Indian Berries, or Indian Cockles. The fruit of Menispermum (Anamirta) Cocculus. Nat. Ord. Menispermaceae. Linn. Syst. Dicia Dodecandria. Source, Malabar and the Eastern Archipelago.
Med. Prop. and Action. The berries are never given internally. The kernels contain a non-nitrogenous, crystalline, neutral poisonous principle, Picro-toxin (C10H6O4), the properties of which have been examined by Dr. Glover. From numerous experiments, he concludes, that it acts on the spinal cord; that under its use the animal temperature is much increased; that the iris is contractile until the symptoms are very severe; and that, though a powerful acro-narcotic poison, it is less formidable than Aconitine. In all animals killed by it, he observed congestion of the base of the brain. From its intoxicating properties, it is used for entrapping game and fish, but animals thus caught are often very dangerous to eat. Dishonest brewers use the Extract for adulterating porter. Externally, the seeds are used in the form of ointment, or Picrotoxin (gr. x.) is occasionally substituted for them.
* Bengal Dispensatory, p. 198.
Monthly Journ. of Med. Sciences, April 1851.
cocculus indicus - codeia. 247
Offic. Prep. Unguentum Cocculi (Seeds of Cocculus Indicus grs. lxxx.; Prepared Lard oz. j.).
Cutaneous Affections. In Porrigo Furfurfans and Porrigo Lupinosa, the ointment has been successfully employed by Bateman;* and Dr. Elliotson states that he has seen great benefit result from its use. In Scabies, Ringworm, and to destroy vermin in the hair, the ointment is also occasionally used with success.