Cydonia vulgaris. Quince.
Nat. Ord. — Pomaceae. Sex. Syst. — Icosandria Pentagynia.
Description. — This is a well-known shrub or tree from eight to twenty feet high, the leaves being oblong-ovate, obtuse at base, acute at apex, entire, smooth above, tomentose beneath. The flowers are solitary, white with a purple tinge, large, terminal. The pome or fruit tomentose, obovoid, yellow when ripe, of an agreeable odor, and a rough, astringent, acidulous taste, and in each of its five cells contains from eight to fourteen seeds.
History. — The Quince Tree is a native of Candia, but is cultivated extensively in this country and Europe, and its fruit is much employed in making jellies, preserves, etc. The seeds are the officinal portion ; they are ovate, angled, reddish-brown externally, white within, inodorous, nearly tasteless, being slightly bitter when long chewed. The external covering of the seeds contains an abundance of mucilage, which may be extracted by boiling water ; two drachms of the seeds will render a pint of water thick and ropy. The decoction, evaporated to dryness and powdered, will form a proper mucilage with water in the proportions of three grains to the fluidounce. One part of it gives a semi-syrupy consistence to a thousand parts of water. Pereira proposes to call this mucilage Cydonin ; he considers it a peculiar variety of gum, which, like Arabin, is soluble in cold or boiling water, and gelatinizes with sesquichloride of iron ; but, unlike that principle, it is not affected by silicate of potassa.
Properties and Uses. — Decoction of Quince Seeds forms a demulcent mucilage, very useful in gonorrhea, dysentery, aphthous affections, and excoriations of the mouth and fauces, also as a collyrium in conjunctival ophthalmia. A syrup prepared from the fruit, or the jelly, forms an agreeable article, either alone or added to drinks, for patients laboring under febrile diseases, diarrhea, dysentery, and nausea.
Off. Prep. — Decoctum Cydonii.