Kousso consists of the dried panicles of pistillate flowers of Brayera anthelmintica, Kunth. (N.O. Rosaceae), a tree indigenous to North Eastern Africa, and cultivated in Abyssinia. It is also official in the U. S. P. The panicles are collected after fertilisation, and packed in cylindrical rolls or "hanks," 4 to 5 decimetres in length, bound round with a flexible stem. The panicles are of a characteristic dull reddish colour, and more or less covered with shaggy hairs and minute glands. They are much branched, the branches springing from the axils of large bracts. The numerous shortly stalked flowers bear a two-whorled calyx, the outer sepals being large and reddish veined, the inner inconspicuous, and bending over the young fruit. The stamens are abortive. The drug has no marked odour, but a bitter and acrid taste. Loose kousso—i.e., the flowers stripped from the panicles and dried—sometimes comes into the market; it frequently contains a considerable admixture of staminate flowers, which are much less active. These may be distinguished by their greenish colour, small hairy outer sepals, and fertile stamens. It yields on incineration about 5 per cent. of ash.
Constituents.—The principal constituent of kousso is a yellow, amorphous body, kosotoxin, which is an extremely active vermifuge, and is apparently closely allied to filicic acid and rottlerin (see Filix Mas and Kamala). Kousso also contains the inactive colourless, crystalline bodies protokosin and kosidin, as well as tannin and resin. Commercial kosin is a mixture of two inactive, yellowish, crystalline bodies, α-kosin and β-kosin, which are found in kousso, but are believed to be decomposition products.
Action and Uses.—Kousso is an anthelmintic used especially for tape worm. and administered as Infusum Cusso; it is less certain than oil of male fern. The dose should be preceded by a purge, and taken on an empty stomach. After some hours a further brisk purge may be administered, although the natural action of the drug on the bowels usually renders this unnecessary. Collapse has been known to follow the use of this drug, but it is extremely rare.
Dose.—7 to 14 grammes (1/4 to 1/2 ounce).
- Infusum Cusso, B.P.C.—INFUSION OF KOUSSO. 1 to 16.
- Dose.—120 to 240 mils (4 to 8 fluid ounces), unstrained.
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.