Gleanings in Materia Medica.
BY THE EDITOR
Capparis coriacea, Burch, is a South African shrub, without spines and with oblong obtuse and glabrous leaves. The fruit of a Chilian plant to which the same name is applied by Dr. Larrea y Quesada (Boletin Medico) is recommended in nervous complaints, hysteria, epilepsy, etc., the powder being given in wine in doses of about 45 Gm. taken twice a day.
Similar properties have long been attributed to Capparis cynophallophora, Lin., which is a shrub or small tree with very variable coriaceous leaves either orbicular, oblong or linear, and a linear silique-shaped fruit. This plant grows in the West India Islands and from Panama southward to Guayaquil and Bahia. The root of another West Indian shrub, Capparis siliquosa, Lin., now regarded as a variety of C. jamaicensis, Jacquin, has likewise been used as an anti-hysteric, but also as an aperitive and anthelmintic; its leaves are silvery tomentose or pale rusty beneath, glossy above, elliptic or lance-oblong in shape and pointed while the variety emarginata has obtuse or emarginate leaves. These and some other West Indian species are stated by Baillon to be acrid and even vesicant.
C. spinosa Lin., which yields the well known capers and is indigenous to the Mediterranean basin, is stimulant, antiscorbutic, diuretic. and aperient, and similar properties are ascribed to several Egyptian and East Indian species.
Andira inermis, Kunth. The bark of this West Indian tree is again recommended as an anthelmintic by Midy (Nouv. Remèdes.) For use an ounce of the bark is boiled in a quart of water until the decoction has become of a wine color, the average dose for an adult being two ounces. It should be administered in small doses gradually increased, the occurrence of nausea being regarded as proof that the maximum dose has been attained; in overdoses it is said to be narcotic. The active principle is said to be a glucoside andirin.
This bark has been known and occasionally medicinally employed since the middle of the eighteenth century. Hüttenschmidt, (1824) isolated from it an alkaloid which was named jamaicine, but was by Gastell (1866) shown to be identical with berberine. The name andirin was given by Peckolt (Archiv d. Phar., 1858, vol. 146, p. 38) to a brown-yellow coloring matter, which may perhaps be identical with berberine, and which was obtained from the wood of Andira anthelmintica, Bentham. In addition to this the wood contains a soft pungent and bitter resin, soluble in ether and alcohol, but insoluble in chloroform; this it seems has drastic and anthelmintic properties, and is also contained in the seeds, which are used in Brazil for their vermifuge properties under the name of angelim amargosa.
Evodia longifolia, nat. ord. Rutaceae, is a native of the Fiji Islands. The leaves are said to be useful as a preventive of abortion; they are steeped in the milk of the cocoanut, the infusion being taken for several weeks or months.
A Brazilian species Evodia (Esenbeckia, Martius) febrifuga, Saint Hilaire is astringent and tonic, the bark having been occasionally used in the place of angustura bark (see Am. Jour. Phar., 1874, 50, 414); it is known in Brazil in different provinces as quina, tres folhas vermelhas, or larangeira do matto.
The bark of the Japanese Evodia glauca contains berberine (see Am. Jour. Phar. 1879, 26.)
Grindelia robusta, Nuttall, is recommended by Dr. Gatebell (N. Y. Med. Times) as a topical application in the treatment of stings and bites of insects. A lotion prepared with it is stated to stop the itching and promote the healing of the mosquito or flea bites.