Punica granatum
The Floral Emblem of Spain.
Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes.

1. Martindale�s 24th Br.
Pomegranate Bark. Pomegranate Root Bark (B.P.C. 1934);
Granati Cortex; Granatum; Pomegranate; Grenadier; Granatrinde; Granado; Melograno,
Dose: 1 to 2 g. (15 to 30 grains).

The dried bark of the stem and root of Punica granatum (Punicacea;) containing about 0.4 to 0.9% of alkaloids.

Foreign Pharmacopoeias: In Egyp., Fr, Ger., Jap., Jug., Span., and Swiss. Also in Ind. P.O.

Uses. It has been used for the expulsion of tapeworms as a 1 in 5 decoction in doses of 2 n. oz. every 2 hours for 4 doses, the treatment being preceded and followed by the administration of a purgative. 

Note. The B.P.C. 1934 and Ind. P.O. include also Pomegranate Rind (Granati Fructus Cortex), the dried pericarp separated from the fruit of the pomegranate. Pomegranate rind contains about 28% of Gallotannic acid and has been used in the form of a decoction (1 in 20; dose: 15 to 30 ml.) as an astringent in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. The alkaloids present in the bark have not been detected in the rind.


2. U.S.D. 21st 1926.
GRANATUM. U. S. POMEGRANATE Granat. (Pomegranate Bark)
Pomegranate is the dried bark of the stem or root of Punica Granatum Linne (Fam. Granataceae). Pomegranate contains not more than 2 per cent of wood or other foreign organic matter. U. S.

Granati Cortei, Br., 1898; Pomegranate Bark; Cortex Mali Punici, Ecorce de Grenadier Fr. Cod.; Ecorce de Balaustier, Ecorce de Granade, Fr.; Cortex Granati, P. G.; Granatrinde, Granatwurzelrinde, G.; Melogranato, Malicorio, Scorza del Melogranati, It.; Granado (Corteza de), Sp.

The pomegranate is a small tree, attaining in favorable situations the height of twenty feet, with a very unequal trunk, and numerous branches which sometimes bear thorns. The leaves are opposite, petiolate, entire, oblong or lance-shaped, pointed at each end, smooth, shining, and of a bright-green color. The flowers are large, of a rich scarlet color, and stand at the end of the young branches. The petals are wrinkled and inserted into the upper part of the tube of the calyx, which is red, thick, and fleshy. The fruit is a globular pome-like berry, about the size of an orange, crowned with the persistent calyx, covered with a reddish-yellow, thick, coriaceous rind, and divided internally into many loculi, which contain an acidulous pulp, and numerous oblong, angular seeds.

This tree grows wild upon both shores of the Mediterranean, in Arabia, Persia, Bengal, China, and Japan, has been introduced into the East and "West Indies, and is cultivated in all civilized countries where the climate is sufficiently warm to allow the fruit to ripen. In higher latitudes, where it does not bear fruit, it is raised in gardens and hot-houses for the beauty of its flowers, which become double and acquire increased splendor of coloring by cultivation. Doubts have been entertained as to its original country. The name of Punicum Malum, applied by the ancients to its fruit, implies that it was abundant at an early age in the vicinity of Carthage. The fruit, for which the plant is cultivated, varies much in size and flavor. It is said to attain greater perfection in the West Indies than in its native country. The edible pulp is red, succulent, pleasantly acid, and sweetish. See a paper by J. U. Lloyd in West. Drug., 1897, 202.

The pomegranate may be grown in the United States as far north as Maryland. It is cultivated to some extent in California, and the Gulf States as a garden and hedge plant. The seeds are utilized in the south in making cooling drinks. There are several varieties of the pomegranate, the typical having an acid pulp, and others having a sweet and sub-acid character. There is an East Indian variety which is seedless and is highly prized in India. There are several double-flowered varieties which do not bear fruit and are largely cultivated in the south and in green-houses for ornamental purposes.

The rind of the fruit is seen in commerce in the form of irregular fragments, hard, dry, brittle, of a yellowish or reddish-brown color externally, paler within, without odor, and of an astringent, slightly bitter taste. It contains a large proportion of tannin, and in countries where the tree abounds, has been employed for tanning leather. The flowers, sometimes called balaustines, are inodorous, have a bitterish, astringent taste, and impart a violet-red color to the saliva. They contain tannic and gallic acids, and were used by the ancients in dyeing.

