Colocynth. The dried, decorticated fruit, freed from the seeds, of Citrullus (formerly Cucumis) Colocynthis. Nat. Ord. Cucurbitaceae. Linn. Syst. Moncia Monadelphia. Source, Turkey, Northern Africa, Egypt, and India. Imported chiefly from Smyrna, Trieste, France, and Spain.
Med. Prop. and Action. Powerful drastic cathartic in doses of gr. ij. - x. in emulsion, but, from its extreme acridity, it is rarely given uncombined with carminatives, &c. The compound extract in doses of gi. iij. - x. is the most eligible form for its administration. Combined with Calomel or Blue Pill, it is one of the most generally useful purgatives we possess. Its activity depends upon a bitter principle, Colocynthin. It is said to act chiefly on the large intestines, and occasionally causes griping or tormina, nausea, and vomiting. To obviate these effects, it is advisable to combine it with Camphor, which Increases its purgative action, at the same time that its influence on the sentient nerves is greatly diminished. Henbane also modifies its action. When applied to an ulcerated or abraded surface, it acts as a brisk purgative; and Orfila states that gr. cxx. of the pulp, applied to the cellular tissue of the interior of the thigh of a man, caused death in twenty-four hours. In large doses it acts as an irritant poison, causing inflammation of the mucous membrane of the intestinal canal.
Offic. Prep. 1. Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum (Colocynth freed from seeds oz. vj.; Extract of Socotrine Aloes oz. xij.; Scammony or Resin of Scam-mony oz. iv.; Hard Soap in powder oz iij.; Cardamoms freed from the capsules in fine powder oz. j.; Proof Spirit Cj. Prepared by macerating the Colocynth in the Spirit four days, pressing out the tincture, and adding to it the Ext. of Aloes, Soap, and Scammony. The Spirit is to be distilled off, and the residue evaporated to a pilular consistence, the Cardamoms being added towards the end of the process). Dose, gr. iij. - gr. x.
'?.. Pilula Colocynthidis Composite (Powdered Colocynth oz. j.; Powdered Barbadoes Aloes oz. ij.; Powdered Scammony oz. ij.; Powdered Sulphate of Potash oz. 1/4; Oil of Cloves fl. drs. ij.; Distilled Water q. s. Prepared by mixing the powders, adding the Oil of Cloves, and beating into a mass). Dose, gr. v. - gr. xij.
Coloc. comp., with the addition of Extract of Hyoscyamus oz. iij.) Dose, gr. v. - gr. xij.
In Constipation and Visceral Obstructions, the compound Extract (gr. v. - x.), in combination with Calomel (gr. ij. - iv.), is one of the most commonly used cathartics; and for certainty of operation, it is one of the best formulae which can be employed. It may be repeated every six or eight hours till it operates. It is inadmissible in all inflammatory states of the intestinal canal.
957. In some forms of Dyspepsia, and in Gastrodynia, Colocynth is an eligible purgative. Dr. Barlow* speaks in high terms of the following pills, which, for half a century, have been successfully employed in the Bath Hospital: - Ext. Coloc. Co. gr. iv., Calomel gr. j., M. ft. pil. omni nocte sumend.; a grain or two of Extract of Hyoscyamus may be advantageously added. The stools rapidly improve, and the symptoms disappear under their use. As an adjunct, he advises the annexed mixture: -
* Cyc. Pract. Med., vol ii. p. 331.
SodAe Carb. iss., Aq. Purse Oviiss., Acid. Sulph. Dil. fss., Conf. Aromat. (Pharm. Lond.) iij., Spt. Menth. Pip. f3iij., M. Dose, fj. This mixture affords 324 grs. of the Sulphate of Soda, and 433 grs. of the Carbonates. In Dyspepsia, where the nerves of the stomach exhibit symptoms of much sensibility, and where the biliary function is not much deranged, Dr. J. Johnson* advises the following formula: -Ext Coloc. Co. ij., Pil. Rhei Co. j., Saponis gr. vj., Ol. Caryoph. gutt. iv., M. ft. pil. xvj., sumat. j., ij. vel. iij. hora somni.
958. In Dropsical Affections, particularly when connected with disease of the liver, Colocynth proves useful as a hydragogue cathartic, but it is inferior in efficacy to Elaterium. It was formerly much employed. In the Leucorrha of young Girls, clysters of Colocynth proved very successful in the hands of Claude (Verdun). He employed first a simple enema, followed by one prepared with Colocynth. A single fruit is enough for three doses. It produces a large number of stools, the latter ones being bloody.
959. In Apoplexy, Mania, and some other Cerebral Affections, Colocynth is particularly useful as a powerful cathartic and derivative. It should be given in full doses, and repeated until it operates freely.