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Granati Cortex, B.P., Pomegranate Bark. Granati Fructi Cortex, Pomegranate Rind. Pelletierina.

Botanical name:


Pomegranate bark (Granatum, U.S.P.; Pomegranate) is obtained from the stem and root of the pomegranate, Punica Granatum, Linn. (N.O. Lythrarieae), a small tree cultivated in the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The dried bark occurs in channelled or curved pieces varying usually from 5 to 10 centimetres in length and 1 to 3 centimetres in width. Its inner surface is smooth and yellowish, often exhibiting brown patches. The root bark has a rough outer surface of a dull earthy appearance, and often exhibits conchoidal depressions where portions of the outer layers have been separated by the formation of cork. Stem bark is usually in straighter and more regular pieces; the outer surface is smoother, exhibiting shallow longitudinal, corky furrows, but only few conchoidal depressions; it also frequently bears the minute, dark apothecia of small lichens. Both root bark and stem bark have an astringent and slightly bitter taste. They break with a short, granular fracture, the section exhibiting numerous fine tangential and radial lines. Most of the commercial drug consists of a mixture of stem and root barks, the former commonly predominating, and in view of the difference in alkaloidal value being small there appears no sufficient reason for separating them.

Constituents.—The bark contains several alkaloids, the most important of which are pelletierine (punicine) and isopelletierine (isopunicine). Both are liquid at ordinary temperatures and volatile; pelletierine is brown in colour, and boils at 195°; isopelletierine closely resembles it. In addition to these alkaloids the bark also contains methyl-pelletierine (methyl-punicine), a liquid volatile alkaloid boiling at 215°, and pseudopelletierine (pseudopunicine or granatonine), a crystalline alkaloid. The bark also contains about 22 per cent. of gallotannic acid. The total alkaloid present varies usually in good samples from 0.5 to 1.0 per cent., stem bark being of about the same alkaloidal value as root bark. It yields from 5 to 13 per cent. of ash, this wide range being probably partly due to earth adhering to the root bark.

Action and Uses.—Pomegranate bark is very astringent and unpleasant to the taste owing to the large quantity of tannin present. It is used solely to expel tape worm, either in the form of decoction, 60 mils (2 fluid ounces) every two hours for four doses, or as the alkaloid pelletierine and its tannate. Pomegranate bark is not purgative; its use as a vermifuge must therefore be preceded and followed by a brisk purge, such as castor oil. Poisonous symptoms from the absorption of pelletierine have occurred; they consist of giddiness, confusion of thought, and great muscular weakness.

Dose.—1 to 2 grammes (15 to 30 grains).


Decoctum Granati Corticis, B.P.—DECOCTION OF POMEGRANATE BARK.
Pomegranate bark, in No. 10 powder, 20; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the powdered bark to 120 of the water, boil for ten minutes, strain, and make up to the required volume, if necessary, by passing distilled water through the strainer. This decoction is used as an astringent and as an anthelmintic to expel tape worm. Occasionally it gives rise to giddiness, colic, and diarrhoea. Dose.—15 to 60 mils (1/2 to 2 fluid ounces).
Pomegranate, in No. 30 powder, 100; glycerin, 10; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).


Pomegranate rind is the pericarp of the fruit of Punica Granatum, Linn. (N.O. Lythrarieae), a small tree cultivated in the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The fruit is globular, and crowned with a large tubular, five-toothed calyx, enclosing the remains of the style and stigma. Its pericarp is hard and granular, brownish-yellow or reddish in colour, and about 1.5 millimetres thick. The interior of the fruit is divided by membranous dissepiments into several cavities, each of which is filled with large triangular seeds. The rind of the fruit, separated from the seeds and dried, constitutes the drug. It occurs in commerce in thin curved irregular pieces, granular and brownish-yellow in colour, and bearing on the inner surface the angular depressions made by the seeds. The fracture is short and granular, and the taste astringent.

Constituents.—Tannin is the chief constituent of the drug, and is present to the extent of 28 per cent.; it is identical with gallotannic acid. The rind also contains a yellow colouring matter, but the alkaloids which characterise the bark of the root and stem have not been detected in the rind. It yields about 6 per cent. of ash.

Action and Uses.—Pomegranate rind is powerfully astringent. It is administered in the form of decoction in diarrhoea and dysentery, and as an injection in leucorrhoea.

Dose.—1 to 2 grammes (15 to 30 grains).


Decoctum Granati Fructi Corticis, B.P.C.—DECOCTION OF POMEGRANATE RIND. 1 in 20.
Dose.—15 to 30 mils (1/2 to 1 fluid ounce).


C8H15NO = 141.13.