Description and Physical Properties.
Unground Pomegranate.
Stem bark in pieces from 2 to 8 cm. in length; bark from 0.5 to 3.5 mm. in thickness; outer surface yellowish to grayish-brown, with patches of grayish lichens, broadly elliptical lenticels and yellow-brown furrows or abraded patches of cork; longitudinally wrinkled; inner surface light yellow or yellowish-brown, finely striate; fracture short; phelloderm dark green; inner bark yellowish-green.

Root bark in transversely curved pieces; externally brownish-yellow with conchoidal depressions and dark brown irregular patches in the cork; internally dark yellow, the medullary rays extending nearly to the outer surface. In either root or stem bark, odor slight, taste astringent, somewhat bitter and nauseous.

Structure. Cork thin, of alternating rows of thin-walled suberized cells and lignified cells with greatly thickened inner walls; cortex of parenchyma with a few large stone cells isolated or in small groups; medullary rays mostly 1-cell wide; rosette aggregates of calcium oxalate very numerous in the parenchyma.

Powdered Pomegranate. Yellowish-brown to dark brown; calcium oxalate crystals in rosette aggregates or monoclinic prisms from 0.006 to 0.018 mm. in diameter; starch grains numerous, spherical, ellipsoidal, biconvex or irregular and single or compound, from 0.002 to 0.010 mm. in diameter; fragments of whitish cork with prominent, thickened, lignified walls; stone cells from 0.050 to 0.300 mm. in length, the walls being very thick and strongly lamellated; occasional long wood fibers from 0.015 to 0.020 mm. in thickness and associated with trache possessing simple and bordered pores.

Mix 1 Gm. of powdered Pomegranate with 100 cc. of distilled water, macerate it with occasional agitation for about an hour, and filter; a light yellow filtrate is obtained. Upon the addition of a drop of ferric chloride T.S. to 10 cc. of this filtrate, a bluish-black precipitate is produced. Upon the addition of from 40 to 50 cc. of calcium hydroxide T.S., to another 10 cc. portion of the filtrate, an orange-brown, flocculent precipitate is produced. Preserve in tightly closed containers." U. S.

The bark of the stem of the pomegranate differs from the root bark by the presence of a broader cortex whose outer cells contain chloro-plastids and by possessing shorter medullary rays. The commercial supply of pomegranate bark is obtained chiefly through Marseilles, France. The inner surface of the bark, steeped in water and then rubbed on paper, produces a yellow stain, which by the contact of ferrous sulphate is rendered blue, and by that of nitric acid acquires a slight rose tint, which soon vanishes. These properties serve to distinguish this bark from those of the box root and barberry. When used, it should be separated from the ligneous portion of the root, as the latter is inert.

Granatum is sometimes substituted by the barks of other plants. Among these are Berberis vulgaris, which is bitter and not astringent; Buxus sempervirens, which is also bitter and free from tannin; and Strychnos Nux Vomica or false Angostura bark which has a dark inner surface and a very bitter taste. None of these barks have the characteristic checkered appearance of the transverse surface of genuine Granatum.

Rembold (Ann. Ch. Phys., cxliii, p. 285) found in the bark about 22 per cent, of a tannin which he thought was peculiar and called punico-tannic acid but which Trimble (A. J. P., 1897, p. 636) has shown to be Gallotannic acid. Pomegranate bark also yields a considerable quantity of mannite, which was formerly described under the names of punicin or granatin. The medicinal value of the root, however, is due to the alkaloids discovered by Tanret in 1878 to 1880 (C. E. A. S., Ixxxvi, p. 1270 and Ixxxviii, p. 716); the first of these he named pelletierine, C8H15ON. It is a dextrogyrate liquid boiling at 195� C., easily soluble in water, alcohol, and ether, and especially so in chloroform. It has strong basic properties and precipitates many metallic salts: 1000 parts of dry bark yielded 4 parts of it. In addition he has found three volatile bases in the bark, a liquid left-rotating one, a liquid optically inactive one, and a crystallizable inactive one, to which the names of methylpelletierine, C9H17ON, and pseudopelletierine (granatonine), C9H15ON, and isopelletierine, have been given. Carl J. Bender (Ph. Centralh., 1885, p. 6) objects to the name pelletierine, and substitutes punicine.

