Bitter Gourd, called Bitter Apple.
A native of the East, and of some other warm countries, kept in our curious gardens, and affording the famous drug called coloquintide. It is a small plant of the gourd kind. The stalks are thick, angular, hairy, and of a pale green. They cannot support themselves, but have a number of tendrils growing from them, by which they lay hold of every thing they come near. The leaves are large, broad, and very deeply divided at the edges. The flowers are of a pale yellow, large, and not unlike the flowers of melons. The fruit is a round gourd, of the bigness of the largest orange. The bark is hard, and the inner part spungy, with seeds among it: these are flat, hard, and of an oval figure.
The fruit is the part used; they take off the outer shell, and send the dried pulp with the seeds among it: but these are to be separated afterwards, and the pulp used alone. It is a very violent purge, but it may be given with proper caution; and it is excellent against the rheumatism, and violent habitual head-aches. These rough purges will roach the cause of disorders, that the common gentle ones would not touch; and the present practice denies the use of many of the best medicines we know.