Botanical name: 

The fruit of Citrullus colocynthis.—Japan, Spain.

Preparations.—Tincture of Colocynth. Extract of Colocynth.

Dose.—For its specific use the dose is very small. Rx Tinc. Colocynth gtt. j. to gtt. v., water ℥iv.; a teaspoonful every hour or two. Of the crude article or of the extract, as a cathartic, grs. v. to grs. x.

Therapeutic Action.—Colocynth, when administered incautiously, acts violently upon the bowels, and in some cases produces dangerous and even fatal inflammation of the bowels. It is justly termed a powerful drastic hydragogue cathartic. From the violence of its action it sometimes causes tormina, inflammation of the mucous membrane, and bloody discharges. It sometimes produces nausea, vomiting, and long-continued hypercatharsis.

It will readily be seen from what has already been said, respecting the action of this agent, that it would be highly improper to administer it in the advanced stages of most diseases, or in any case of great debility; as also in all cases attended with or predisposed to irritation or inflammation of the bowels.

As a powerful deobstruent and hydragogue cathartic, it is recommended in the early stages of fevers, and in dropsy, particularly in passive dropsies, or those arising from visceral obstructions; it removes large quantities of serum, and is therefore powerfully depletive; and an additional reason for its use in dropsies is its supposed diuretic powers. It is also employed in torpor of the liver, and obstinate constipation, though we have more effectual agents. It is also used in amenorrhoea: as a deobstruent in this case it often proves beneficial. In cerebral congestion or inflammation, in apoplexy or coma, when a very powerful derivative influence is desirable, this agent constitutes one of our most efficient cathartics; it is also highly recommended in paralysis, especially in paraplegia. Though extremely harsh and drastic in its action, yet if properly qualified by combining it with other cathartics, or if united with demulcents and aromatics, it is rendered mild and perfectly safe, and constitutes one of our most valuable purgatives.

Specific Indications.—Pains resembling colic in the iliac and hypogastric region; tensive rheumatic pain, with muscular contractions; painful diarrhoea with tenesmus and mucoid discharges; dysenteric evacuations with pain resembling colic.

Specific Uses.—Following the indications as above, we find a most important field for this remedy. In colic affecting the lower abdomen, and especially if there is a desire for stool, there is no more certain remedy than Colocynth. In dysentery where the pain is in the right iliac region, or when the dysenteric tormina involves the entire abdomen, Colocynth may be administered. Persistent diarrhoea with tormina and mucoid discharges calls for Colocynth.

It is also a valuable remedy in rheumatism, in lumbago and sciatica, and in some cases of neuralgia. The reader will be governed by the indications as named, in these cases.

The American Eclectic Materia Medica and Therapeutics, 1898, was written by John M. Scudder, M.D.