Quince seeds are the product of Pyrus Cydonia, Linn. (N.O. Rosaceae), a small tree cultivated in temperate Europe, South Africa, and elsewhere. The fruit resembles a pear, and contains five carpellary cavities in which a number of seeds are closely packed in two vertical rows. The seeds somewhat resemble apple-pips in size and appearance. They are about 6 millimetres long, and of a dark brown colour. They are flattened on two sides owing to mutual pressure, and frequently adhere to one another by a white mucilage, which is derived from epidermal cells of the seed-coats. The seeds are pointed at one end where the hilum is situated, but are broader at the chalazal end. Transverse sections of the seed exhibit two firm, yellowish-white cotyledons, with a narrow endosperm. These have a faintly bitter taste resembling that of bitter almonds.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of quince seeds is about 20 per cent. of mucilage, which is contained in the epidermis of the seed coat. The cotyledons contain fixed oil (about 15 per cent.) and proteins, together with small proportions of amygdalin and emulsin, or some allied ferment.
Action and Uses.—Quince seeds have soothing and demulcent properties and are used internally in the form of Decoctum Cydoniae. Large quantities of the decoction may be drunk in dysentery, diarrhoea, and gonorrhoea; the decoction also forms a useful adjunct to boric acid eye lotions. Mucilago Cydoniae is stronger than the decoction, and has similar properties.
- Decoctum Cydoniae, B.P.C.—DECOCTION OF QUINCE SEEDS. 1 in 80.
- Useful vehicle for eye lotions. On account of its mucilaginous character it is not so readily washed away by the tears. It is also used as an adjunct to skin lotions and creams.
- Mucilago Cydoniae, B.P.C.—MUCILAGE OF QUINCE SEEDS. 1 in 25.
- Forms a useful suspending agent for such liquids as tincture of benzoin when added to toilet preparations. When used for this purpose, it is sometimes prepared with rose water.
The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.