Jump to Navigation

We've moved! The new address is http://www.henriettes-herb.com - update your links and bookmarks!

Andira.—Cabbage Tree Bark.

Related entry: Araroba.—Goa Powder

The bark of the Andira inermis, Kunth (Geoffroya inermis, Swartz; Geoffroya jamaicensis, Wright).
Nat. Ord.—Leguminosae.
COMMON NAME: Jamaica cabbage tree, Cabbage tree.

Botanical Source.—The Andira inermis is a tree of moderate height, with terete, glabrous, ash-colored branches, suberect at their extremities. The leaves are alternate, about 1 foot in length, unequally pinnate; with from five to eight paired leaflets on short, roundish, ferruginous, downy stalks, oblong-lanceolate, rarely ovate-lanceolate, acuminate, for the most part rounded at the base; they are entire, glabrous, thin, with the nerves, scarcely prominent, about 4 1/2 inches long and 1 inch broad. The petioles are minutely downy, and the stipules lanceolate, and persistent. The panicles are terminal, axillary, and erect; the branches subdivided, spreading, angular, brownish purple, and covered with ferruginous down. The pedicels are very short, one-flowered, numerous, and crowded. The flowers are reddish-lilac. The fruit is a hard, one-seeded legume about the size of a large plum.

History, Description, and Chemical Composition.—This tree inhabits the West Indies, especially Jamaica. The bark, as met with in commerce, is in pieces of various sizes, which are thick, whitish, or grayish-brown externally, covered with scales and eroded by lichens; yellow-brown interiorly; furrowed: of a resinous fracture, nauseous odor, mucilaginous and sweetish taste, and pulverulent, the powder resembling that of jalap. This tree was at one time erroneously supposed to be the plant from which Hüttenschmid, in 1824, obtained his jamaicine, that was subsequently (1865) identified as berberin by Gastell. However, Hüttenschmid, in 1824, isolated from the genuine Andira bark a supposed alkaloid, which he called surinamine. This was reobtained by O. Hiller-Bombien, in 1892, from an authentic specimen of Andira inermis, Kunth, and ascertained to be methyl-tyrosin, an amido acid of the formula C10H13NO3, which he found identical with the ratanhin of Ruge and the angelin of Gintl (1869). He finally named it andirin. It occurs in white needles, is tasteless and neutral to litmus, easily soluble in hot water, but sparingly so in cold water, ether, or alcohol. The name andirin had been applied before to other, probably more active, constituents of the plant—e. g., by Midy to a glucoside—and Peckolt, in 1859, applied the same name to a brown-yellow coloring matter from Andira anthelmintica, Bentham (see below) (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1889).

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Cabbage tree bark is emetic, purgative, and anthelmintic. It is thought by some to be a dangerous acro-narcotic in large doses, causing troublesome sickness, fever, and delirium, on which account it is not much used in practice, although it has proved effectual in removing the lumbricoid worms. The bark in powder may be given in doses of from 10 to 30 grains; of the decoction, 1 tablespoonful 2, 3, or 4 times a day. Any unpleasant symptoms resulting from its administration may be obviated by a dose of castor oil, and a free use of lemon juice or lime juice.

Related Species.Andira retusa, Kunth.Geoffroya retusa, Lamarck). Habitat, Surinam. Source of Surinam bark. "The Surinam bark has a grayish epidermis, covered with lichens; dark brown, lamellated, very tough, compact; when cut across, brilliant and variegated brown; when recent, nauseous; no smell when dried; taste a little acrid and bitter; powder pale cinnamon." The bark abounds in tannin. It is frequently asserted that Hüttenschmid found his surinamine (see Andira inermis) in this bark, but modern researches do not favor this view (E. Schär, 1893, and O. Hiller, 1892).

Andira anthelmintica, Bentham.Geoffroya vermifuga, St. Hilaire). Brazil. This tree contains, according to Peckolt, a yellow-brown coloring body, called andirin. The seeds of this forest tree are yellow and about the size of nutmegs, and are reputed to possess anthelmintic properties. They are known as angelim amargosa. The purgative and vermifuge properties are due to an acrid resinous body, soluble in both alcohol and ether. The sawdust, when inhaled by those who cut the trees down, produces conjunctivitis, great thirst, with faucial constriction, and has a burning, bitter taste. Itching of the integument and occasionally skin eruptions result from it (Peckolt)

Andira Araroba, Aguiar (see Araroba).


King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.



Main menu 2