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from a dim. of Latin coccus "grain, berry."
Cocculus indicus. Indian Cockle. Levant nut. Kockelskörner
tincture of the ripe dried fruits
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Dicotyledonae; Polycarpicae (Magnoliidae); Ranunculales; Menispermaceae - Moonseed Family
Mentioned in Homoeopathic literature by Hahnemann in 1805 Freg. d.v. Med. Pos. Allen's Encyclop. Mat. Med. Vol. III, 338.
Description of the substance
A poisonous climbing plant with ash-coloured corky bark, leaves stalked, heart-shaped, smooth, underside pale with tufts of hair at the junctions of the nerves and at the base of the leaves, the flowers are pendulous panicles, male and female blooms on different plants; fruit round and kidney shaped, outer coat thin, dry, browny, black and wrinkled, inside a hard white shell divided into two containing a whitish seed, crescent shaped and very oily.
Menispermaceae are dioccious: male and female flowers are borne on separate plants. The unisexual flowers are very small, and often greenish-white. The fruit is drupaceous, usually curved, often to horseshoe-shape. Nearly all members contain alkaloids.
Anamirta cocculus, a strong climber with an ash-coloured corky bark, is native to India, Sri Lanka, and the coast of Malabar. The huge, heart-shaped, leathery leaves have long stalks and are strongly ribbed on the under-surface. Cavities in the plant are inhabited by mites (acarodomatia). The small yellow flowers are aggregated in pendulous panicles. The fruit is a reddish brown berry, somewhat larger than a large pea and with the structure of a drupe. The plant derives its name from the diminutive of
Gr. kokkus, a berry. The berry is the officinal part. It resembles the berry of the bay-tree, from which it can be distinguished by the fact that the seed of Anamirta never wholly fills the cavity of its shell. The outer coat of the berry is thin and becomes dry, black and wrinkled. The thin, bivalved white shell within contains a whitish crescent shaped, very oily seed. The seed gradually atrophies, so that in old samples it is not uncommon to find the shell almost empty. Tile seed contains a powerful convulsant poison, picrotoxin. The nomenclature is somewhat confusing. The species used in homoeopathy is Anamirta cocculus or Anamirta paniculata. The name Cocculus indicus is not a botanical name, but refers to its commercial product, the berries.