This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
Chaulmoogra Oil. - The oil expressed from the seeds of Gynocardia odorata. From India.
Characters. - A pale-brownish unctuous solid, with a disagreeable smell and taste.
Composition. - Chaulmoogra oil contains a quantity of palmitic acid, with three other fatty acids, including gynocardic acid, the supposed active principle.
Dose. - 2 to 15 gr.
Chaulmoogra oil is believed to be a local stimulant, and a nutritive when administered either by inunction or internally. It was for a time much praised in leprosy, and has been used for phthisis, lupus, psoriasis, and chronic rheumatism.
CucurbitaceŠ. Colocynthidis Pulpa - Colocynth Pulp. - The dried decorticated fruit, freed from seeds, of Citrullus Colocynthis. Imported chiefly from Smyrna, Trieste, France, and Spain.
Characters. - Light, spongy, white or yellowish-white in colour, intensely bitter in taste.
Composition. - The active principle of colocynth is a bitter glucoside colocynthin, C56H84O23, usually amorphous, but crystal-lisable, and readily soluble in water.
Dose, in powder, 2 to 8 gr.
Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum. Colocynth Pulp, 6;
Extract of Socotrine Aloes, 12; Resin of Scammony, 4; Hard Soap, 3; Cardamom Seeds, 1; Proof Spirit, 160. Dose, 2 to 5 gr.
Pilula Colocynthidis Composita. Colocynth Pulp, 1; Barbadoes Aloes, 2; Scammony, 2; Sulphate of Potash, 1/4; Oil of Cloves, 1/4; Water, q.s. (about 1/4). Dose, 5 to 10 gr.
Pilula Colocynthidis Et Hyoscyami. Made like the compound pill with \ its weight of Extract of Hyoscyamus. Lose, 5 to 10 gr.
Colocynth is a powerful gastro-intestinal stimulant or irritant, according to the amount, causing speedy large and watery evacuations of the bowels, attended by griping and general depression unless its effect be covered by a carminative. It is one of the most powerful of officinal purgatives, acting as a hydragogue cathartic at once upon the muscular coat and intestinal glands and liver, the secretions of which are rendered abundant and watery.
Colocynth is always used in combination with milder purgatives and carminatives. The compound pills are extensively employed alone, or with calomel or blue pill, as an occasional purgative, to produce free evacuation of the bowels, and relieve the portal system, after free living, bilious derangement, or chronic constipation. It is less suitable as a habitual purgative. Its hydragogue effect is employed in cerebral congestion, where rapid "derivation" is required, and in dropsies, especially ascites, either alone or as the basis of a pill containing elaterium. Colocynth must be given with caution in pregnancy, and entirely avoided in delicate or irritable conditions of the stomach and bowels.
Ecbalii Fructus - Squirting Cucumber Fruit. - The fruit, very nearly ripe, of the Squirting Cucumber, Ecbalium Officinarum.
Composition. - Elaterium contains an active neutral principle, elaterin, C20H18O5, occurring in small colourless silky prisms, odourless, with an intensely bitter acrid taste; insoluble in water, soluble in spirit.
Elaterium. - A sediment from the juice of Ecbalium Officinarum.
Source. - Made by pressing the juice from the incised fruit, straining, filtering, and drying the sediment.
Characters. - In flattened or slightly incurved pieces about 1 line thick; light, greenish-grey, friable.
Impurities. - Starch, flour, and chalk; detected by ordinary tests.
Dose. - 1/16 to 1/2 gr.
From Elaterium is prepared:
Pulvis Elaterii Compositus. - 1 to 9 of Sugar of Milk. Dose, 1/2 to 5 gr.
Elaterium acts much like colocynth, as a gastro-intestinal irritant, but is decidedly more violent, being the most powerful hydragogue purgative which we possess. It produces, even in doses of 1/12 to 1/6 gr., numerous very watery motions, with griping and considerable depression.
Elaterium is used almost entirely as a hydragogue purgative in dropsies and uraemia, relieving the venous pressure by free evacuation of fluid into the bowel. More rarely it is given as a rapid "derivative" in cerebral cases; and still more rarely as an evacuant in obstinate constipation. This drug must be used with caution, doses of 1/16 grain being given at first, as the strength in elaterin is uncertain. It must not be ordered in catarrhal states of the stomach or bowels.