Calotropis. Br. Add. Mudar.—The dried root-bark of Calotropis procera R. Brown (Asclepias procera L.) and of Calotropis gigantea R. Brown freed from the outer corky layer. These asclepiadaceous plants are natives of Hindostan, but have become widely naturalized in various parts of the East and West Indies. Their milky juice is a violent local irritant, which, when taken internally, acts as an emeto-cathartic and may produce a fatal gastro-enteritis. In India it has long been used not only for suicidal purposes but to kill newly-born female infants, and is also applied to the womb to cause abortion.
The root-bark occurs in short, more or less quilled pieces having a thickness of from one-tenth to one-fifth of an inch (two to five millimeters) and a width of not more than one and a half inches (thirty-seven millimeters). It is covered with a soft, grayish-buff, strongly furrowed and reticulated, easily separated periderm. The fracture is short and mealy; the taste bitter and acrid. According to C. J. H. Warden and L. A. Waddel, calotropis contains an acid resin, a crystalline, colorless substance, madaralban, an amber-colored viscid body, madarfluavil, and caoutchouc. (P. J., 1885, 165.) Lewin (A. E. P. P., 1913, lxxi, 142) has found a neutral principle (calotropin) which is a very active poison of the digitalis type.
Calotropis has been very largely used as a local remedy in Hindostan in elephantiasis and leprosy, and is asserted by John Morton (Indian. Medical Record, viii, 1895) to act with extraordinary efficiency upon chronic eczema. It has also been employed internally as a remedy in diarrhea and dysentery; also with less probability of usefulness in syphilis and rheumatism. Dose, of powder, from three to twelve grains (0.2-0.78 Gm.), three times a day, gradually increased until it affects the system.
Tincture of Calotropis. Tinctura Calotropis, Br. Add., two ounces to a pint (alcohol 6 per cent.), is given in doses of one-half to one fluidrachm (1.8-3.75 mils).