Cassia pulp is obtained from the fruit of Cassia Fistula, Linn. (N.O. Leguminosae), a tree indigenous to India. The fruit is official in the U.S.P. The ovary, originally one-celled, develops into a many-celled, indehiscent pod, which, when ripe, is from 35 to 50 centimetres long, and from 18 to 25 millimetres in diameter, nearly straight and cylindrical in shape and dark chocolate-brown in colour. The surface of cassia pods is smooth to the naked eye, and both dorsal and ventral sutures are evident, but not prominent. The transverse spurious dissepiments, developed during the ripening of the fruit, divide the pod into as many compartments, each of which contains a single seed attached to the ventral suture by a long dark thread-like funiculus. Adhering to each dissepiment is a thin layer of nearly black viscid pulp, which has a faint sickly odour and sweetish taste. The pulp is obtained from the fruits by crushing them, digesting with hot water, straining and evaporating to a soft extract. About 30 per cent. of pulp may thus be obtained. The pods of C. grandis, Linn., and of C. moschata, H. B. and K., are official in the French Pharmacopoeia. The former are longer, thicker, and heavier than the fruits of C. Fistula, and have a rough surface. They are laterally compressed, and have one prominent ridge on the dorsal and two on the ventral suture. C. moschata bears smaller and narrower pods, and the pulp, which is paler in colour, exhales a musky odour when warmed.
Constituents.—The pulp contains more than half its weight of sugar, but it is not known to what constituent its laxative action is due.
Actions and Uses.—Cassia pulp is a simple laxative and is an ingredient in confection of senna; it is rarely used alone.
Dose.—4 to 8 grammes (60 to 120 grains) as a laxative; 28 to 56 grammes (1 to 2 ounces) as a purgative.
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.