Cocculus palmatus

Botanical name: Jateorhiza palmata
Family: Menispermaceae
Genus: Cocculus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales
Synonym: Menispermum calumba of Roxbury; Jateorhiza calumba of Miers.

Common Name : Moonseed, Colombo

Habitat :Cocculus palmatus is native to warm temperate to tropical regions of North America, Asia and Africa. This plant inhabits the forests near the southeastern coast of Africa, in the neighborhood of Mozambique, where the natives call it Kalumb.

Description: This is a climbing annual plant. The stems are herbaceous and twining; root perennial, fasciculated, fleshy, one to three inches in diameter, brownish without, deep yellow within. The stems, of which one or two proceed from the same root, are twining, simple in the male plant, branched in the female, round, hairy, and about an inch or an inch and a half in circumference. The leaves stand on rounded glandular hairy footstalks, and are alternate, distant, cordate, and have three, seven, or nine lobes and nerves. The flowers are small and inconspicuous . Flowers on solitary axillary racemes; small, green, dioecious. Calyx six-sepaled; corolla six-petaled; stamens six; pistils three. Fruit about the size of a hazel-nut, densely covered with long spreading hairs, either drupaceous or a berry.

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The fusiform roots of this plant appear in market in thin slices transversely. “The slices are flat, circular or oval, mostly two inches in diameter and from two to four lines thick and branching. grayish-yellow, bitter.” (Pereira.) The root is often worm-eaten. Its powder has a greenish-yellow tint, a faint smell, and an aromatic bitter taste. The root is covered with a thin brown skin, marked with transverse warts.

Water, alcohol, diluted alcohol, and ether extract its virtues, which most abound in the cortical. It contains starch; a colorless neutral principle named calumbin; and an alkaloid berberia or berberin.

Medicinal Uses:
Columbo, so important in the present practice of medicine. The root is a bitter of the more relaxing order of tonics, stimulating only to a very moderate degree, and having a slightly demulcent character. It resembles the American article of a similar common name, (Frasera Carolinensis,) but is much pleasanter and not at all astringent. Its chief action is upon the stomach; and it is admirably suited to feeble conditions of this organ, with want of appetite, indigestion, flatulence, and vomiting. It never excites nausea, but on the contrary is an excellent agent to allay all forms of sympathetic vomiting, as in pregnancy; and few tonics are so well received by weak and irritable stomachs. During convalescence from fever, diarrhea, and dysentery, it is one of the most useful tonics; and it exerts a very mild influence on the hepatic apparatus, which well fits it for numerous cases of biliousness. It imparts a desirable tonic influence to the bowels. Some class it among the very powerful tonics, like gentian; but this is a mistake, for it is altogether a milder article, and suited for quite other conditions than those to which the gentian is applied. It is generally compounded with other tonics and with aromatics; and deserves more attention than it receives in America. Dose of the powder, ten to twenty grains three times a day.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Infusion. Calumba in coarse powder, six drachms; boiling water, one pint. Macerate for an hour. Dose, eight to twelve fluid drachms three times a day. By adding a few grains of dill seed or fennel, the flavor is much improved.

II. Tincture. This is prepared by macerating two and a half ounces of calumba in a sufficient quantity of proof spirit; transferring to a percolator, and adding proof spirit till one pint in all has been used; then pressing the drugs strongly, and adding enough spirit to the liquid to make the product one pint. Dose, half a fluid drachm to two fluid drachms. This is often added to other tonic preparations, or to such nervine aromatic infusions as may be in use for excessive vomiting. This agent is an ingredient in the compound wine of comfrey.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocculus
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_C.htm
http://www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/cook/COCCULUS_PALMATUS.htm
http://chestofbooks.com/health/herbs/O-Phelps-Brown/The-Complete-Herbalist/Columbo-Cocculus-Palmatus.html#.Vk_j_SpTffI

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