Prunum, B.P. Prunes.
Prunes, or French plums, are the dried ripe fruits of Prunus domestica, Linn., var. Juliana, DC. (N.O. Rosaceae), obtained from trees cultivated in France. They are also official, as the partly-dried fruit, in the U.S.P. The fruit is collected when ripe, and dried, partly by the sun and partly by artificial treat. Prunes are of an irregular flattened, ovoid shape, about 3 centimetres long, are black in colour, and have a shrivelled surface. The pulp is brownish, and surrounds a hard, flattened, oval stone, which is rounded at one end, and marked at the other with a shallow depression. It contains about 30 per cent. of water and yields from 1 to 2 per cent. of ash. The seed has a taste resembling that of bitter almonds, the pulp being sweet and acidulous.
Constituents.—The pulp is the only part of the fruit used in medicine, and the chief constituents are about 40 per cent. of dextrose and about 2 per cent. of malic, tartaric, and other vegetable acids.
Action and Uses.—Prunes are mildly laxative, nutritious, and demulcent. They are employed in the preparation of confection of senna and other laxative confections.