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Croton Eleuteria. Cascarilla, Sweet Wood.

Botanical name:

Description: Natural Order, Euphorbiaceae. "A small, compact shrub, three to five feet in height, occasionally a small tree. Stem erect, Unbranched below; bark marked irregularly with grayish stains, and various (mostly crustaceous) lichens. Leaves scanty, alternate, two or three inches in length, petiolate, slightly cordate, pale or grayish-green, with a few peltate scales above, and a dense clothing of shining silvery scales beneath. Flowers monoecious, white, numerous, small, closely set, in terminal or axillary spikes, very fragrant. Fruit a small capsule, about the size of a pea; three-celled, each cell one-seeded."(Pereira.)

This pretty tree abounds in the Bahama islands. The bark is used in medicine; and comes to market in quills half all inch broad, one to four inches long, thin, of a dull-brown color, and often with some of the gray lichens attached. It is compact, brittle, of an agreeable and peculiar odor, and a warming, spicy taste. It contains a small quantity of volatile oil; an extractive matter; and a somewhat bitter resin, which may be extracted by alcohol in the usual manner. It yields its properties best to diluted alcohol.

Properties and Uses: This is a mild tonic, with pleasant aromatic properties, usually very grateful to the stomach, diminishing excessive mucous secretions, yet not acting as an astringent. Its chief influence is expended upon the stomach; but it at the same time gently sustains the nervous structures, and influences the respiratory organs. It is mostly used in convalescence from acute maladies, in dyspepsia accompanied with flatulence, and in chronic diarrhea attended with indigestion and a cold surface. It is often added to cinchona, when the latter article is not well received by the stomach; and is a suitable adjuvant to tonic preparations used in the treatment of leucorrhea and prolapsus, and will sometimes allay sympathetic vomiting. I have used it in connection with uva ursi in the treatment of gleets; and it is a good addendum to such articles as eupatorium, liriodendron, and lycopus, in the treatment of old coughs, too much bronchial secretion, and bleeding from the lungs. Its own action is always mild, but its impressions are grateful and rather diffusive, though very large quantities are said to be quite disagreeable to the stomach. Dose of the powder, ten to twenty grains three or four times a day. When used alone, it is generally employed as an infusion. It is sometimes added to other ingredients and burned in a room, to fumigate it, and for phthisical patients.

Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Infusion. Cascarilla, in coarse powder, one ounce; boiling water, ten fluid ounces. Infuse in a covered vessel for an hour. It speedily ferments; and may be strained, and preserved by the addition of two ounces of the tincture. Dose, a fluid ounce or more.

II. Tincture. Cascarilla, two and a half ounces; diluted alcohol, one pint. Macerate for forty-eight hours, and transfer to a percolator; when percolation has ceased, express strongly, and add enough proof spirit to make a pint. Usually exhibited as an adjunct to the bitter tonics. Dose, one to two fluid drachms.


The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com



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