This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
ColocynthlS Ph. Lond. & Edinb. Co-loquintida: the dried medullary or pulpy part of a species of gourd or cucumber, (Cucumis Colocynthis Linn.) brought from Aleppo. It is very light, white, of a fungous texture, com-posed as it were of membranous leaves, with a number of roundish seeds lodged in the cavities.
Oxymel colchicum Ph.
Syr. colchici Ph. Ed.
The fungous medulla, freed from the seeds, (which are somewhat unctuous and sweetish, like those of the common cucumber) has a nau-seous, acrid, intensely bitter taste. It is a very strong irritating cathartic; commended by some, not only as an efficacious purgative, but like-wise as an alterative in obstinate chronical disor-ders; by others condemned, as a dangerous and deleterious drug. Thus much is certain, that" when given by itself, in substance, in such doses as to purge effectually, as eight or twelve grains, it operates for the most part with great vehemence; disordering the constitution, occasion-ing violent gripes and sometimes bloody discharges. Its principal use is as a stimulus to other purgatives.
Colocynth, boiled in water, renders a large quantity of the liquor ropy and slimy: even a tincture of it made in proof spirit is so glutinous, as not to pass through a filter, and not easily through a common strainer. The watery decoctions infpiffated, yield a large proportion, half the weight of the colocynth or more, of a mucilaginous extract; which purges strongly, but with much less irritation, and greater safety than the colocynth itself, and appears to be the best preparation obtainable from this drastic drug. The college of London directs a tincture of coloquintida in proof spirit, in which scam-mony and aloes are to be dissolved, and the whole infpiffated together. This form is greatly preferable to those in which the colocynth in substance is joined to the same materials.
Extract. colocynth. comp. Ph.