247. Cassia fistula, N.F.—Purging cassia.
BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Tree from 20 to 50 feet high, with showy racemes 1 to 2 feet long, of bright yellow, fragrant flowers, followed by cylindrical pods of the same length. Legume woody, indehiscent. Tropical, extensively cultivated.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Cylindrical pods or legumes 450 to 600 mm. (18 to 24 in.) long and about 25 mm. (1 in.) in diameter, with a blackish-brown, woody pericarp; indehiscent, but with two smooth sutures or bands on opposite sides running the whole length of the pod, and showing the union of the two valves. The dorsal band is marked with a fine ridge, while the ventral band is seemingly divided into two by a shallow, longitudinal groove. The interior of the pod consists of numerous (25 to 100) transverse cells, each containing a single, flattish, glossy, red-brown seed, imbedded in a sweet, blackish-brown pulp; odor prune-like.
CONSTITUENTS.—The pulp, which is the part used, consists mainly of sugar (about 60 per cent.), with mucilage, pectin, albuminoids, and organic salts.
ACTION AND USES.—A mild laxative, generally combined with other mixtures. Dose: 1 to 8 dr. (4 to 30 Gm.).