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Punica Granatum

The decoction of the tender leaves is used as a gargle and wash in angina, aphthæ, and wounds within the buccal cavity

NOM. VULG.—Granada, Sp. and Fil. dialects; Pomegranate, Eng.

USES.—The decoction of the tender leaves is used as a gargle and wash in angina, aphthæ, and wounds within the buccal cavity.

The peel of the fruit is highly astringent and in decoction is a useful agent in treating chronic diarrhoea, and locally in injections of lotions for leucorrhoea and inflamed hæmorrhoids. It should not be given when rectal tenesmus exists. The Pharmacopoeia of India contains the following formula for preparing the decoction of the peel: Pulp of the fruit, mashed 60 grams.

Water 600 grams.

Boil for 15 minutes in a covered vessel, cool, filter and add water enough to make a liter. Dose, 30–50 grams per diem.

This preparation is also used in astringent gargles and injections. For internal use the decoction is rendered more active by adding a small quantity of cloves or cinnamon. This mixture with the addition of opium gives excellent results in the treatment of diarrhoea among the natives of India and is highly recommended by Dr. Kirkpatrick.

The most important part of the pomegranate, however, is its root, the bark of which is a very efficient tænifuge and the most astringent portion of the plant. It should be used fresh, as drying destroys its activity and gives negative results.

Many failures to expel the tænia are probably due to this fact. According to Béranger-Féraud the root gives 25% to 40% of cures, whereas pumpkin seeds give but 5% to 10%.

DECOCTION.—(French Codex.) Fresh bark of pomegranate root 60 grams.

Water 750 grams.

Macerate 6 hours, boil over slow fire till reduced to 500 grams. Strain.

Administer fasting, in 3 doses half an hour apart. The evening before the patient should eat a light meal and take a cathartic in order that the intestinal canal may contain the smallest possible quantity of fæcal matter. After taking the third dose of the decoction the patient should take a mild purgative such as 30 grams of castor oil to expel the tænia. This preparation has a most disagreeable taste. It is better to give the “tannate of pelletierine,” a compound of tannin and one of the alkaloids that Tanret discovered in pomegranate root. A sufficient dose of tannate of pelletierine is 30–40 centigrams in wafer form, followed by a purge and with the other precautions and preparatory measures mentioned above. It causes toxic symptoms similar to those produced by curare, according to the experimental studies of Dujardin-Beaumetz and Rochenière. Its action is upon the ends of the motor nerves. A dose of 40 centigrams may cause in man such symptoms of intoxication as vertigo, inverted vision and muscular paralysis. Pelletierine should not be administered to children, but Béranger-Féraud states that the tannate may be safely given them, as follows: Tannate of pelletierine 0.30 grams.

Sweetened water 40.00 grams.

A coffee-spoonful of this solution contains 0.03 gram of the tannate, and this quantity may be given to a child, in a little milk. If no symptoms supervene within one-half hour give another similar dose and so on up to 3 or 4 doses or .12 gm. in all. After the last dose give the purgative as a routine. It is certainly imprudent to trust the administration of such a drug to any one incapable of recognizing the symptoms of intoxication, and as no one but a physician can judge the effects of the alkaloid he himself should remain with the patient until the efficient dose has been absorbed. This is manifestly impractical and we therefore maintain that the alkaloid is not suited for the treatment of children.

An analysis of the root bark made by the French chemist Tanret revealed the presence of four alkaloids: pelletierine, isopelletierine (C8H15NO), pseudopelletierine (C9H15NO), and methylpeletierine (C9H17NO).

BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION.—A shrub 6–9° high with branches terminating in thorns; some of the branches abort and form thorns. Leaves simple, oval, oblong, without stipules, with short petioles. Flowers axillary, solitary or in pauciflorous cymes. Calyx, 4–8 sepals, persistent, fleshy, yellow or red. Corolla, 4–8 petals, imbricated. Stamens numerous, free. Style 1. Stigma thick. Fruit with leathery rind, about size of small apple, packed with seeds, each imbedded in a small amount of crisp, juicy pulp.

Reference book: The Medicinal Plants of the Philippines

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