Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Elaterium, the dried precipitate from the juice of the pulp surrounding the seeds of the squirting cucumber (Ecballiuni elaterium). This plant is a native of Soeeth Europe, but is cultivated at Hitchin, Market Deeping, Mitcham, and elsewhere in England. It is a prostrate annual without tendrils, and produces a small elliptical gourd, which when ripe separates violently from its stalk, ejecting its brown seeds and the pulp surrounding them. To prepare the drug, the fruit is sliced and pressed, and the juice is filtered. It is made into light, thin, friable, greenish cakes, bitter in taste and tea-like in smell, and is imported from Malta in boxes containing from 50 to 120 ozs. This is often, however, adulterated with starch, that prepared in England being better. The officinal preparation of this drug is the compound elaterium powder, pulris elaterini compositus, dose J gr. to 5 grs. It acts as a powerful hydragogue purgative, and should only be administered under medical advice.