Cassiae Fructus. Br., Cassiae Pulpa. Br.
Cassiae Fructus. Br.
Cassia Pods [Purging Cassia]
"Cassia Pods are the ripe fruits of Cassia Fistula, Linn." Br. "The dried fruit of Cathartocarpus Fistula (Linne) Persoon (Fam. Leguminosae)." N. F.
Cassia Fistula, N.F. IV, Purging Cassia, Pudding-stick (or pipe); Fructus Cassiae Fistulae; Casse Officinale, Fr. Cod.; Casse en batons, Pulpe de Casse, Casse Mondee, Casse, Fr.; Rohrenkassie, Purgircassie, Fistelkassie, G.; Cassia, It.; Cana fistula, Sp.
Cassia Fistula L. (Cathartocarpus Fistula Persoon). This is a large tree, with a trunk of hard, heavy wood, dividing towards the top into numerous spreading branches, and covered with a smooth ash-colored bark. The leaves are 'commonly composed of five or six pairs of opposite leaflets, which are petiolate ovate, pointed, undulated, smooth and of a pale green color. The flowers are large, of a golden yellow color, and arranged in long, pendent, axillary racemes. The fruit consists of long, cylindrical, woody, dark-brown, pendulous pods, which when agitated by the wind strike against each other and produce a sound that may be heard at a distance. This species of Cassia is a native of Upper Egypt and India, whence it is generally supposed to have been transplanted to other parts of the world. It is at present very extensively diffused through the tropical regions of the old and new continents, being found in Insular and Continental India, Cochin China, Egypt, Nubia, the West Indies, and the warmer parts of the continent of America. Under the name of Golden Shower it is known as an ornamental shade tree in all tropical countries. The fruit is the official part of the plant. It is imported from the East and West Indies, chiefly the latter, and from South America. Under the name of Cassia Fistula they were for a long time official.
Properties.—Cassia pods are a foot or more in length, straight, or but slightly curved, cylindrical, less than an inch in diameter, with a woody shell, externally of a dark-brown color, and marked with three longitudinal shining bands, extending from one end to the other, two of which are in close proximity, appearing to constitute a single band, and the third is on the opposite side of the pod. These bands mark the place of junction of the valves of the legume, and are represented as sometimes excavated in the form of furrows. There are also circular depressions at unequal distances. It is described as follows: " Long, narrow, cylindrical, shortly stalked fruits about thirty-five to fifty centimetres in length, and fifteen to twenty-five millimetres in diameter. Pericarp nearly smooth, dark chocolate-brown or nearly black, thin and hard. Internally divided by thin transverse dissepiments into numerous compartments, each of which contains a smooth, oval, reddish-brown seed surrounded by a nearly black, sweet pulp." Br.
The N. F. describes it as in "cylindrical, from 25 to 50 cm. in length, about 20 mm. in diameter, chestnut-brown in color, on one side a longitudinal groove and on the other a smooth line or slight ridge, indicating the sutures; in-dehiscent, the cavity divided transversely into numerous compartments, each containing a reddish-brown, glossy, flattish-ovoid seed embedded in a blackish-brown sweet pulp. Odor resembling that of prunes." N. F.
The pods brought from the East Indies are smaller, smoother, have a blacker pulp, and are more esteemed than those from the West Indies. We have seen pods in the American market sold as cassia pods, which were an inch and a half in diameter, flattened on the sides, exceedingly rough on the outer surface, and marked by three longitudinal very elevated ridges, corresponding to the bands or furrows of the common cassia. The pulp was rather nauseous, but in other respects seemed to have the properties of the official purging cassia. They corresponded exactly with a specimen of the fruit of Cassia brasiliana, Lam., brought from the West Indies, and were probably derived from that plant.
The heaviest pods, and those which do not make a rattling noise when shaken, are to be preferred, as they contain a larger portion of the pulp, which is the part employed. This should be black and shining and have a sweet taste. It is apt to become sour if long exposed to the air, or mouldy if kept in a damp place. The pulp is extracted from the pods by first bruising them, then boiling them in water, and afterwards evaporating the decoction; or, when the pods are fresh, by opening them at the sutures and removing the pulp with a spatula.
CASSIAE PULPA. Br.
"Exhaust crushed Cassia Pods by percolation with Distilled Water; strain; evaporate on a water bath to the consistence of a soft extract." Br.
Cassia pulp has a slight odor, and a sweet mucilaginous taste. According to Henry it contains sugar, gum, coloring matter, and a tannin-like substance; while Haensel obtained from it by steam distillation a dark yellow volatile oil, also butyric acid. (Ph. Cb., 41.)
Uses.—Cassia pulp is laxative, and may be advantageously given in small doses in cases of habitual costiveness. In quantities sufficient to purge, it occasions nausea, flatulence, and griping. In this country it is rarely prescribed, except as an ingredient in the confection of senna, which is a pleasant and useful laxative preparation.
Dose, of the pulp as a laxative, one or two drachms (3.9 or 7.7 Gm.), as a purge one or two ounces (31-62 Gm.).
Off. Prep.—Confectio Sennae, Br.