Vegetable Laxatives.
Martindale�s 24th. 
Part 3 of 5.
Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes

Figs. Prepared from fig 32 g., compound tincture of rhubarb 5 ml., liquid extract of senna 10 ml., elixir of cascara sagrada 5 ml., sucrose 54 g., and water to 100 ml.
A mild pleasant laxative for children. 
Dose: 2 to 8 ml. (30 to 120 minims).
The B.N.F. directs that this syrup be dispensed when Syrup of Figs is prescribed.

Syr. Fie. (B.P.C. 1934). Syrup of Figs. 
Add fig, cut small, 40 g. to 100 ml. of boiling water and digest at a gentle heat for 1 hour; strain, express, and wash pulp with sufficient warm water to produce 100 ml. evaporate to 50 ml., dissolve sucrose 67.5 g., and adjust to 100 ml. with water. 
Dose: 2 to 8 ml. (30 to 120 minims).

Prune (B.P.C.). Prunus.
The dried ripe fruits of Prunus domestica and other species of Prunus (Rosacese). Store in a dry place.
Uses. It has laxative and demulcent properties, and is an ingredient of Confection of Senna.

Tamarind (B.P.C.). West Indian Tamarind.
Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Belg. and Ger. Also in Ind. P.C.

The fruits of Tamarindus indica (Leguminosse) freed from the brittle outer part of the pericarp and preserved with sugar. A dark reddish-brown moist sugary mass with a fragrant, fruity odour and a sweet, pleasantly acid taste; it contains tartaric acid, potassium hydrogen tartrate, and about 30% of invert sugar. It should be stored in a cool place.
Uses. A mild laxative, and an ingredient of Confection of Senna.


Buckthorn (B.P.C. 1934). Rhamnus; Bacca Spinae Cervina;; Nerprun; Espino cerval.
Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Belg., Fr., Pol., and Span.
The fresh ripe fruit of buckthorn, Rhamnus cathartica (Rhamnacea;). An active cathartic which is prone to cause severe griping; it is usually administered as a syrup. Its chief use is in veterinary practice.

Syrupus Rhamni (B.P.C. 1934). Syrup of Buckthorn. 
Evaporate 50 ml. of expressed juice of buckthorn to 30 ml. and set aside for 12 hours; dissolve in it sucrose 65 g. with the aid of heat, then strain and cool; add strong tincture of ginger 0.52 ml. and pimento oil 0.01 ml. mixed with alcohol (90%) 3.12 ml., and adjust to 100 g. with water. 
Dose: 2 to 4 ml. (30 to 60 minims).
Belg. P. has expressed juice 40 g. and sugar 60 g.

Frangula (B.P.C. 1949). Frang.; Alder Buckthorn Bark; Frangula Bark; Bourdaine; Faulbaumrinde.
Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Belg., Chil., Cz., Dan., Egyp., Fr., Ger., Hung., Jug., Nor., Pol., Span., Swed., and Swiss.
The dried bark of Rhamnus frangula (Frangula alnus) (Rhamnaceae), collected at least one year before use. Store in a cool dry place.
Uses. A mild purgative with properties similar to those of cascara sagrada. It is usually employed as a liquid extract 1:1
Dose: 2 to 5 ml.; a dry extract is also used.

Colocynth (B.P.C.) Colocynthis; Colocynth Pulp; Bitter Apple; Coloquinte; Koloquinthen.
Dose: 120 to 300 mg. (2 to 5 grains).
Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Dan., Egyp., Fr., Ger., Hung., Ind., Nor., Swed., and Swiss. Also in U.S.N.F.
The dried pulp of the fruit of Citrullus colocynthis (Cucurbitaceae). Toxic Effects. Severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhoea with bloodstained watery stools, delirium and prostration. A dose of from 4 to 6 g. may be fatal. The powdered drug causes severe pain if it comes into contact with the nasal mucous membrane.

Antidotes. The stomach should be emptied by emetics or by lavage with dilute tannic acid solution, and the patient kept warm. Tincture of Opium should be given by mouth or rectum, or morphine injected subcutaneously, followed by stimulants such as Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia, and demulcent drinks. Maintain hydration by giving fluids orally or by intravenous infusion.

Uses. Colocynth has a drastic purgative action and hence is seldom used alone but is usually combined with hyoscyamus to counteract the griping. The purgative principles are partly absorbed and then excreted in the urine. Colocynth should not be given to nursing mothers as it is excreted in the milk. 