Pelletierine, C8H15NO, is a liquid alkaloid obtained from the root bark of Punica Granatum, Linn. (N.O. Lythrariaceae), a shrub or small tree indigenous to North-Western India, and cultivated in subtropical regions generally. The alkaloid may be extracted from the powdered bark by treating with chloroform and milk of lime, decanting the chloroform, and shaking it with diluted acid; the acid solution is made alkaline with solution of sodium hydroxide, and shaken with chloroform; from the alkaloids obtained, the pelletierine is separated by distillation in a current of hydrogen. Pelletierine occurs as a colourless, volatile, oily liquid, becoming brown on exposure to the air, and having a peculiar aromatic odour resembling that of wine. It is dextrorotatory, while its salts are laevorotatory, and is only slightly poisonous. Its aqueous solution has a strongly alkaline reaction. Specific gravity, 0.988; boiling-point, 195°, with partial decomposition; but it may be distilled in vacuo. By heating to 100° it becomes optically inactive. The base energetically absorbs oxygen from the air, thereby resinifying, and becoming dark in colour. In contact with the vapour of hydrochloric acid, it produces white cloudy fumes, and with acids forms well-defined crystalline salts. The alkaloid is precipitated from the solutions of its salts by most alkaloidal reagents, but not by platinic chloride. With cobalt or copper sulphate, it gives a blue precipitate. The tannic acid precipitate is soluble in excess of the reagent. Concentrated sulphuric acid with potassium bichromate gives a green colouration. Pelletierine should be protected from light and from acid vapours.

Soluble in water (1 in 23), in all proportions of alcohol, ether, or chloroform.

Constituents.—Pelletierine of commerce consists of true pelletierine and iso-pelletierine (isopunicine), the two constituents of the bark to which its anthelmintic properties are due. Isopelletierine has the same empirical formula as pelletierine, and the same boiling-point, solubility, and other properties; but it is optically inactive, and its sulphate is deliquescent, pelletierine sulphate being non-deliquescent.

Action and Uses.—Pelletierine has a specific action on tape worm, and its preparations are used on this account as anthelmintics. Immersed in a 1 in 10,000 solution of pelletierine, the parasite loses its power of movement in about six minutes, but will recover if it is then removed from the solution; it is, however, killed by ten minutes' immersion in the solution. Other intestinal worms are less susceptible to the action of pelletierine. It is usually administered as pelletierine tannate, but the sulphate, hydrochloride, and hydrobromide are also prepared, and given in doses of 3 to 5 decigrams (5 to 8 grains).

The dose should be given on an empty stomach, and followed after one or two hours by a brisk purge. The administration of large doses causes giddiness, confusion, and great weakness in the legs.

Dose.—2 to 4 decigrams (3 to 6 grains).


Synonym.—Punicine Tannate.

Pelletierine tannate is a salt of the alkaloid pelletierine, and may be prepared by precipitating an aqueous solution of 1 part of pelletierine sulphate with an aqueous solution of 3.3 parts of tannic acid, previously neutralised by means of solution of ammonia. The precipitate thus obtained is washed, dried at a gentle heat, and powdered. Commercially, however, pelletierine tannate is usually a mixture, in varying proportions, of the tannates of the four alkaloids obtained from the root-bark of Punica Granatum, Linn., and is prepared by mixing the ground bark with milk of lime, percolating with water, shaking the percolate with chloroform, and shaking the chloroformic solution with diluted sulphuric acid. To the neutralised solution of the mixed sulphates thus obtained a solution of tannic acid is added, when the sparingly soluble tannates are thrown out and subsequently dried at a gentle heat. This mixture of the tannates of punicine, iso-punicine, methyl-punicine, and pseudo-punicine is official in the U.S.P. It occurs as a light yellow or greyish-white amorphous, odourless powder, having an astringent taste and a weak acid reaction. It contains about 7 per cent. of moisture, which may or may not be water of crystallisation, but corresponds to two molecules of water. Dried over sulphuric acid and heated it turns brown at 150°, softens at about 165°, and when heated to a higher temperature decomposes and chars without melting; on ignition with free access of air it burns without leaving any residue. The aqueous solution is coloured blue-black by solution of ferric chloride, and forms white precipitates with solutions of lead, mercury, and zinc salts; platinic chloride, however, gives no precipitate. Solution of ammonia gives a white precipitate soluble in excess, forming a yellowish-red solution. The aqueous solution immediately reduces silver nitrate and gold chloride solutions to the metallic state, the former as a black precipitate and the latter as a thin purplish mirror in the test-tube. Sulphuric acid gives a yellow colour, the liquid on being heated turning slowly to green, and finally to purple. Nitric acid gives no colouration. Sulphuric acid, with a trace of selenious acid, produces a light bluish-green colour, gradually becoming dark green and developing a pink border. If a hydrochloric acid solution be shaken with excess of sodium hydroxide solution and ether, the separated ether leaves, after spontaneous evaporation, slightly yellowish oily drops, having a peculiar odour, strongly alkaline reaction, and producing white fumes when brought in contact with the vapour of hydrochloric acid. Pelletierine de Tanret is said to be a mixture of pelletierine sulphate and tannic acid.

Soluble in water (about 1 in 700), alcohol (1 in 80), in warm diluted acids; insoluble in chloroform.

Action and Uses.—Pelletierine tannate has the properties of pelletierine, but is preferred to the pure alkaloid and its sulphate on account of its greater insolubility in the stomach, with a consequent decreased tendency to absorption, the occurrence of which may give rise to symptoms of intoxication resembling those caused by male fern. The dose may be administered suspended in water. It should be given on an empty stomach, and followed after one to two hours by a brisk purge.

Dose.—3 to 5 decigrams (5 to 8 grains).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.

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