Origin and Properties

I adopt this spelling of the word, because it properly represents the sound. The medicine consists of the flowers of Brayera anthelmintica, a small tree, growing in the high grounds of Abyssinia, where its product has been used from time immemorial as a vermifuge. The flowers are imported packed in boxes. in mass they have a greenish-yellow colour, and, though closely pressed, retain the shape of the clusters in which they are taken from the tree. One of the characters of these clusters is the division and subdivision of the stems of the flowers into two branches. They have a fragrant odour, and a taste slight at first, but in the end acrid and disagreeable. Their activity probably resides in an acrid resinous principle; but this point has not been sufficiently tested. Their aqueous decoction is not without efficiency, but is not equal to the medicine in substance. The decoction in milk appears, from the experiments of Kchenmeister, to be especially powerful. It killed the tapeworm out of the body in half an hour; whereas the ordinary decoction required from an hour and a half to three hours to produce the same effect. {Arch. Gn., as before.)

Medical Effects and Uses

Koosso has little effect on the human system, at least in the quantities commonly administered. in the dose given for the tapeworm, it usually produces some uneasiness of the stomach, more or less nausea, and occasionally a cathartic effect. it has been equally efficacious in both kinds of tapeworm. Trials with it have now been sufficiently numerous to prove its extraordinary powers. Though noticed by Bruce in his travels, it was first introduced to public attention in Europe, by a treatise published in 1823, in Paris, by Dr. Brayer, a French physician who had been practising in Constantinople, and had become acquainted with the virtues of the remedy in the East. in Kuchenmeister's experiments, it far exceeded all other anthelmintics in the rapidity of its poisonous action on the worm. As above mentioned, it killed the taenia in half an hour, when applied in the form of a decoction in milk. It has already been stated that oil of turpentine, the next to it in power, required from an hour to an hour and a half, and castor oil required eight hours. A singular result of these same experiments is, that the medicine should have proved almost or quite inert in its action on the roundworms. Thus, while santonin killed the roundworm in an hour, koosso did not produce the effect under fifteen hours, and took rank with gentian, anise, and camphor. (ibid., p. 206.)


The ordinary mode of exhibiting koosso, is to give the flower itself in powder. The dose is half an ounce for an adult, to be diminished for children, though in somewhat less proportion than is requisite, in relation to medicines more energetic than this in their action on the human system. The worm probably requires as much to poison it in a child as in an adult; but, from the comparatively small extent of bowels in the former, a larger proportion would come in contact with the parasite in a given time. To a child two or three years old the dose may be from one to two drachms. The medicine should be taken on an empty stomach, and the previous administration of a cathartic is desirable. The powder should be stirred up in half a pint of warm water, and taken in two or three draughts at short intervals, to obviate nausea. Should no operation take place upon the bowels in three or four hours, a dose of castor oil or other brisk cathartic should be given. in general, more or less of the worm, and not unfrequently the whole of it, comes away after the administration of a single dose. if not, another trial may be made in a few days, and the dose increased, even to an ounce if found necessary.

The British Pharmacopoeia directs an infusion (infusum Cusso, infusion of Kousso, in English, Br.) to be made by macerating for fifteen minutes one-quarter of an avoirdupois ounce in four fluidounces of boiling distilled water. The whole is taken for a dose, without straining.