The characteristic small seed of the colocynth have been found in several early archeological sites in northern Africa and the Near East, specifically at Neolithic Armant, Nagada in Egypt at sites dating from 3800BC.
That's all very well, but what does this flaming colocynth look like?
Lozenges, made of colocynth were called "troches of alhandal".
Interpretation can only be managed by the cognoscenti in the audience who know that colocynth
and aloe are botanical purgatives, while calomel is a chloride of mercury, all the "uncompounded" ingredients of emetic and laxative pills.
of cases treated Calomel / Hydrargyrium submurias PM 137 Calomel - colocynth
compound PM 79 Cathartic dose (unspecified) P 73 Magnesium sulphate P 73 Ipecac E 65 Antimony potassium tartrate E 62 Opium A 59 Jalap P 54 Antimonials (powders/pills) E 48 Vesicatoires / blisters S 38 Rhei / rhubarb P 35 Colocynth
/ bitter cucumber P 33 Cataplasm / poultice S 33 Purgatives (unspecified) P 31 Emplastrum cantharidis S 31 Dover's powders (Ipecac and Opium) EA 25 Ricinus / castor oil P 23 Camphor S 22 Hydrargyrium (unspecified mercurial) M 21 Fomentations / baths S 20 Key to Drug Type A = analgesic or pain-killer; E = emetic; P = purgative or laxative; M = mercury; S = skin or topical
Bitter apple plants Citrullus colocynthis, also known as bitter cucumber and colocynth or desert gourd, belong to the family of Cucurbitaceae and have a wide distribution, being commonly found in the sandy lands of India, Arabia, West Asia, and Tropical Africa and in the Mediterranean region (Pravin et al.
Phytochemical analysis of some chemical metabolites of Colocynth plant (Citrullus colocynths L.
ciliaris); the colocynth
(Citrullus colocynthis); and the devil's thorn (Tribulus terrestris, Zygophyllaceae).
There are, however, no fruits comparable to the watermelons of the Kalahari or the colocynths
(bitter cucumbers) of the Sahara, which are both nutritious and full of water.
Thereupon two men from Yemen approached and suggested that the juice of colocynths
, rubbed into the man's foot-soles, might not make the affliction go away but it might in any case halt the aggravation of the disease.