Pimenta, B.P. Pimento.
Pimento, Allspice, or Jamaica Pepper, is the dried, full-grown, but unripe fruit of Pimenta officinalis, Lindl. (N.O. Myrtaceae), a tree indigenous to the West Indies, and cultivated in Jamaica and other islands. It is also official in the U.S.P. The green colour of the fresh fruits changes, on drying, to reddish-brown. If the fruits are collected when nearly ripe, the colour becomes almost black on drying. Such fruits are made more attractive by colouring them with bole or brown ochre, a sophistication which may be detected by boiling for a few seconds with diluted hydrochloric acid, filtering, and testing with potassium ferrocyanide; the liquid should assume at most a bluish-green colour. The fruits are small, nearly globular berries, about 5 to 8 millimetres in diameter. They have a rough and brittle pericarp, crowned by the remains of the calyx, surrounding the short style. The fruit is two-celled, each cell containing a single, brownish-black, reniform seed. The odour and taste are aromatic, bearing some resemblance to those of cloves. On incineration, the fruits yield from 2.5 to 5 per cent. of ash.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of pimento is from 3 to 4.5 per cent. of volatile oil, consisting chiefly of eugenol; it also contains tannin.
Action and Uses.—Pimento is an aromatic stimulant and carminative to the gastro-intestinal tract, resembling cloves in its action. The oil is given on sugar, or in pills, to correct the griping tendencies of purgatives. Aqua Pimentae is used as a vehicle for stomachic and purgative medicines.
- Aqua Pimentae, B.P.—PIMENTO WATER.
- Pimento, bruised, 5; water, 200. Add the bruised pimento to the water, and distil 100. Pimento water is an aromatic carminative. Dose.—30 to 60 mils (1 to 2 fluid ounces).