterranean; shipped chiefly from Jaffa, Trieste, that from Spain being smaller, darker, more compact, less pulp, blackish seed; 2, Unpeeled (Mogador), the larger, inferior, covered with smooth, yellowish-brown firm rind. Fruit is gathered in autumn when turning yellow, peeled (or this, if to be done, may be deferred until after drying) and dried quickly by sun or fire; not known or used by native physicians as a cathartic, but simply as a protection against moths.


Pulp 24.5 p.c., Seed 75.5 p.c. Pulp contains colocynthin 2 p.c., Colocynthitin, pectin, gum (no starch), ash 15 p.c.; seed contain alkaloid (trace), fixed oil 12.72 p.c., albuminoids 6 p.c., ash 2-4 p.c. (whole fruit 4-5 p.c.).

Citrullus Colocynthis.

Colocynthin, CHO. -- The chief cathartic principle; an amorphous glucoside (bitter principle), obtained by exhausting with water the alcoholic extract, precipitating filtrate with lead acetate and subacetate; the yellow filtered liquid is treated with H2S to remove lead, filtered, then precipitated with tannin.  This tannate of colocynthin is dissolved in alcohol, the tannin thrown down by lead subacetate, filtered liquid digested with animal charcoal, filtered, evaporated.  It is a yellow powder, soluble in water, alcohol, boiled with diluted acids splits into sugar and resinous colocynthein.  Dose, gr. 1/2-1 (.03-.06 Gm.) -- hypodermically, gr. 1/4-1/3 (.01-.02 Gm.), by which method it is painful, and should be associated with cocaine.  The "Eclectic" resinoid, colocynthin.  Dose, gr. 1/4-1 (.0l6-.06 Gm.).

Colocynthitin (citrullin). -- A resin left after treating alcoholic extract with cold water in preparing colocynthin; occurs in white, tasteless microscopic prisms, soluble in ether, hot alcohol.


1.  Extractum Colocynthidis.  Extract of Colocynth.  (Syn., Ext. Colocyn., Powdered Extract of Colcynth, Extractum Colocynthidis Alcoholicum; Fr. Extrait de Coloquinte; Ger. Koloquinthenextrakt.)

Manufacture: Macerate, percolate 100 Gm. with diluted alcohol until exhausted (500 cc.), reclaim alcohol, evaporate residue to dryness, pulverize, add dried starch q.s. 25 Gm.; mix thoroughly, pass through fine sieve; 1 Gm. represents 4 Gm. of the drug.  Should be kept in small, wide-mouthed, tightly-stoppered bottles.  Dose, gr 1/2-2 (.03-.13 Gm.).

Peeled colocynth: transverse and longitudinal sections.

Prep.: 1. Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum. Compound Extract of Colocynth. (Syn.., Ext. Colocyn. Co., Powdered Compound Extract of Colocynth; Fr. Extrait de Coloquinte compose'; Ger. Zusammengesetztes Koloquinthenextrakt.).


Triturate together until No. 60 powder, extract of colocynth 16 Gm., aloe 50, cardamom seed 5, resin of ipomoea 14, soap (dried powder) 15, pass through fine sieve. Should be kept in small, wide-mouthed, tightly-stoppered bottles. Dose, gr. 5-15 (.3-1 Gm.).

Preps.: 1. Pilulae Hydrargyri Chloridi Mitis Compositae, 1 1/4 gr. (.075 Gm.). 2. Pilulae Catharticae Vegetabiles, N.F., 1 gr. (.06 Gm.) -- ext. colocyn. co. 6 Gm., ext. hyosc.3, res. jalap 2, ext. leptand., res. podoph aa 1.5, ol. menth. pip. .8, alcohol dil. q.s. 100 pills, Dose, 1.3 pills.

Unoff. Preps.: Fluidextract, dose, mij-10 (.13-.6 cc.). Tincture, 10 p.c. (alcohol), 3ss-1 (2-4 cc.).


Drastic and hydragogue cathartic, hepatic stimulant, diuretic; small doses bitter, stomachic; large doses emetic, irritant poison, causing violent griping, dangerous bowel inflammations -- gr. 90 (6 Gm.) have killed.


The Greeks and Arabians were unacquainted with its drastic effect, but prescribed it for its other properties. Now used as an evacuant, dropsy, melancholia, coma, apoplexy, paralysis, but never in pregnancy, nor where gastric or intestinal inflammation is present. It is very harsh and seldom used alone.

Poisoning: Same as for aloe, etc. Evacuate stomach, give demulcents, opium, stimulants.