Colocynthis. Citrullus colocynthis.

Botanical name: 


Colocynthin, extractive, fixed oil, resin, gum, pectin, calcium and magnesium phosphate.


Extractum Colocynthidis, Extract of Colocynth. Dose, from one-half to two grains.
Extractum Colocynthidis Compositum, Compound Extract of Colocynth. Dose, from five to twenty grains.
Specific Medicine Colocynth, Dose, from one-twentieth to three minims.

Physiological Action—Hydragogue cathartic, tonic. In excessive doses it causes violent emesis, catharsis, bloody stools, severe burning colicky pains, spasms, and in some cases death.

Dr. Cressman of Illinois reported a case poisoned by colocynth. The patient was taken with violent pain in the stomach and bowels, followed immediately by vomiting. The bowels moved once, then. The tongue was clean; the pupils were dilated; pulse weak and rapid; respiration short; skin cool and moist; intense frontal headache. The pain in the extremities increased with the pain in the back. In twenty-four hours the pulse was weak, temperature subnormal, bowels moving every fifteen or twenty minutes, movements streaked with blood, headache very intense, tenesmus extreme. By hypodermics of morphine for the pain, and carbolic acid and subnitrate of bismuth for the intestinal disturbance, she slowly recovered, but subnormal temperature continued for several days.

Specific Symptomatology—Acute, cutting pains in the stomach and bowels in infants-in otherwise perfect health. Intestinal derangements denoted by screams and sharp crying out in sleep, persistent crying and screaming with drawing up of the legs in very young babes. Spasmodic pain of all kinds in the stomach or bowels.

Therapy—Five drops of the tincture in half a glass of water, a teaspoonful every fifteen minutes, will cure infantile colic with the above symptoms in an hour. It is serviceable in all forms of colic in these small doses, whether from the liver, stomach or the intestines, if the pain is sharp, quick and of a cutting character. It will cure neuralgic colic wherever located, and also some cases of idiopathic neuralgia.

In large doses it is cathartic and depressant in its action, slowing the heart and reducing the temperature and at the same time producing great irritation, consequently feebleness and inflammation are contraindications to its use.

In bilious dyspepsia, so-called, with distension or a feeling of fullness in the stomach after eating, it is a good remedy in minute doses given after meals. The tincture is a better remedy than the specific, as the latter is too active. It is a good plan to dilute it for every day prescribing, in the proportion of one dram to nine drams of dilute alcohol. Of this ten minims in a four-ounce mixture will produce excellent results.

Colocynth is advised for ovarian trouble where the pain is sharp and cutting; where the ovaries are enlarged and tender from neuralgia. Also during menstruation if the pain is griping, spasmodic, sharp, and severe. Ten drops in a four-ounce mixture, a teaspoonful every half hour or hour. In the latter case better results may be secured by adding to the mixture ten or fifteen drops of dioscorea.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.