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syn: Aniba coto, Colladonia, Novatilia, Oribasia, Rhodostoma, Stephanium
Common Name :Coto (in Brazil sometimes it is called Coto-cota)
A bark bearing this name came into the London drug market about 1893. The bark of a rubiaceous plant (Palicourea densiflors), known as Coto, is employed in Brazil for rheumatism, but it is not known if this is the true Bolivian plant; the outer surface is irregular, of a cinnamon brown colour. It is sold in pieces of 4 to 6 inches long, 3 inches wide and about 1 inch thick, and is sometimes covered with an adherent corry surface, free from lichens. The inner cross-sections of the bark are covered with yellowish spots, the odour is aromatic and much stronger if bruised, taste hot and biting; in powdered form the smell is very pungent. This description conforms with the barks sold in the American markets, but other barks are used under the same name, the chief being Paracote bark; this has an agreeable spicy taste, but is not so strong-smelling or tasting, and has deep white furrows on the surface.
Habitat :Palicourea densiflora is native to Bolivia.(The bark known as Coto bark is exported from the interior of Bolivia, but the tree from which it is derived is unknown.)
Coto bark reaches us in pieces of from 4 to 12 inches in length, 2 to 4 inches in width, and from 1/2 to 3/4 inch in thickness; the outer or corky portion is about 1/16 of an inch in thickness, dark-brown internally, rusty upon the inner surface, and externally grayish-brown or blotched with spots of white. The surface is somewhat rough. Beneath the thin cork it is of a dark-cinnamon color; fibrous upon its inner surface and intermixed with some granular matter; but, toward the outer part the granular matter increases in proportion until the reverse is true. Its fracture presents very numerous points of a golden yellow. The odor of the bark is aromatic, especially when freshly broken, reminding one of mace or of a mixture of mace and cinnamon. The taste is intermediate between that of mace and allspice, finally becoming acrid and biting. The dust is irritating when inhaled.
Part Used: The bark.
Chemical Constituents: Coto bark contains a volatile alkaloid, a pungent aromatic volatile oil, a light brown soft resin, and a hard brown resin, starch, gum, sugar, tannin, Cal. Oxalate and three acids, acetic, butyric and formic.
Coto bark is antiseptic and astringent. It is irritating to the skin applied externally. If taken internally it gives constant violent pain and vomiting. Its chief use is in diarrhoea, but it has a tendency to produce inflammation, so must be used with great caution, it is said to lessen peristaltic action. Paracota bark resembles it in action, but is much less powerful. In Japan, paracota bark has been successfully employed for cholera by hypodermic injection of 3 grains of paracotoin. The value of cotoin in diarrhcea is established, and it is also used for catarrhal diarrhoea and for diarrhcea in tubercular ulceration of typhoid fever. Has also a specific action on the alimentary canal, dilating the abdominal vessels and hastening absorption.
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