Punica Granatum. Pomegranate.

Botanical name: 

Description: Natural Order, Myrtaceae. "The pomegranate is a small shrubby tree, with a very unequal trunk, and shrubby branches which sometimes bear thorns. The leaves are opposite, entire, oblong or lance-shaped, pointed at each end, smooth, shining, of a bright green color. The flowers are large, of a rich scarlet color. The fruit is a globular berry, about the size of an orange, crowned with the calyx, covered with a reddish-yellow, thick, coriaceous rind, and divided internally into many cells, which contain an acidulous pulp, and numerous oblong seeds." (U. S. D.) This tree is a native of Arabia, Persia, all central and southern Asia, and the southern shore of the Mediterranean. It is cultivated (in the West Indies as well as the Eastern Continent) for its orange-like fruit; and in high latitudes is a hot-house ornament. The bark of the root (granati radicis cortex) is most valued in medicine; and comes to market in short and narrow quills, dense, with a short fracture, ash-gray without and yellowish within. Water, diluted alcohol, and alcohol extract its virtues. The central portion of the root is woody and inert.

Properties and Uses: The root bark has been used as a vermifuge from the earliest dates of this era, among the Arabian and other Asiatic physicians; but has not been known among European and American physicians till a recent period. The results from its use are quite uniform in the ordinary stomach and bowel worms; and are many times successful against the tape worm, for which it is especially prized in Asia. The bark may be administered in powder or decoction, but the latter form is usually preferred. The decoction is prepared by macerating two ounces of the bruised bark in two pints of water for twenty- four hours, and then boiling to a pint. Of this a wineglass full may be given every half hour, hour, or two hours, until the whole is taken. It often nauseates and vomits, and usually purges. It is recommended to give a dose of castor oil, and to diet the patient strictly on the day preceding the administration of the remedy; and, if it should not operate on the bowels, to follow it by castor oil or an enema. If not successful on the first trial, it should be repeated daily for three or four days, until the worm is discharged." (U. S. D.) Mr. Stubbs, Hospital Stewart of the U. S. Barracks at Key West, recommends the following method as being the most uniformly successful: Obtain the strength of two ounces of the bark by treating it with a pint of ninety percent alcohol, in the percolator; and evaporate this tincture to three ounces. Take a moderate purge in the afternoon, eat no supper, and no breakfast on the following morning; and during the forenoon take the whole of the preparation–an ounce in some mucilage, or in milk, every two hours. If it should not pass from the bowels before midnight, give a prompt purge.

The rind of the fruit is a rather strong astringent, but not at all anthelmintic.

The flowers are also astringent. Besides the ordinary uses to which astringents are put, they are reputed valuable in night sweats. Dose of the powder, ten to thirty grains; or an ounce of the rind to a pint of water may be given in doses of a fluid ounce.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com