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Monesia.—Monesia-Bark.

Extract of the bark of Chrysophyllum Glyciphloeum, Casaretti (Chrysophyllum Buranhem, Riedel; Lucuma Glycyphloea, Martins et Eichler).
Nat. Ord.—Sapotaceae.
COMMON NAME: Monesia.

Botanical Source.—Chrysophyllum Glyciphloeum is a common Brazilian tree known locally as buranhem or guaranhem. It is often from 40 to 50 feet in height. The genus Chrysophyllum comprises several species, mostly South American trees, with milky juice. The leaves are alternate, entire, and furnished with a golden-yellow pubescence underneath, hence the name. The flowers are small, and in fascicled umbels in the axils of the leaves. The corolla is bell-shaped, and has 5 stamens. The ovary has 10 1-ovuled cells, and bears a peltate 10-lobed stigma.

History and Description.—The bark is in fragments, nearly smooth, and cinnamon-colored internally. The pieces are thin, about 1/4 or 1/2 inch in thickness; at first a sweetish taste is imparted, which subsequently becomes acrid and astringent. It has no odor. The fruit of the C. Cainito, and other species are called "star apples," and are eaten by the natives. Chrysophyllum Glyciphloeum is of interest from the fact that an extract from the bark is used in medicine, and known as Monesia.

MONESIA (Extractum Monesiae), the extract of the foregoing bark, was introduced to notice in 1839, in an article written by Dr. St. Ange, and published in the Paris Medical Gazette (Br. Pharm. Jour., Vols. III and IV). The extract appeared in the form of brown, brittle cakes of about 1 pound each, insoluble in ether, partly soluble in alcohol, but more so in water; forming with the latter menstruum, a frothy, soap-suds-like solution. Monesia extract, when prepared in the cold is of a dark-red color, and is considered in Brazil to be superior in quality. T. Peckolt reports (Pharm. Rundschau, 1888, p. 30) that the extract is not now exported to any considerable extent.

Chemical Composition.—Shortly after the introduction of monesia bark Derosne and Henry examined it, and found it to contain chlorophyll, wax, glycyrrhizin, iron-bluing tannin, and red coloring matter. The supposed active principle, which is acrid, they named monesin; although it is probable that the tannin and other substances are of therapeutic value.

Monesin is regarded as identical with saponin (C32H54O18). It forms transparent yellow scales, insoluble in ether, but soluble in water and alcohol, and produces in aqueous solution, upon shaking, an abundant froth. It is odorless, but has a bitter, acrid taste. Peckolt's analysis of the bark (loc. cit.) shows the presence of monesia-tannic acid, 6.2 per cent; red coloring matter, 2.2 per cent; starch, 1.97 per cent; monesin, 0.28 per cent; glycyrrhizin, 1.5 per cent; crystallizable hivurahein (lucumin), 0.009 per cent, etc. The latter substance is bitter, insoluble in cold water, soluble in ether and hot alcohol.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Monesia appears to possess slightly stimulating and astringent properties. In doses of from 2 to 10 grains, repeated 2 or 3 times a day, it acts as a gentle excitant of the stomach, improving the appetite and the digestive functions. In larger doses, it causes a burning sensation in the epigastric region, gastric uneasiness, and costiveness. It has been found advantageous in certain atonic forms of dyspepsia, as a stimulant and tonic; and as a tonic and astringent in diarrhoea and hemorrhages, as from the lungs, stomach, and kidneys, in hemorrhoids, and in profuse menstruation. In chronic bronchitis, attended with considerable expectoration, and in the catarrhal affections and winter cough of persons in advanced years, it has proved useful. As an alterative, it has been advised in scrofulous and scorbutic affections, though it is somewhat doubtful as to its good effect in these cases, although it is stated to have been effectual in the purpura of scurvy. It has been advised as a tonic in convalescence from malarial fevers and in incipient consumption. As a local application, in the form of powder sprinkled upon the parts, in aqueous solution, tincture, or ointment, it has proven valuable in obstinate indolent ulcers, in anal and buccal fissures, in scorbutic or other unhealthy condition of the gums, in vaginal leucorrhoea, and in nasal hemorrhage,—it may be applied on lint, as a wash, by injection, or by spray.

The dose of monesia is from 2 to 10 or 15 grains; of monesin, from 1/4 to 1/2 grain. These may be given in pill, or powder, and in some syrup or other convenient vehicle. The tincture may be made of any desirable strength, from 1 to 4 ounces of monesia extract to a pint of alcohol. The ointment may be made by triturating 1 drachm of the extract with 7 drachms of cerate, or purified lard.

Related Species.Lucuma salicifolia, Kunth. The Zapote amarillo or Z. borracho of the Mexicans. The fruit produces sleep and the seeds are employed by the natives in pleuritis. Several Brazilian species yield food or medicines.

Bassia longifolia, Linné; Elloopa-tree.—East India. A nutritious jelly is prepared from the fruit and flowers of this tree, which also furnishes valuable timber. The bark, leaves, and a fixed oil from the seeds have antirheumatic virtues and have been used in skin disorders. Elloopa oil is greenish and odorous.

Bassia butyracea, Roxburgh.—The seeds yield a butyraceous substance known as fulwa-butter. It is used like the oil of the preceding species. Bassia parkii yields Shea butter.

Mimusops Elengi, Linné.—India. The sweet fruit of this species is eaten, and the tree furnishes an excellent timber. A pleasant perfume is obtained from the flowers, and the seeds yield a drying fixed oil. Bark and root are reported astringent and tonic, and are employed as such in India. The juice of the unripe fruit and the bark are used to fix colors in silk dyeing (Dymock).

Mimusops hexandra, Roxburgh.—Fruit eaten. Uses same as for preceding.

Mimusops Schimperi and M. kummel yield a variety of gutta-percha.

Achras Sapota, Linné (Sapota Achras, Miller); Sapota plum (Zapotilla) or Bully tree.—West Indies, South America, and naturalized in western India, where the natives eat the quince-flavored fruit called by them Chikku or Kávath. As a preventive against febrile and bilious attacks, the inhabitants of the Concan eat the fruit which has been soaked over night in melted butter. The bark is regarded astringent, tonic, and febrifuge; the seeds diuretic and aperient. Bernou (1883) obtained a crystalline alkaloid, sapotine, from the bark (Sapotilla Bark); it is insoluble in water, but dissolves in alcohol, chloroform, and ether. He also found two resins, and a large amount of sapotannic acid, the last giving the bark its astringency (see Dymock, Mat. Med. of Western India). G. Michaud (1891) obtained from the seeds sapotin (C29H52O20), a crystalline, white, acrid glucosid, insoluble in chloroform, ether, and benzol, but soluble in hot alcohol and water.

Related entry: Gutta-percha

Mimusops globosa, Gaertner (Sapota Muelleri, Blukrode; Achras Balata, Aublet); Bully tree. Guiana. The concrete milky juice of this tree furnishes what is variously known as balata, chicle, gum chicle, zapota gum, or tuno gum. It is intermediate between gutta-percha and caoutchouc, and is used in America in manufacturing chewing gum. Its behavior toward solvents is like that of gutta-percha (see Gutta-percha and its Related Products; also see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1883, p. 523, on Pseudo Gutta-perchas).


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



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