All parts of the plant contain unusual alkaloids, known as 'pelletierines', which paralyse tapeworms so that they are easily expelled from the body by using a laxative. The plant is also rich in tannin, which makes it an effective astringent. It is used externally in the treatment of vaginal discharges, mouth sores and throat infections. The whole plant, but in particular the bark, is antibacterial, antiviral and astringent. This remedy should be used with caution, overdoses can be toxic. The flowers are used in the treatment of dysentery, stomach ache and cough. It is also cardiac and stomachic. The dried rind of the fruit is used in the treatment of amoebic dysentery, diarrhoea etc. It is a specific remedy for tapeworm infestation. The stem bark is emmenagogue. Both the stem and the root barks are used to expel tapeworms. Use this with caution, the root bark can cause serious poisoning.The bark is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. The dried pericarp is decocted with other herbs and used in the treatment of colic, dysentery, leucorrhoea etc.