81. Punicaceae.

Botanical name: 

366. Granatum

Fig. 179. Punica granatum - branch with flowers. The stem-bark and root-bark of Pu'nica grana'tum Linné, without more than 2 per cent. of adhering wood and other foreign matter.

BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Tree shrubby, 20 feet in height; branches erous, sometimes bearing thorns. Leaves opposite, entire, oblong, pointed at each end. Flowers large, rich scarlet, terminal. Fruit a berry about the size of an orange; rind thick, having a reddish-yellow exterior; pulp many-seeded, acidulous.

HABITAT.—Mediterranean Basin and various portions of Asia; cultivated in all warm climates for its ornamental flowers.

Fig. 180. Punica granatum. DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—The stem bark comes occasionally in quills, more frequently in curved pieces 20 to 80 mm. long, 5 to 20 mm. in diameter; bark 0.5 to 2 mm. thick, outer surface yellowish-brown, with grayish patches; longitudinally wrinkled; small lenticels. Inner surface light yellow or brownish-yellow, finely striate, smooth. Fracture short, smooth, inner layer of bark (phelloderm) dark green, inner bark light brown, odor slight; taste astringent, somewhat bitter.

Fig. 181. Punica granatum. The root bark has a rough, yellowish-gray to brown outer surface, marked with more or less longitudinal patches of cork, green inner layer of bark absent. Medullary rays extending nearly to the outer layer; inner surface smooth and yellowish with irregular brownish blotches.

Assay of the drug consists in the extraction and separation of the alkaloid from the drug by acidulated water, washing out the aqueous solution of the salt (after neutralization) with chloroform, again washing the latter solution with N/10 hydrochloric acid and titrating final solution in the usual way. No authoritative standard has been fixed.

STRUCTURE.—The tissue consists chiefly of large-celled parenchyma, traversed by one-rowed medullary rays of quadratic cells, each ray accompanied by a single row of crystal cells. The inner bark steeped in water and then rubbed on paper produces a yellow stain, which is rendered blue by ferrous sulphate, and rose-red by nitric acid, soon vanishing. These properties distinguish it from the bark of the box-root and the barberry, with which it is sometimes adulterated.

Powder.—Characteristic elements: See Part iv, Chap. I, B.

CONSTITUENTS.—Mannite, punico-tannic acid, 22 per cent. (resolved by hydrolysis into sugar and ellagic acid), and the active constituent, pelletierine, C8H13NO, with its three allied alkaloids, methyl-pelletierine, C9H17NO, pseudo-pelletierine, C9H15NO, and iso-pelletierine. Pelletierine is a liquid alkaloid, readily soluble in water, alcohol, and ether. Several salts of it are made, but the tannate is the official one. This is yellowish, hygroscopic, and pulverescent, with a pungent astringent taste, soluble in 700 parts of water and 80 parts of alcohol. Ash, not exceeding 16 per cent.

Preparation of Pelletierine.—Displace powder with water mixed with lime, exhaust percolate with chloroform, etc. It is claimed by Tanret to be the anthelmintic constituent. Is probably a mixture of several alkaloids.

ACTION AND USES.—Astringent, taeniafuge. Dose: ½ to 1 ½ dr. (2 to 6 Gm.). The alkaloid pelletierine is a taeniafuge in extensive use; it is given in the form of tannate in doses of about 5 gr. (0.3 Gm.).


Fluidextractum Granati Dose: 1 to 2 fl. dr. (4 to 8 mils).

Fig. 182. Pomegranate. 367. GRANATI FRUCTUS CORTEX.—POMEGRANATE RIND. Irregular fragments, of a yellowish or reddish-brown color; outer surface rough from tubercles; inner surface marked with small depressions; hard; brittle. It contains a greater proportion of tannin than the bark, but has the same medical properties.

A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.