Jateorhiza palmata, (Lamarck) Miers. The dried root yielding not more than 2.5 p.c. of acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. E. Africa, Madagascar (Mozambique and Quilimane forets, along the lower Zambesi River); cultivated in Africa and E. India islands.

Syn. Calumb., Columba, Columbo, (Foreign) Colombo, Kalumb.; Br. Calumbae Radix; Fr. Colombo, Racine de Colombo (Calumbe); Ger. Radix Colombo, Kolombowurzel.

Jat-e-o-rhi'sa. L. fr. Gr...., healing, + ..., a root -- i.e., its medicinal virtues.

Pal-ma'ta. L. Palmatus, like the palm of the open hand with radiating fingers (segments) -- i.e., the leaves palmately-lobed or divided.

Ca-lum'ba. L. fr. native African name, kalumb, hence Colombo in Ceylon, supposed to be the plant's original habitat.


Perennial climber; stems several, green, 6-12 Mm. (1/4-1/2') thick, hairy, from short, thick, irregular rhizome; leaves petiolate, large, 25 Cm. (10') long, 35 Cm. (14') broad, orbicular, cordate, 3-5-7-palmately-lobed, lobes entire, wavy, hairy; flowers dioecious, 6's, 12 Mm. (1/2') broad; fruit 3 ovoid fleshy drupes, size of hazelnut, 1-seeded. ROOTS, from rhizome, many fleshy, fasciculated, fusiform; commercially in circular, oval disks up to 10 Cm. (4') and seldom exceeding 2 Cm. (4/5') thick, or longitudinal, oblique slices up to 30 Cm. (12') long; edge brown, roughly wrinkled, cut surfaces yellowish-brown, grayish-yellow, transverse slices radiate in outer portion with dark cambium, center often depressed (thinnest); fracture short, mealy; odor slight; taste slightly aromatic, very bitter.


greenish-brown, grayish-yellow--many starch grains, .003-.085 Mm. (1/8325/1/300') broad, few stone cells with one or more calcium oxalate prisms or sphenoidal microcrystals; few fragments with tracheae associated with wood-fibers. Solvents: alcohol (75 p.c.); boiling water largely (calumbin, berberine). Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).


Roots of Bryonia alba and Frasera carolinensis (Walteri) -- American Columbo. These sometimes are dyed yellow with turmeric or safflower, and made bitter with infusion of calumba or quassia, thus giving a near resemblance, but recognized by the lighter or slightly false color, absence of dark cambium zone, radiating lines, etc.; the latter also precipitates with iron salts, is not mucilaginous nor affected by infusion of galls, reddens litmus, evolves ammonia with fixed alkalies, and contains no starch. Occasionally with slices of the stem of Coscin'ium fenestra'tum, Ceylon, which are harder, smoother, and not contracted centrally; false calumba -- center elevated, not depressed.


Plant, also named Menispermum palmatum, Boc'culus palma'tus, and natively called Kalumb, resembles very closely our Menispermum canadense, reaching the top of lofty forest trees from the seacoast to many miles inland. Roots of wild plants are dug in hot dry season (March), tubercles separated, washed, cut into transverse and longitudinal slices, and dried slowly in the shade; often more or less worm-eaten. Portuguese always have controlled (1508) its trade, exporting it for 3 centuries via Colombo, Ceylon, also their possession to veil its origin; now enters market from Zanzibar, or via Bombay.


Calumbin .8 p.e., Berberine 1 p.c., Calumbic acid, calumbine (?), starch 35 p.c., pectin 17 p.c., gum 4.7 p.c., resin 5 p.c., wax, calcium oxalate, ash 6-8 p.c.

Calumbin, CHO. -- Gives most of the bitterness -- obtained by exhausting root or alcoholic extract with alcohol or ether, evaporating and letting stand several days for crystals to form, which are white, bitter, odorless, soluble in alcohol, ether, chloroform, alkalies, acetic acid, almost insoluble in water.  Dose, gr. 1/2-1 (.03-.06 Gm.).

Berberine, CHON. -- This is left in mother-liquor from calumbin, which is evaporated to dryness, exhausted with boiling alcohol, evaporated, allowed to crystallize upon standing.  Recently this content has been resolved into three alkaloids -- palmatine, calumbamine, jateorhizine -- which with calumbin constitute the drug's activity.  Dose, gr. 1/2-1 (.03-.06 Gm.).

Calumbic Acid, CHO.HO. -- Obtained from 3 p.c. oxalic acid infusion by adding barium hydroxide and treating precipitate with alcohol; it is less bitter than calumbin, amorphous, straw-yellow, soluble in alcohol, alkalies, almost insoluble in water or ether, and is in combination with berberine -- the two believed to be derived from calumbin, this latter being the anhydride of calumbic acid.

Calumba contains no tannin, hence can well be used with iron salts and alkalies as a substitute for gentian, etc.; its infusion or tincture, however, precipitates with infusion of galls or solution of lead acetate.


1. Tinctura Calumbae.  Tincture of Calumba (Syn., Tr. Calumb., Tinctura Colombo; Fr. Teinture de Colombo; Ger. Kolombotinktur.)


20 p.c.  Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 104 -- packing moderately; menstruum: 60 p.c. alcohol.  Dose 3ss-2 (2-8 cc.).  2. Fluidextractum Calumbae, N.F. (67 p.c. alcohol).  Dose, mv-30 (.3-2 cc.).  Extract, gr. 1-5 (.06-.3 Gm.).  Infusion, 5 p.c., 3ss-1 (15-30 cc.).


Tonic, stomachic, stimulant, increases appetite and digestion by stimulating the gustatory nerves, thereby dilating the gastric vessels and augmenting secretion, does not constipate; externally--antiseptic, disinfectant, anthelmintic.


Dyspepsia, debility, remittent fevers, dysentery, diarrhea, cholera morbus, cholera infantum, hectic fever of phthisis, vomiting of pregnancy, bowel flatus, purging; large doses emeto-cathartic.