Hess and Eichel (B. Chem. G., 1917, 1; 1919, lii, 1005) state that the alkaloid reported by Picinni as methyl-iso pelletierine is identical with Tanret's methyl-pelletierine. They have also added two more to this list: iso-pelletierine, C8H15ON and alpha-N-methylpiperidyl-2-propanone, C9H17ON. Fluckiger stated that methylpelletierine predominates in the bark of the root and pelletierine in the bark of the overground portions of the plant.

The alkaloids are prepared by extracting a finely ground mixture of pomegranate and slacked lime with water and shaking out from this with chloroform; the alkaloids are then extracted from the chloroform by means of a weak aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid. The separation of the mixed chlorides is accomplished by fractional distillation.

The bark of the stem usually contains slightly less alkaloid than the bark of the root. The amount in the stem bark has been determined by various investigators to range from 0.35 to 0.6 per cent, and in the root, from 0.6 to 1.0 per cent. Stoeder (Nederl. Tijd. Pharm., 1890) found that of the root bark of three varieties of the wild pomegranate recognized and used by the natives of Java, the red-flowered 'merah,' yielded 2.43 per cent.; the white-flowered, 'poetih,' yielded 3.75 per cent.; the black-flowered, 'hitam,' yielded 1.71 per cent. Wm. F. Junkunz believes that the alkaloid exists in the bark as a tannate. (A. J. P., 1884.) The old idea that the bark loses activity when kept seems to be negatived by the analysis of De Vrij. (P. J., xxi.) For Leger's method of determining total alkaloids, see P. J., 1904, 581. Assay processes for granatum are given in most of the foreign pharmacopoeias and these were critically reviewed by Dichgans (Ph. Ztg., 1914, 852), who finds the one in the Swiss Pharmacopoeia to be the best.

Uses. The bark of the root was used by the ancients as a vermifuge, and is recommended in the writings of Avicenna, but was unknown in modern practice until brought into notice by F. Buchanan, who learned its powers in India. The Mahometan physicians of Hindostan consider it a specific against Tania. One of these practitioners, having relieved an English gentleman in 1804, was induced to disclose his secret, which was then made public. The French writers prefer the product of the wild pomegranate, growing on the borders of the Mediterranean, to that of the plant cultivated in gardens for ornamental purposes. The bark may be administered in powder or decoction, but the latter form is usually preferred. The decoction is prepared by macerating two ounces of the bruised bark in two pints of water for twenty-four hours, and then boiling to a pint. Of this a wineglassful may be given every half hour, hour, or two hours, until the whole is taken. It often nauseates and vomits, and usually purges. Portions of the worm often come away soon after the last dose. It is recommended to give a dose of castor oil and to diet the patient strictly on the day preceding the administration of the remedy, and, if it should not operate on the bowels, to follow it by castor oil, or an enema. If not successful on the first trial, it should be repeated daily for three or four days, until the worm is discharged.

Although the value of pomegranate in the treatment of tape-worm was known to the ancients and commented on by Dioscorides, the drug fell into disuse in Europe for several centuries until revived by Buchanan in 1805. The efficacy of its alkaloids as taenicides has been abundantly confirmed, and it appears to be established that the tannate of the alkaloids is the most effective and the least dangerous form of the remedy, probably because its insolubility prevents its rapid absorption and enables it to come in prolonged contact with the worm. (See Pelletierine Tannas). The rind of the pomegranate fruit (Granati Fructi Cortex) was formerly recognized by the U. S. Pharmacopoeia (1870). It is astringent, and in the form of decoction is sometimes employed in diarrhea, and colliquative sweats, and, more frequently, as an injection in leucorrhoea, and as a gargle in sore throat in the earlier stages, or after the inflammatory action has in some measure subsided. The powdered rind has also been recommended in intermittent fever. The flowers have the same medicinal properties and are used for the same purposes.

The dose of pomegranate rind and flowers in powder is from twenty to thirty grains (1.3 to 2.0 Gm.). Decoctum Granati Corticis was formerly official in the British Pharm. (1898). The decoction may be prepared in the proportion of four ounces of the bark to twenty fluidounces of water, and given in the dose of half a fluidounce (15 cc.). The remedy should always be given after a twelve hours' fast, and be followed in two hours by a brisk cathartic. The seeds are demulcent.
Dose, of granatum, twenty to thirty grains (1.3-2.0 Gm.).
Off. Prep. Fluidextractum Granati, U. S.

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