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Macis (U. S. P.)—Mace.

Botanical name:

Related entry: Myristica (U. S. P.)—Nutmeg

"The arillode of the seed of Myristica fragrans, Houttuyn (Nat. Ord.—Myristicaceae)"—(U. S. P.).
SYNONYM: Arillus myristicae.
SOURCE AND PREPARATION.—(See Myristica.)

After the fruit of the nutmeg-tree is gathered, the outside fleshy pericarp is either thrown away, or made into a preserve, while the arillus, being cautiously removed from the nut, is compressed, exposed to the sun, and when dried, moistened with salt water, in order to aid in its conservation, and is then packed into sacks, forming the mace of commerce.

Description.—"In narrow bands, 25 Mm. (1 inch) or more long, somewhat branched and lobed above, united into broader bands below; brownish-orange; fatty when scratched or pressed; odor fragrant; taste warm and aromatic"—(U. S. P.). The best mace (Banda mace) is flaky and spread, and of a dingy-yellow color. It is seldom used in medicine, being employed chiefly as a flavoring agent. Bombay mace, from Myristica malabarica, Lamarck, is devoid of aroma, contains much dark, red-brown coloring matter allied to curcuma, and is often used as an adulterant of Banda mace (see description and tests by Tschirch and Hanausek in Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1882, p. 13, and 1890, p. 398; also P. Soltsien, ibid., 1893, p. 457).

Chemical Composition.—By distillation with water, mace yields from 4 to 15 per cent of volatile oil, oil of mace (Oleum Macidis). It is dextro-rotatory, and contains the hydrocarbons pinene and dipentene (Wallach, 1889), and the stearopten myristicin (C12H14O3), a crystallizable body melting at 30.25° C. (86.5° F.) (F. W. Semmler, Berichte, 1890; also see Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1890, p. 442). Prof. Flückiger obtained from mace, by extraction with boiling ether, about 24.5 per cent of a soft, resinous, non-fatty mass, and also found uncrystallizable sugar. Tschirch observed amylo-dextrin, a body intermediary between starch and dextrin, yielding a red or violet color with iodine. Starch is not present in mace, hence an adulteration of powdered mace with powdered nutmeg can readily be detected by the starch reaction (P. Soltsien, 1891). The ash of mace should not exceed 2.5 per cent referred to air-dry substance.

TINCTURA MACIDIS, or Tincture of mace, is prepared by digesting mace, 1 part, in alcohol, 5 parts. Filter.

Action and Medical Uses.—(See Myristica.)


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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