Oriental Notes.


Oriental tea plants, called tsai, are quite numerous (see also "Amer. Jour. Phar.," 1875, p. 498, 532; 1876, 193; 1877, 155), some of the most important being the following:

Tilia argentea, Desf.—The flowers, deprived of the leafy bracts, are sent from Macedonia and yield a tea of an agreeable taste, which is usually mixed with Hymethus or Thymari honey, collected near the Hymettus mountain, where the bees visit the flowers of Thymus (Satureja) Thymbra. In the ancient Hellenian times Apollo was regarded as the protector of bees, and in the temple was adorned with a wreath of thymbra.

Betonica officinalis is collected by the monks of Agion Oras on Mount Athos. It was called kestron by Dioscorides, (Kestron of Dioscorides is generally referred to Betonica Alopecurus, Lin., which is rather common in Southern Europe. — EDITOR) and was, and is still, highly valued as a remedy in many complaints, and as such is frequently sent to friends as a present.

Adiantum Capillus Veneris, Lin., is known in Oriental countries as polytrichi, and is highly valued for promoting menstruation and in nearly all diseases of women. The name Adiantum is derived from ou, not, and diaino, to moisten, the plant growing on rocks in moist localities and brooks without being wetted, the water not adhering. It was formerly also called polytrichon and kalliphyllon.

Greek wines are now extensively exported to all parts of Europe in consequence of the devastation of numerous vineyards by the phylloxera, which thus far has not made its appearance in Greece. It is more particularly the volcanic island of Santorin where many wines are produced, closely resembling those of Spain, Sicily, Southern France and the Cape wines; these sweet wines are called vino santo. The concentrated, unfermented grape juice, known in Turkey as betmese (see "Amer. Jour. Phar.," 1875, p. 534) is now largely exported to Central Europe, where it is fermented with the juice of the native grapes, and thus employed for improving the more acidulous wines of more northern latitudes.

Viverra Civetta is known in Abyssinia as zebad. This ferocious and rapacious animal is caught by snares and kept in a cage for the purpose of obtaining the civet, which is removed by means of a small spoon from the pouch between the anus and genitals, and is also found adhering to the trunks of trees from the animal rubbing on them. This secretion is a thick liquid, and is put into the horns of goats, or, for the retail trade, into small tin boxes. It is extensively used as a perfume, sometimes under the name of moskos, the men employing it on the turban and the women on their veils. Civet is also used as a remedy in hysterical and other nervous complaints, and is used for protecting cloths from moths, the cloths being kept in chests made of cedar or cypress wood. The price of a civet cat is from 2,000 to 3,000 piastres, and from 500 to 1,500 piastres are paid for the skins which are used for furs.

The American Journal of Pharmacy, Vol. 55, 1883, was edited by John M. Maisch.