Origin

The remedy here referred to is the bark of the root of Punica Granatum, or the pomegranate-tree, which is almost universally diffused throughout tropical regions, and grows wild in so many places, that botanists have been unable to determine with certainty its original country. It is the product of the wild plant which is most esteemed; that of the tree cultivated in gardens for its fruit, or the beauty of its flowers, being considered much less efficacious.

Properties

As found in our shops, the bark is in broken pieces or quills, of a grayish colour on the outer surface, yellowish on the inner, brittle with a short fracture, inodorous or nearly so, and of an astringent taste. it gives a yellow colour to the saliva when chewed. Nothing has been discovered which can claim to be considered as its active principle.

Medical Effects and Uses

This bark has some astringent effect on the system, and when given largely, produces nausea, vomiting, and purging. Known to the ancients as a vermifuge, it seems to have been quite forgotten in Europe, when the use of it was revived, in consequence of favourable accounts brought from Hindostan of its successful employment by the natives against the tapeworm. It certainly is not without efficacy in this complaint. The numerous reports in its favour, based upon experience, are sufficient proof of this fact, though it often fails, and has not fulfilled all the expectations that were at one time indulged. It takes rank with the male fern, to be employed in tapeworm, in the succession of remedies through which those affected with this malady are too often compelled to pass, before the effectual one is found at last. According to Dr. Küchenmeister's experiments, before referred to, it is much inferior to oil of turpentine and koosso, and about on a level with the male fern.

The medicine may be used in powder or decoction; but the latter form is almost always preferred. It is advised that, on the day previous to its exhibition, the bowels should be evacuated by castor oil, and the patient diet rigidly, so that the worm may be exposed unprotected to the action of the medicine. Two ounces of the bark are boiled in two pints of water to one pint, of which a wineglassful may be taken every half hour or hour, till the whole has been swallowed, or its action on the stomach and bowels becomes excessive. Should the plan fail, it may be repeated every day or two, as the patient may bear it, either until the worm appears in the evacuations, or the insufficiency of the remedy has been satisfactorily determined.