The Ammoniacum Plant.
A tall plant, native of the East, and very imperfectly described to us. What we hear of it is, that it grows on the sides of hills, and is five or six feet high; the stalk is hollow and striated, and painted with various colours like that of our hemloc. The flowers, we are told, are small and white, and stand in great round clusters at the tops of the stalks, the leaves are very large and composed of a multitude of small divisions: one circumstance we can add from our own knowledge to this description, and it gives great proof of the authenticity of the rest; this is, that the seeds are broad, flat, striated, and have a folianous rim, as those of dili. We could know by these which are found very frequently among the gum, that it was a plant of this kind which produced it: so that there is great probability that the rest of the description, which has been given us by those who did not know we had this confirmation at home, is true. These seeds often appear very fair and sound. I have caused a great number of them to be sown, but they have never grown. Though one of the sagapenum seeds grew up a little when sown among them: it would be worth while to repeat the experiment, for some times it might succeed.
We use a gum or rather gum resin, for it is of a mixed nature between both, which is procured from this plant, but from what part of it, or in what manner we are not informed; it is whitish, of an acrid taste, with some bitterness, and is an excellent medicine. It is superior to all other drugs in an asthma, and is good to promote the menses, and to open obstructions of all kinds. The best way of giving it is dissolved in hyssop water. It makes a milky solution. It is used externally also in plaisters for hard swellings, and pains in the joints.