Colocynth Extract (U.S.N.F.). Bitter Apple Extract.
A dry alcoholic extract, 1 g. representing 4 g. of Colocynth. 
Usual dose: 30 mg. (1/2 grain).

Compound Colocynth Extract (U.S.N.F.). 
Colocynth extract 16, ipomoea resin 14, aloes 65, and cardamom seed 5. 
Usual dose: 250 mg. (4 grains).

Compound Extract of Colocynth (B.P.C.). Ext. Colocynth. Co. 
A dry extract prepared by extracting colocynth 27 g. with alcohol (60%) 700 ml., evaporating to dryness, powdering the residue, and adding aloes 56 g., ipomoea resin 18.5 g., curd soap 14 g., and cardamom seed 4.5 g. Protect from moisture in a cool place. 
Dose: 120 to 500 mg. (2 to 8 grains). 

Compound Pills of Colocynth (B.P.C.). Pil. Colocynth. Co.; Alexander's Liver Pills; Gregory's Pills; Pilulie Cochias. 
Each contains colocynth 2/3 gr., aloes 1 & l/3 gr., ipomoea resin l &1/3 gr., curd soap 1/3 gr., and clove oil 1/5 rn., massed with syrup of liquid glucose. 
Dose: 1 or 2 pills.

Hamilton's Pills. Compound extract of colocynth 2 parts and dry extract of hyoscyamus 1 part, made into 4 gr. pills.

Pil. Aperiens (N.F. 1939). Pil. Hydrarg. c. Colocynth. et Hyoscy. Each contains pill of colocynth and hyoscyamus (mass) 4 gr. and pill-mass of mercury 1 gr.

Pil. Colocynth. et Hydrarg. (B.P.C. 1949). Pills of Colocynth and Mercury; Abernethy's Pills
Each contains compound extract of colocynth 2 gr. and pill of mercury 3 gr. 
Dose: 1 or 2 pills.

Pills of Colocynth and Hyoscyamus (B.P.C.). Pil. Colocynth. et Hyoscy. (B.N.F.). Christison's Pills. 
Each contains colocynth � gr., aloes 1 gr., ipomoea resin � gr., curd soap � gr., clove oil 1/6 m., and dry extract of hyoscyamus � gr., massed with syrup of liquid glucose. 
Dose: 1 or 2 pills. Tablets

Compound Tablets of Colocynth and Jalap (B.P.C.). Tab. Colocynth. et Jalap. Co. (B.N.F.); Vegetable Laxative Tablets. 
Each contains compound extract of colocynth 1 gr., jalap resin � gr., podophyllum resin � gr., dry extract of hyoscyamus � gr., and peppermint oil 1/10 m. They may be coated with sugar or other suitable material. 
Dose: 1 to 3 tablets.


Tablax (Burroughs Wellcome). 
Laxative vegetable tablets each containing Compound Colocynth Extract, B.P. 1914, 1 gr., jalap extract � gr., podophyllum resin � gr., Green Hyoscyamus Extract, B.P. 1898, � gr., and menthol 1/20 gr. 
Dose: 1 to 3 tablets.

Croton Oil (B.P.C. 1949). Ol. Croton.; Oleum Tiglii. 'Croton, oil of.
Dose: 0.03 to 0.06 ml. ( � to 1 minim).
Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Belg., Chil., Fr., Ger., Pol., Span., and Swiss.
An oil expressed from the seeds of Croton tiglium (Euphorbiaceae). It is an amber-yellow, orange, or brown, viscous liquid with a nauseous odour and a taste which is at first mild but afterwards sharp and acrid. Wt per ml. about 0.95 g.

Insoluble in water; soluble 1 in less than 1 of dehydrated alcohol forming a clear solution but the addition of more alcohol causes separation into two layers; freely soluble in carbon disulphide, chloroform, ether, light petroleum, and fixed and volatile oils. Exposure to air and light causes darkening and increases the viscosity of the oil and its solubility in alcohol. Protect from air and light in small well-filled containers.

Toxic Effects and Antidotes. As for Colocynth.

Contra-indications It should never be given to children, pregnant women, or feeble subjects, and is contra-indicated in the presence of haemorrhoids and inflammatory conditions of the stomach and intestines.
Uses. Croton oil is so violent a purgative that it is now rarely employed; it has been used in very severe constipation. If used it should be administered with sugar or mixed with butter. Externally, it is a powerful counter-irritant and vesicant.


Part 1.   Part 2   Part 4.   Part 5.